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A DDP PUBLICATION
Pages: 32 (Excluding covers) + 28 Pages Supplement - Hotel Talk
TravTalkIndia.com
ddppl.com
Vol. XXVI Issue 20; October 2nd fortnight issue 2014
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TRAVTALK
ddppl.com
TravTalkIndia.com
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
India Travel Awards
East recognises the Best
ndian tourism celebrated the achievements of those
behind the travel and tourism industry at the maiden
edition of India Travel Awards – East, held on October
10, 2014 at Novotel, Kolkata Hotel and Residences.
The awards were graced by Tourism Minister of West
Bengal Bratya Basu, along with a list of distinguished
personalities who came together, to acknowledge the
contributions of the best in the travel and tourism
industry in East India. The awards were presented to
achievers from different segments of the industry
which included aviation, domestic and international
tourism boards, hotels and resorts, travel agents, tour
operators, technology partners, etc from the eastern
region of the country. While the award for Wall of
Legends went to JK Mohanty, JT Ramnani and
Apurva Salarpuria were awarded The DDP Game
Changer and The DDP Trail Blazer respectively.
Debjit Dutta received the Face of the Future Award.
I
Amita Motwani, Mrs India International 2013; Apurva Salarpuria, Executive Director, The Salarpuria Group and the Owner of Novotel, Kolkata; Bratya
Basu, Minister of Tourism and Culture, West Bengal; Umapada Chatterjee, Director, West Bengal Tourism; JK Mohanty, Managing Director, Swosti
Group of Companies and SanJeet, Director, DDP Group at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of India Travel Awards-East
Tourism finds place in Make in India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while launching the ‘Make in India’
campaign, talked about developing tourism. Excerpts from his speech...
T T B U R E AU
Develop tour guides
Narendra Modi
Prime Minister, India
Today, is there any synchronisation between the
thought of the government,
academic world, industry and
the thoughts of youngsters
seeking a job? I am sorry to
say - No. We may want
to develop tourism. But
we may not have a system of developing guides
in that village. Guide would be
trained somewhere in
Tamil Nadu and Taj Mahal
would be in Agra. I mean to
say that these are small
Look East, Link West
things. If we do these
focussed activities, then circumstances may change.
For a long time the
Look East policy has
been under discussion,
everyone is talking about it. This
is a good occasion, along with
Look East, I would like to talk
about Link West.
Contd. on page 17 1
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BULLETIN
Opening new gates to tourism
A 10-member delegation from Yunnan recently visited India to promote tourism
between the two nations. It discussed the possibility of developing the BCIM
travel route, which includes Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar.
PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA
o
promote
tourism
between the Yunnan
province of China and India, a
tourism exchange and cooperation promotion programme
has been started between the
two countries.
T
Duan Yueqing, Director
General of Yunnan Provincial
Tourism
Development
Commission, led a 10-member
delegation to India on the invitation of the Indian Consulate in
Guangzhou and Outbound Tour
Operators’ Association of India.
The delegation met Usha
Sharma, Additional Director
General, Ministry of Tourism.
During the meeting, they discussed various opportunities
to promote tourism. Talking to
, Yueqing said, “Both
countries are dedicated in pro-
We discussed the possibility about developing
a new route called the BCIM travel route, which
includes Bangladesh, China, India
and Myanmar. If this is developed
and the cross border issues are
solved, this might open a gateway for the rest of the world to
explore these countries
Duan Yueqing
Director General of Yunnan Provincial
Tourism Development Commission
moting bilateral tourism. The
government of India accords
high importance to the
Chinese market and we are
equally focussed on the Indian
market. We discussed the
possibility about developing a
new route called the BCIM
travel route, which includes
Bangladesh, China, India and
Myanmar. If this is developed
and the cross border issues
are solved, this might open
a gateway for the rest of
the world to explore these
countries. But this is just
something that we have been
talking about.”
The delegation also talked
about direct flights between
Delhi and Kunming to enhance
volume of outbound and
inbound tourism between the
two countries. About direct connectivity between Kunming and
Delhi, he said, “Direct flights
between Delhi and Kunming will
shorten the travel time, after it
is operational the flying distance
between the two cities would be
a little more than 3 hours.
However, airlines should take
the final call on this.”
This is the first such high
level delegation visit to India,
to follow up the agreement
between Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Chinese
President Xi Jinping. As per
the agreement between both
the countries, China will celebrate 2015 as Visit India year
and 2016 will be celebrated by
India as Visit China year.
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and Counting...
VIEWPOINT
Tourism bonanza@
Madison Square Garden
Time flies and so do memories!
walks down the memory lane, 25 years back, to cherish memoirs...
There is no match to happiness if one finds that those flying moments have been
captured, nurtured and handled with care, even after 25 long years.
Vol. I No. 1
September 1991
The Travel Trade Newspaper
Rs. 15.00
s our Prime Minister Narendra Modi
got a rousing welcome from some
20,000 cheering NRIs when he
addressed them from a 360-degree
rotating platform at the iconic Madison
Square Garden, we also raised a toast
to his tourism-friendly policy back home.
The travel and tourism stakeholders in
India are visibly upbeat and energised
after hearing the PM on the US soil.
A
The announcement that holders of
Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards will
get lifetime visas, and American tourists
to India will soon get Visas on Arrival is
of great significance.
The US citizens are one of the higher
spenders in the world with per capita
spending at $1,350 in 2012. The US is
also the largest source of foreign tourists
to India, accounting for a share of 15.8
per cent or about one million tourists.
Apart from the Visa on Arrival plan,
the PM also talked about the importance
of hygiene and sanitation facilities. This
is also of direct relevance to the travel
and tourism industry.
Hinterland tourism, religious tourism
and agro tourism would also be a part of
his development agenda.
As our country ventures to achieve
the ambitious target of one per cent of
international tourist traffic, there will be
several opportunities for investors to
become part of this growth story through
strategic investments in the sector. This
waft of freshness in the political arena
does have its definite impact on the
private sector.
The efforts by the Prime Minister will
surely strengthen our bond with the
diaspora and give an impetus to our
development journey.
Vikramajit
Chairman
SanJeet
Editor & Publisher
Deepa Sethi
Editor-in-Chief
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STATES
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
5
Kerala: Looking beyond backwaters
In an exclusive interview, Suman Billa, Secretary-Tourism, Government of Kerala talks about the recent initiatives of the
tourism board and how it is working aggressively towards positioning Kerala with a wider range of products in its portfolio.
M E G H A PAU L
ccording to Suman
Billa, Secretary-Tourism,
Government of Kerala, the
state cannot survive only on
the backwaters or the beaches
and is now looking beyond
these products. With a new
portfolio of a wide array of
products, Kerala Tourism is
betting big on the Muziris
Heritage Project which will
spearhead this diversification.
A
Suman Billa
Secretary-tourism
Government of Kerala
Kerala will also
focus more on
attracting
business from
international
meetings,
incentives,
conferences and
exhibitions
(MICE) category
The Muziris Heritage
Project by Kerala Tourism is all
set to woo tourists as four more
museums, the hop-on-hop
off boat service and the
Kodungallur Visitor Centre are
ready for launch. “The Muziris
project has already opened
four museums. Four more
museums – the Sahodaran
Ayyappan Museum, Kesari
Balakrishna Museum, Abdul
Rahman Museum and the
Kerala Isalmic History Museum
are ready to open to the public.
Apart from these, the Visitor
Centre at Kodungallur is also
about to be unveiled. The air
conditioned hop-on-hop-off
boat service with a capacity of
24 pax per trip will start from
this Visitor Centre and will
cover 25 kms and touch the
four museums and the excavation site. The Kottapuram fort
site is almost ready as well.
Near Kodungallur, a convention centre with capacity to seat
1500 people will be opened
soon,” Billa said on the sidelines of the eighth edition of the
Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) 2014.
Outlining the need for
drafting a roadmap for empow-
ering the local community to
ensure its social and economic
fulfillment, Billa feels the state
can be a viable destination for
wedding as well as honeymoon tourism. “Spots such
as Thekkady, Kumarakom,
Kovalam, Wayanad and Bekal
could be promoted for this purpose. Kerala will also focus
more on attracting business
from international meetings,
incentives, conferences and
exhibitions (MICE) category,”
he added.
Elaborating on the initiatives of the Kerala government
to enhance the MICE offerings
in the state, Billa pointed out,
“The government’s initiative in
this year’s budget in reducing
luxury taxes on convention
centres above ` 20,000 from
20 per cent to 10 per cent, is
going to act as a catalyst for
the private sector to enter the
MICE business on a larger
scale. This initiative is taken to
strengthen the efforts of the
Tourism Department for transforming Kerala into an attractive destination for national and
international seminars and
conventions. However, the concessional rates will be applicable only to the seminars and
conventions approved by the
tourism department.”
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6
INTERVIEW
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Now, Yatra.com
pays for your
next trip
Yatra.com launched a
loyalty rewards programme which covers all
domestic and international
airlines, including LCCs,
and over 16,000 hotels in
India.
Yatra.com’s eCash gives
an instant cashback to customers for every purchase
made on Yatra.com, as well
as offers them the benefit
of instant refunds in the
case of cancellations, into
their eCash account. eCash
can be used by travellers to
pay or part-pay for future
travel bookings.
The eCash programme
is very simple in its structure with 1 eCash being
equal to `1. eCash is integrated with the payment
gateway, making the
redemption of eCash
smooth and easy. There are
no black-out dates on usage
of eCash and there is no
restriction on combining it
with other offers.
“A customer now gets a
cashback of upto 5% on
being loyal to us, and also
does not have to wait for a
refund if there is a change
in travel plans”, said Sharat
Dhall, President Yatra.com
at the launch.
Sustaining tourism for future generations
With India launching the Comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Criteria, Sofia Gutierrez, Deputy
Director for Sustainable Development of Tourism, UNWTO, says that tourism business needs to
make a set of standards of criteria of sustainability in order to consider themselves sustainable.
PEDEN DOMA BHUTIA
India has launched the
Comprehensive Sustainable
Tourism Criteria in a big way
recently. What do you think
about this move?
It’s never too late for sustainable
development of tourism. Our organisation is working to ensure that the tourism
sector is contained in all developments
of international processes. And sustainable development of tourism is taking
place in India. India has advanced a
great deal of work in this direction - the
Kerala initiative for instance and now
there are various other initiatives in the
country. This comprehensive sustainable tourism criteria for India has been
inspired by other criteria like the global
sustainable tourism criteria for which
our organisation has been working from
the beginning and has been supporting
this strongly.
What is the idea behind the
sustainable development of
tourism?
The idea is to have set standards
of criteria of sustainability that tourism
business needs to make in order to consider themselves sustainable. There is
We need to educate the children and the
youth to preserve what natural resources
we have, because sustainability is about
preserving the resources that we have
in the present and making sure
that they still exist for the future
generations to come
Sofia Gutierrez
Deputy Director for Sustainable Development of
Tourism, UNWTO
a clear understanding of the need to
work on sustainability issues. There is
a commitment from the private sector
to work towards that and cover all three
aspects of sustainability - the socio economic aspect, the cultural aspect and
the environmental aspect. Nature is the
natural asset that tourism has, people
travel to see beautiful beaches and
mountains. We need to ensure that the
mountains and the beaches are clean,
that we don’t pollute them and that we
preserve the bio diversity. We also need
to educate the children and the youth to
preserve what we have, because sus-
tainability is about preserving the
resources that we have in the present
and making sure that they still exist for
the future generations to come.
How do you support member
states to implement these
policies?
We support our member states
through development of policies. This
could be through any initiative in which
they think they might need our help.
Basically, it could be from the work we
have done. It is the criteria and the
indicators that go together. This is a
comprehensive work that we have done
and has been the basis for development
of new criteria. It has been revised for
the development of criteria here in India.
It was taken into account for the development of the global sustainable
tourism criteria, so it is a working policy,
a work in capacity building and a work
in participation of activities. We are
ready to help our member states in anything that they feel we can support in
any area which has to do with the development of policies. This should ensure
that tourism remains responsible,
resilient and sustainable.
Will you also monitor India in
the implementation of these
policies?
This is a voluntary implementation of standards and criteria that is
going to be strongly encouraged. There
will be a mechanism for supporting
them. Since this is an initiative of the
Ministry of Tourism of the Government
of India, the MOT will be monitoring
this. They could collect the best
practices cases about the implementation of these suitable tourism
criteria and we could disseminate this
through our website and to other member states.
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ASSOCIATIONS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
7
TAAI Relief Fund for natural calamities
In a bid to extend a helping hand to its members in the flood-hit state of J&K, the association has set up a relief fund
with ` 8.5 lakh already in the kitty. It has also roped in Interglobe that has agreed to distribute hardware to travel agents.
HAZEL JAIN
he
Travel
Agents
Association of India (TAAI)
has announced its intention to
form a ‘TAAI Relief Fund’ to
cover its agent members all
over India against natural
calamities. The initial collection
will go in aid of its members in
Jammu & Kashmir who lost
everything in the recent floods.
This was announced by the
TAAI Managing Committee
during a meeting in Mumbai
on World Tourism Day on
September 27. Also present
at the meeting was Shamim
Ahmed Shah its J&K
Chapter Chairman.
T
Sunil Kumar, Acting
President of TAAI, revealed
the initial donations made by
the association’s Managing
Committee to this fund. “Our
90-odd members from the
Harmandeep Singh Anand
Honorary Secretary General
TAAI
The hardware will
include computers
to enable the
agents to get back
on their feet and
get connected to
the rest of the
world again
J&K Chapter have been
deeply affected by the floods.
We are therefore making contributions to the ‘TAAI Relief
Fund’ in the form of ` 5.5
lakh from the Managing
Committee, ` 1.5 lakh from
TAAI’s treasury plus ` 1.5 lakh
from our reserves towards
helping our J&K Chapter
members,” he said.
TAAI expects to collect
`25 lakh that will cover its members all over India against all
future calamities. TAAI has also
included Interglobe in its relief
operations. During a recently
held meeting with the corporate
giant, it was decided that the
company will supplement the
monetary aid by distributing
hardware to the affected agent
members in J&K who have lost
everything in the floods.
Harmandeep Singh
Anand, TAAI Honorary
Secretary General, and MD of
Other milestone events
We are all making contributions to
the TAAI Relief Fund towards
helping our Jammu & Kashmir
Chapter members
Convention in Jaipur
TAAI has decided to hold its
AGM and annual convention in
Jaipur at the Jaipur Fairmont
Hotel in December.
Jagsons Travels, revealed,
“The hardware will include
computers to enable the
agents to get back on their feet
and get connected to the rest
of the world again. We are
awaiting a final report from
Interglobe on the details.”
Sunil Kumar
Acting President
TAAI
TAAI is also looking at
holding its upcoming AGM and
annual convention in Jaipur
this December at the Jaipur
Fairmont Hotel. The final date
and other details are yet to be
firmed up. Meanwhile, TAAI is
planning to attend the upcoming
Passenger Agency Conference
(PAConf) that is slated to take
place from October 15-17, 2014
in San Diego, California.
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8
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
FAMILY ALBUM
When it’s all about teeing off
The first-ever ‘FICCI Golf Tourism Summit’ was recently organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Ministry of Tourism
and India Golf Tourism Association (IGTA) in New Delhi. The Ministry of Tourism aims to create a comprehensive and coordinated framework for promoting golf
tourism in India, capitalizing on the existing work that is being carried out, and building upon the strength of India’s position as the fastest growing free market economy.
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10
NTO
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Masterchef & Masterstroke: Oz calls
From a new marketing campaign to hosting the Cricket World Cup and registering rise in arrivals from India, Australia is
definitely on everyone’s mind.
gets details on their marketing efforts and promotional strategies.
DEVIKA JEET
oaring arrivals and booming business defined the
celebratory mood at Tourism
Australia’s India Travel
Mission (ITM) 2014. This
annual trade event for desti-
S
“We have a lot to celebrate, starting with a record
growth in arrivals from India.
The holiday segment that grew
by almost 30 per cent drove
this growth. We are now back
in the league of top 10 markets
for Australia, ranked 10th as a
source market for visitors’
arrivals and 11th in terms of
their expenditure. Another reason to celebrate is that the
India Travel Mission has the
highest participation compared
to the previous years; we have
almost 150 delegates, 55 from
Australia and 95 from India
and the Gulf,” says Nishant
Kashikar, Country Manager,
India & Gulf, Tourism Australia.
In 2013, India was
Australia’s 11th largest inbound
market for visitor arrivals and
We are now placing the country as the
culinary capital of the world and our
focus will be to showcase all the
gastronomic experiences that
Australia has to offer
Michael Newcombe
General Manager, South/South East Asia & Gulf
Countries, Tourism Australia
nation Australia in India saw
record participation. This was
not the only record that
Australia broke. Total arrivals
from India for the year ending
May 2014 were 182,000, an
increase of 15 per cent. The
leisure arrivals during this
period increased by 26 per
cent. This made India the 10th
largest inbound market for
arrivals for same period.
Michael Newcombe, General Manager, South/South East Asia & Gulf Countries, Tourism
Australia and Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia
Experience Restaurant Australia...
Gearing up to further boost growing arrivals from India,
Tourism Australia launched its new campaign, Restaurant
Australia. Backed by consumer research that corroborates
the trend in India of travellers in search of everything gourmet,
Tourism Australia has included a strong focus on exceptional
food and wine experiences. This campaign is based on the
idea of Australia being the world’s greatest restaurant,
Restaurant Australia.
total expenditure, and the sixth
largest market for visitor nights.
Tourism Australia witnessed
17,000 visitors from India during June 2014, bringing the
total for the six months to June
to 99,500, an increase of 19.3
per cent relative to the same
period previous year. A high
proportion of Indian visitors visited Australia was for leisure,
and the holiday segment drove
these numbers. “We sell the
country as a mixed portfolio;
while we will always be predominantly driven by leisure,
we are also looking for people
who want to explore the place
a bit more and get that yield. A
third pillar that we are very keen
to explore is the convention and
event space,” says Michael
Newcombe, General Manager,
South /South East Asia & Gulf
Countries, Tourism Australia.
Cup 2015,” adds Newcombe.
In terms of commitment from
the Australia, “India has
the second largest budget
after China, and we see India
as a very important market,”
he highlights.
Rolling out this campaign, Newcombe adds, “We
are now placing Australia as
the culinary capital of the
world and our focus will be to
India Travel Mission has the highest
participation compared to the previous
years; we have almost 150 delegates, 55
from Australia and 95 from India and the Gulf
Nishant Kashikar
Country Manager, India & Gulf, Tourism Australia
In 2015, Australia will
offer a unique set of opportunities, especially with the
Cricket World Cup around the
corner. “Among the key highlights of the event is the
launch of the Restaurant
Australia campaign and the
upcoming ICC Cricket World
showcase all the gastronomic
experiences that Australia
has to offer”, continuing that,
“This campaign Restaurant
Australia is about produce,
people and place. It’s about
the experience that comes
with the meal and will run for
12-18 months.”
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EXHIBITIONS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
11
WTM: Building tourism in Africa
With the UNWTO reporting growth in both inbound and outbound tourism, and some African nations expected to
grow at an average annual rate of 5.7 per cent, WTM Africa, which caters for both inbound and outbound markets,
is a vital platform for the African travel and tourism industry.
T T B U R E AU
reparations for the World
Travel Market Africa (WTM
Africa) 2015 are underway, and
the second edition of this leading travel and tourism event will
once again be hosted at the
Cape Town International
Convention Centre (CTICC)
from April 15-17.
P
The organisers, Thebe
Reed Exhibitions and Reed
Travel Exhibitions, exceeded
their expectations on the inaugural event held earlier this
year, with more than 370
exhibiting companies, 3,091
travel professionals attending,
and 5,353 pre-scheduled
appointments. This is in itself
an outstanding achievement
for a first-time event, and it
positions WTM Africa as the
only event of its kind in Africa.
With the UNWTO reporting growth in both inbound and
outbound tourism, and some
African nations expected to
grow at an average annual rate
of 5.7 per cent, WTM Africa,
which caters for both inbound
and outbound markets, is a
vital platform for the African
travel and tourism industry.
“The 2015 event will
be held over three
days, and promises
to deliver more
interaction, more
education, more
networking and
most importantly,
more business
concluded than
ever before
witnessed in our
industry here in
Africa”
said Exhibition Manager
Sheree Simpson, “We are
delighted to continue to bring
the world to Africa and Africa
You’re Welcome!
N Inbound and Outbound
Retail Travel Agents, both
leisure and corporate
N MICE professionals
N Wholesale travel advisors
N Wholesale product buyers
N Group Travel Organisers
N ITC’S
N Tour Operators
N Online Travel Companies
N Corporate Travel
Organisers
to the world, once again
in the beautiful mothercity of Cape Town. We
encourage all in our
industry to get in touch
with us to find out how
they can participate.”
In 2015, WTM Africa
exhibitors can look forward to
3 days of lucrative business
discussions with the world’s
leading travel industry buyers
and buyers from both emerg-
ing and traditional
source
markets.
WTM Africa’s prominent event programme, in partnership with local and
international organisations, will provide a
strong, professional series of
conferences focusing on the
African region, covering impor-
tant topics affecting the
market, offering industry
insights of real value to any
travel industry professional.
Fully supported by the
City of Cape Town, the
very second annual WTM
Africa will be held at the
Cape Town International
Convention Centre (CTICC)
and the city is poised to host
the only event of its kind in
Africa. WTM Africa forms
part of Africa Travel
Week, which comprises of
three co-located industry
events namely International
Luxury Travel Market (ILTM)
Africa, International Business
Travel Market (IBTM) Africa
and WTM Africa.
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NTO
Gearing up for a busy 2015
The Philippines recently conducted a one-day roadshow, Philindex, in Manila
introducing its specialist program for Indian agents. The year 2015, being promoted
as ‘Visit Philippines Year’, will see many more activities from the tourism board.
H AZEL J AIN - M ANILA
outed as one of the most
emerging destinations in
the South-East Asian region,
Philippines is gearing up to
showcase itself as a great
value-for-money destination for
leisure as well as MICE to the
world, including India.
T
Considering the growing
number of Indian outbound, it
has a special focus on the
Indian market. The tourism
board’s department of Tourism
(DoT) recently conducted the
Philippines-India
Travel
Exchange (Philindex) 2014, a
one-day, table-top B2B meeting event between the
Philippine sellers and Indian
travel agents. This was a prelude to the launching of its
Philippines Specialist Program
(PSP) that it has created for the
Indian market.
Maria Corazon G JordaApo,
Officer-In-Charge,
Market Development Group,
DoT, said, “We are looking to
attract luxury groups and MICE
tourists from India. By July
2014, Philippines had already
Maria Corazon G Jorda-Apo
Raymund Glen Agustin
SanJeet
Officer-In-Charge, Market Development
Group, DoT, Philippines
Head (Team India),
DoT, Philippines
Tourism Attache for Philippines
Tourism Marketing Office, India
By July 2014,
Philippines had
already recorded
35,000 Indian
tourists indicating
a growth of 9%
Y-o-Y increase
and tour operators and 40
DoT-accredited sellers from
Philippines. The buyers were
from Mumbai and Delhi as well
as from Tier-II cities such as
Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad,
Philippines Specialist Program
Launched on August 14, 2014, the PSP builds on the theme of ‘It’s
More Fun in the Philippines’ to help travel agents understand and
therefore sell Philippines as an ideal tourist destination. The course
offers information in a visually appealing format that gives a glimpse
of Philippines as a country and as a tourist attraction too. There
are videos too that will make the learning engaging and interesting.
It has eight modules in Level 1 that provides general information
on the Philippines from visas, attraction, shopping, nightlife, hotels
and food to cities like Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Palawan and Bohol.
We saw very
good response to
the program. At
least 400 agents
have signed up
for it and more
are expected
Tourists will get
to enjoy
everything here
from shopping,
history, and
culture to its
many beaches
Philippines International Travel
Exchange (PHITEX).
Talking about the PSP,
Raymund Glen Agustin,
Head (Team India), DoT, says,
“We saw very good response
to the program and at least 400
agents have signed up for it
and many more are expected.
We are now looking to upgrade
it with more tools and information about Philippines.”
He added that Philippines
Airlines may be looking to
connecting India and the
Philippines from Bengaluru,
Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi,
Thiruvananthapuram
and
Tiruchirapalli via Singapore.
Outlining some of popular aspects of the destination
that will appeal to Indian
travellers, SanJeet, Tourism
Attache for Philippines Tourism
Marketing Office, India, said on
the sidelines of Philindex,
“Tourists will get to enjoy
everything here from shopping,
history and culture to
Visit Philippines Year 2015
recorded arrivals of 35,000
Indian tourists indicating a
growth of nine per cent
increase over the previous
year. We are now working
on a 20% growth in the
coming years.”
Focus on Tier-II cities
Philindex was held in
Manila on September 23, 2014
and witnessed participation
from 19 Indian wholesalers
and Amritsar. The post-event
tour included a city tour of
Manila and three break-out
tours to Cebu, Boracay
and Davao.
The B2B event sought to
sustain the momentum created
by the DoT’s participation in
OTM 2014 as well as the roadshow conducted in Kolkata,
and complements the familiarisation tours organised post the
The tourism board has initiated the Visit Philippines Year 2015 to
rake in good tourist numbers and is gearing itself to host some bigticket events such as the ASEAN Tourism Forum in 2016. The DoT
is also lining up a series of activities with different themes every
quarter and will feature a calendar of events that showcase the
Filipino painting and the graphic arts, cinema, performance art.
resume its India operations but
this has not been confirmed by
the airline. Meanwhile, Cebu
Pacific Air has partnered with
TigerAir to launch new flights
beaches that boasts of
different kinds of sands.
English is spoken throughout
the country, so language won’t
pose a problem.”
Dubai spruces up cultural offerings
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and
Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and
Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai
Culture) have signed an MoU to further
unite their efforts in promoting Dubai’s
cultural and heritage tourism offerings
and implement the emirate’s vision
and strategy. The MoU was signed by
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General
of DTCM, and Saeed Al Nabouda,
Acting Director General of Dubai
Culture, to support the strategic tie up
between DTCM and Dubai Culture
relating to various activities.
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14
EXHIBITIONS
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Bengaluru to host PATA Travel Mart in 2015
The 37th PATA Travel Mart, held in Cambodian city of Phnom Penh from September 17-19, was significant especially
from the point of view of the host country, PATA as well as for India.
ANIL
M AT H U R
ppropriately, Cambodia highlighted its many attractions, but the
leadership did not shy away from
pointing out drawbacks like lack of
adequate connectivity and sought
solutions for this from other countries,
including India. Martin Craigs, CEO,
PATA announced his decision not to
seek another term during the mart
and the appointment of COO Mario
Hardy as the interim CEO.
A
Many efforts of PATA to stay relevant came to light during the mart,
with focus on the next generation and
on responsible tourism, community
development through tourism, with
close involvement of the UNWTO. For
India, the Phnom Penh event was
important as the next mart in 2015 will
be held in Bengaluru.
The mart this year had 450 seller delegates representing 233 organisations, spread over 3,000 sq metre
space. There were 266 buyer delegates from 252 organisations from 48
countries. What was significant was
that a sizeable number of both buyers
and sellers were first timers. For the
first time, a whole pavilion was devoted to Responsible Tourism and a
conference on community development through tourism was organised
alongside the mart.
In another first, a PATA
Youth Symposium was organised
at the Royal University of
Phnom Penh, where over 200 students interacted with the PATA leadership. Perhaps this symposium,
designed by Ivy
Chee,
Regional Director-East Asia,
PATA, and executed by Parita
Niemwongse, Manager--Human
Capital Development, with inputs
from the academic and practical
world, best shows what PATA is
striving to do for the Next Gen.
The Philippines utilised the
mart to promote 2015 which is
marked as Visit Philippines
year. The country also promoted
Bohal province. Malaysia also
revealed its plans and programmes
at the mart.
High points at PATA MART 2014
On India market
N
The ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum attracted over 200 delegates
N
N
The ribbon cutting ceremony at the Diamond International Conference and Exhibition
Centre was attended by the who’s who of PATA and Cambodia, and the Karnataka
Tourism Minister RV Deshpande
N
For the first time, a Responsible Travel Pavilion was featured, which attracted
much attention
N
Another new feature this year was PTM Talks, with workshops to discuss vital issues
N
The Hong Kong International Airport promoted the ferry service to and from the
mainland to Macau
N
The Tourism Promotions Board Philippines highlighted the Bohal province and the
Visit Philippines Year 2015
RV Deshpande, Karnataka Minister
of Tourism made a powerful speech,
inviting delegates to come to
the Karnataka capital
N
Several states, such as
Maharashtra, MP and Gujarat
also reported a good response from
the delegates
N
India won several awards, with
reciepients from Kerala to
Kuoni, from e-newsletter to
new TV adverts
Reactions...
Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie &
Kent, India, felt that the quality of buyers for his up-market products was good. Germany, Mexico and the USA
showed interest.
Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, Managing
Director, Weldon Tours and Travel, feels that if good
fares and air capacity is provided, Cambodia can be
part of a 7-10 day packages of the region from India.
MS Kuki Chawla, Chairman, Siddhartha Travels, noted
that unlike many other marts, PATA has been able to keep
up its size and reputation. He was able to find new products to promote in the Indian market, including the Mayo
educational centre, which has old India links.
Kapil Goswamy, Managing Director, Trans India
Holidays, saw good market for India from Argentina,
Italy and Australia
Sanjeev Chopra, Vice President, Go India Journeys,
saw much interest in Buddhist destinations in India from
Korea, Cambodia and Myanmar. Also, Czech and other
CIS market was developing.
Luxury in Kumaon hills
The latest addition to Anantara’s Private Hideaways- Anant
Rasa recently opened its doors to the Kumaon Hills of
Uttarakhand.
gives details of the newly opened property…
T T B U R E AU
uilt on an old British property with unparalleled
views of the great snow peaks
of Trishul, Nanda Devi,
Kedarnath, Abhirani and many
more, Anant Rasa is situated
on a hilltop called Syahidevi
between Almora and Ranikhet.
B
While the views and the
old British Bungalows around
the estate keep one spellbound, the walks, birds and
fruit orchards of this estate
ensure that one is left at ease
and unplugged from the hustle
bustle of the city. The charm
from its days serving as a rest
and recreation centre for the
high ranking British officials still
remains intact.
With 13 en suite bedrooms, a beautifully done up
lounge, a well-rounded restaurant, a recreation centre with a
range of soft and hard adventure activities and a equipped
library, Anant Rasa provides its
guests with endless opportunity to relax in total solitude, discover untouched beauty and
explore their adventurous side
all packed in one.
Talking to
, Manish
C. Palicha, Anantara Hotels
& Resorts Pvt. Ltd, gave
us his input about Amritara,
its latest addition and other
plans in the pipeline.
“Presently there are nine
operating assets under the
brand with nine more kicking
in, in the next fifteen months.
Existing assets are located at
Fort
Kochi,
Marari,
Backwaters, Periyar, Coorg,
Bharatpur, Varanasi, Rishikesh
& Shitlakhet,” he added.
“Amritara is the small
boutique hotel format brand of
Anantara Hotels & Resorts
Private Limited, a subsidiary of
the Shanti Hospitality Group of
the United Kingdom. The group
is engaged across various hospitality sub-sections in India.
Amritara as a brand is one that
offers experience,” said
Palicha, talking about the
brand and its USP.
He also spoke about their
new and upcoming projects.
He said, “Assets that will open
next year are located in
Surajgarh,
Jodhpur,
Moradabad, Goa, North
Kerala, Ranthambore, Nainital,
and outskirts of Jaipur and in
Uttarkhand. Additionally, the
group is developing assets at
six other locations that are
expected to open in 2016.”
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16
ASSOCIATIONS
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
World Tourism Day celebrations
Partnering industry with academia
The Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management Noida celebrated the World Tourism Day on September
27 by organising a highly appropriate HR Tourism Conclave, which sought to highlight a few issues faced by the
industry, especially in the context of human resources.
Who says what…
A N I L M AT H U R
he conclave, which had a
good mix of tourism students, teachers and travel
agents, was divided into three
tracks, so that there could be
focussed discussions. One
T
only hopes that the deliberations, interesting and useful as
they were, are continued on a
regular basis at different levels.
The IITTM leadership had
taken great pains to organise
the event and it is to be hoped
that follow up action-- to bridge
the gap between the industry
and the academia can be filled.
The fist track was on
New Age Skill sets for tourism
industry--expectations of the
industry; the second was on
skill development and capacity building, while the third,
and perhaps the most important, was on Making industryacademia partnership work. Many
prominent personalities addressed
the session.
Shoba Mohan
of RARE destinations and experiences said that
experiential travel
was growing and the students
should read a lot and maintain
a daily diary. Among others
who spoke were Smeeta
Gulvady of Thomas Cook and
GG Saxena for MD, DTDC. It
will be keenly watched how the
industry and the teaching institutes, like IITTM, follow up the
World Tourism Day start.
Love what
you do
Experience can get you money
Himmat Anand, Founder, Tree of Life Resorts,
minced no words when he told the students that
it was a ruthless world that awaited them and
that they should be prepared with good communication and other skills, know the potential
of social media and have IT skills as well. He
praised the curriculum of the IITTM, but added that there was need
for greater interaction between the teachers and the industry. He
quipped, 'Degrees will not get you money, experience will.'
Ashwani Lohani,
who has long experience in railways and
tourism, asked the
students to 'Do what
you love, or love what you do.' He said
analytical ability was important.
Dreams, goals and ambitions
important
Thinking out-of-box
is vital
Subhash Goyal, who heads STIC Travel
Group, said having a dream, goal and
ambition was important. 'Failure is the
pillar of success', he said, adding that
with the coming of eVisa, tourism will
grow in India and job prospects will improve. Having a strategy
and planning is important, Goyal told the students.
Mukesh Jagga, Former
president of ADTOI, said
that thinking out-of-box was
vital to avoid stagnation.
Jagga said that skills and
training were important and he asked the youth
to be honest to the clients.
COVER STORY
Breaking free of shackles
Contd. from page 1
Look East is on one side and
Link West on the other and we
are linking both from the middle.
We can establish our economic
structure on a new platform
from here. Whatever is the best
in the world, why should we not
have it? This should be the
mood of the nation.
Highways and I-ways
There are many opportunities, the infrastructure sector is important and so is
the manufacturing sector. Now
India cannot be run on that
infrastructure if we have to
reach our desired destination.
Earlier, when there
was a talk of infrastructure, it was
over with discussion on rail, road,
port and airport. We
have to move towards
the next-generation infrastructure. We need highways and similarly we
need ‘I-ways’ too. When I say
‘I-ways’, I mean information
ways and that is for
digital India. If there are
electric grids, we need
gas grids and water grids too.
We also need optical fibre networks. We are dreaming
of an India where private
sector has ample opportunities to try their luck.
India capture it? Tourism
needs huge infrastructure.
There is a big scope for the
hospitality industry. There are
so many avenues, how do we
harness them?
Airports with ports
How do we update ourselves from where we are
presently on Public Private
Partnership? How to go into
unchartered areas? We kept
our focus confined to port
development. The demand of
the time is to move
towards portled development. With
ports there
should
be
cold storage
network, roads, rail,
and an airport with
port. Unless all this
develops as a cluster, we can’t
make a place for ourselves in
the global market. Hence we
wish to emphasise that. This is
one big area where
you can try your luck. The point
is that infrastructure is not an
issue of just luxury. If we have
to develop tourism; it is estimated that tourism is the industry
with the highest growth. Can
Centre and state in
unison
One of the biggest obstacles in our journey is this that if
a decision is made by the centre, most of the implementations are taken care of by the
states. If there is lack of understanding between the two, the
industrialists are at loss
whether to go to Delhi or to the
State Government. He remains
confused. Now, this confusion
will no longer be there. I believe
that states’ development is for
India only. If investment comes
in the States, it comes in India
also. States and Centre should
work collectively, shoulder to
shoulder as a team. If centre
gets a proposal then centre
should go to the State on its
own and ask how
we can help
together. If a
State gets a
proposal that
needs Centre’s
help, the State
should come to the
Centre without any hesitation, they should find solution
together and things move forward. This great need has
come up, to meet this, Centre
and the States will have to
come together.
Helping agents pull content
Travelport recently launched its Universal Application
Programming Interface (UAPI) in India. They also organised
workshops in Delhi and Bengaluru.
T T B U R E AU
n a conversation with Rabih
Saab, Travelport’s President
and Managing Director, Africa,
Middle East and South Asia,
spoke to him about what
the UAPI really is and why travel agents would choose UAPI
over other programmes.
I
He said, “UAPI is our signature product which helps
travel agencies aggregate from
multiple sources of content by
using one pipeline, so they
don’t have to write different
codes through different
sources of their content.
That hugely simplifies the work
of the developer and indeed
the travel agent, both
online and offline and increases productivity.”
“Simply put, for travel
agents, again online and
offline, it will help to aggregate
content
from
multiple
sources i n an efficient
Travel agents today are trying to pull different
contents such as high speed rails or low-cost
carriers or indeed non-air products. With the UAPI, they can
reduce their costs and write
only one codification instead of
having multiple pipelines connected to various suppliers
Rabih Saab
Travelport’s President
and Managing Director,
Africa, Middle East and South Asia
way. So it will increase the
ability to transact more in that
space and at the same time,
reduce costs as well,”
said Saab.
Saab said, “Travel agents
today are trying to pull different
contents such as high speed
rails or low-cost carriers or
indeed non-air products. They
have to write different APIs,
which is cumbersome, difficult
to manage, difficult to maintain
and quite frankly, costly. With the
UAPI, they can reduce their
costs and write only one codification instead of having multiple
pipelines . Some of the suppliers
may read only localised content,
available in a particular market.
They can do it through the UAPI
and aggregate various sources,
which is easy for them to manage and can reduce cost and
increase productivity.”
18
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
FAMILY ALBUM
VKonect(ing) luxury buyers
VKonect, an exclusive and invite-only event, was held at The Oberoi, New Delhi from
October 4-6, 2014 providing an ideal platform for the outbound industry to promote
luxury travel. Over 900 business appointments were successfully conducted at India’s first and
only luxury outbound focussed B2B event.
Contd. on page 20 RAILWAYS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
19
Flagging off new season of Buddhist tours
AK Manocha, CMD, IRCTC, accompanied by AK Brar, Director (Tourism & Marketing), IRCTC flagged off the
Mahaparinirvan Express, the Buddhist Circuit Special Tourist train, in the present tourist season 2014-15, from
Delhi Safdarjung on September 27, 2014, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day.
T T B U R E AU
he comprehensive tour
package, of 7 nights
and 8 days, includes journey by an exclusive
tourist train, hotel
accommodation,
road transportation
in AC Deluxe buses,
all meals, sightseeing,
entrance fee, tour guide service, travel insurance, onboard
security etc. The journey covers Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir,
Sarnath, Varanasi, Kushinagar,
Lumbini (Nepal), Sravasti and
Taj Mahal at Agra. More than
5000 tourists and pilgrims from
over 30 countries have travelled on this special train
in the last few years. Amongst
the pilgrims more than
38% came from Thailand,
while Chinese tourists account
for 20% and Taiwan 16%.
Tourists from the USA, the UK
and other European countries
have also availed this popular
train package.
T
Promoting rail
tourism on
pilgrimage
route
In order to promote rail
tourism and to provide reasonably priced tourism package to tourists, especially the
pilgrims, Indian Railways
has finalised six pilgrim special tourist train packages in
the first phase from October
25, 2014. D.V. Sadananda
Gowda, Minister of Railways,
in his budget speech in July
2014, promised to run a
tourist train covering the pilgrim and tourist places of
Karnataka and Maharashtra.
He also announced to run
tourist trains in various
Pilgrim Circuits like Devi
Circuit, Jyotirling Circuit,
Jain Circuit, Christian
Circuit, Muslim/Sufi Circuit,
Sikh Circuit, Buddhist
Circuit, famous temple
Circuit etc. The six packages
aim at implementing the
budget announcement.
Indian
Railways
Corporation & Tourism
Corporation (IRCTC) has
been entrusted with the running of all the six Pilgrim
Special Tourist Trains. The
tourist packages are;
Sukhamngalam Yatra, Dham
special with Dakshin
Darshan via Lucknow, Dham
special with Dakshin
Darshan via Jaipur, Shikharji
Circuit Yatra, Jyotirling Yatra
and Takht Parikrama.
Steam train from Delhi to Alwar for tourists
Akbar, the steam tourist train
consisting of two coaches
hauled by vintage steam
engine, is all set to
commence its package
tour between Delhi and
Alwar from October 11,
2014. The 49 year-old steam engine
‘Akbar’ which will haul this train is one of
the last surviving vintage steam locomotives. The tourist steam train starts from
Delhi Cantonment Station and travels to
Alwar in Rajasthan via Rewari on a tour
package which includes a visit to the
Sariska National Park near Alwar. The
train in its current season will travel
between October, 2014 to April, 2015
on every second and fourth Saturdays,
starting from October 11, 2014.
The train will leave Delhi at 9:50am
and reach Alwar at 3.45pm and it
will depart from Alwar the next day at
1pm and reach Delhi at 6.45 pm. The
package has been prepared with a tieup with the Rajasthan Tourism
Development Corporation (RTDC) for off
board hospitality and IRCTC for onboard hospitality.
20
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
FAMILY ALBUM
Luxury gets a new address
Contd. from page 18
NEWS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
21
Wheeling through the uncharted roads
Caravan Tourism can effectively meet the growing demand, while ensuring adherence to quality, standards
and safety norms. Caravan Tourism would attract a wide range of market segment including young people,
families, senior citizens and international tourists.
T T B U R E AU
aking India more incredible is the need of the
hour, this calls for introduction
of a plethora of new products
and caravans is one vital offering. The concept of Caravan
tourism has gained immense
popularity across the globe
owing to the freedom and flexibility it provides.
M
Considering
the
immense land area and the
multitude of landscapes in
India, Caravans and Caravan
Parks are sure to add an exciting new facet to tourism. The
initial demand in this niche segment is expected to come both
from domestic and inbound
tourists. There is at present a
growing demand for eco,
adventure, wildlife and pilgrimage tourism. This involves visiting and staying in remote
areas, forests, deserts and
riversides. There is a shortage
of accommodation at tourist
destinations, especially in
remote areas and in certain
cases at places where
a permanent construction
may neither be permissible
nor feasible.
The government, under
its caravan tourism policy,
described "caravans as a
unique tourism product that
promotes family tourism in
destinations without adequate
hotel accommodation". Under
the policy, it proposes to build
modern caravan parks under
public-private partnerships to
park tourism campers and
motor homes.
There are states that are
promoting caravan tourism in
a big way. Madhya Pradesh
Tourism has taken upon itself
the onus to run and manage
caravan coaches in the state.
All About Caravan
N The concept of Caravan
tourism has gained
immense popularity across
the globe owing to the
freedom and flexibility
it provides
N Caravans and Caravan
Parks are sure to
add an exciting new facet
to tourism
N The government, under its
caravan tourism policy,
described "caravans as a
unique tourism product
that promotes family
tourism in destinations
without adequate hotel
accommodation
MP Tourism also boasts of a
large number of hotel properties and these have become
the parking base for the caravans for power backs up,
cleaning, etc.
PCP is all set to redefine
motor homes market in India
with the launch of the PCP
Terra. Paracoat Products
Limited PCP is the first company in India to launch ready
to use Motor Home-cumOffice. PCP Terra is suitable
for families or group journeys
of seven people (including
the driver). It has luxurious
interior design, and the living/meeting area can be
adjusted to a bedroom with
capacity of five people.
22
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
FAMILY ALBUM
Exploring British Columbia in Canada
The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) recently conducted a FAM tour for travel agents to the province of British Columbia. The trip for trade partners from
India was organised from September 2-10, 2014. The FAM trip gave the trade partners an opportunity to experience varied locales of British Columbia. The group
visited Kelowna- a first for Indian trade partners, Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler. Their visit to the Butchart Garden, Capilano Suspension Bridge and the new
attraction-Flyover Canada was the most memorable. The FAM trip consisted of five travel partners from across India along with a CTC-India Representative.
24
STATES
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Malaysia charmed by
‘God’s Own Country’
Kerala Tourism has made a successful foray into the South East Asia
market with its first-ever roadshow in Malaysia. The well-attended
roadshow in Malaysia, held in Kuala Lumpur recently, presented various
tourism attractions in Kerala. Attended by as many as 14 trade partners
from Kerala, the roadshow was an opportunity for the state’s tourism sector
representatives to interact for the first time, with their Malaysian counterparts
on their own soil.
International tribal fest on the anvil
The state’s tourism minister has demanded greater cooperation from the Central
government by way of infrastructure support and funds. Plans are to organise
an international tribal fest and develop a Buddhist circuit in Sirpur.
at increasing the number of
tourists from the current
20 million to nearly 100 million
in the next 10 years.
T T B U R E AU
he Minister of Tourism &
Culture, Government of
Chhattisgarh, Ajay Chandrakar,
requested the Centre for
funds and has submitted a
proposal for a central grant
of ` 113.15 crore.
T
The funds will be used
to develop the country’s
biggest tribal hub in
Chhattisgarh with the intent to
organise India’s first and
biggest international tribal
fest. It will be aimed to bring
(L-R) -Santosh Misra MD, Ajay Chandrakar, Minister of Tourism, Chhattisgarh,
RC Sinha, Secretary
together tribal components
from across the state in terms
of social living, food, culture
and tradition and showcase it
to the world.
The state’s plans include
N Develop tourist sectors on parameters of cleanliness and safety
N Develop substantial eco-tourism circuits
N Encourage participation of local communities in conserving the
cultural heritage, while contributing to the wildlife and religious
circuits
N Streamlining the travel network within the state by increasing the
number of tourist buses along with developing facilities for
chartered or private helicopter
N Promoting diverse tribal culture, unexplored tourism circuits and
developing local-tourism collaboration
Chandrakar said, “We
also have elaborate plans to
develop the Buddhist circuit in
Sirpur in association with the
Central Government. We have
made great efforts to get
‘World Heritage Site’ recognition for Sirpur which is of great
religious importance for
Buddhism, Shaivism and
Vaishnavism. A number of
ancient memorials and ruins
have been discovered
during excavation on this
archaeological site.” He
added that Sirpur has been
visited by His Holiness The
Dalai Lama twice.
With these ambitious
plans, the state minister aims
Chandrakar also advocated that development of
para-tourism activities in the
state will help in creating
employment opportunities for
the youth. He also discussed
plans to fast-track the
development of Institute of
Hotel Management in the
state. This, he said, will
generate employment opportunities for tribal youths and
help curb Left Wing
Extremism in affected areas
of Bastar and Sarguja.
The funds will also go
towards developing services
across tourist locations like
Gangrel Dam and of the
Sirpur-Kodar-Raipur-Tandula
circuit. The state has demanded inclusion in ‘Special
Category of States’ on the lines
of the special status accorded
to J&K and the north-eastern
states for developing its
tourism industry.
AVIATION
Lufthansa to fly A380 to Delhi
With Lufthansa launching its flagship aircraft and the world’s largest commercial
passenger jet, Delhi becomes the first city in India to welcome the A380.
T T B U R E AU
arking yet another milestone in the history of
Indian aviation, Lufthansa
announces to launch its flagship
aircraft, the A380 between Delhi
and Frankfurt effective October
27, 2014. Delhi becomes the
M
“We are very pleased to
announce the introduction of
our flagship aircraft A380 to
Delhi. The A380 is the world’s
largest commercial passenger
jet and offers the finest in
terms of flying comfort, luxury
and efficiency. With the new
A380, Lufthansa customers
We are very pleased to announce the introduction of our flagship aircraft A380
to Delhi. The A380 is the
world’s largest commercial
passenger jet and offers the
finest in terms of flying comfort, luxury and efficiency
Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru
to Europe and the launch of
A380 underlines our commitment to provide Indian customers with the best Lufthansa
experience worldwide.”
The A380 is the largest
and the heaviest passenger
aircraft in the world. It is 73
metres long, 24 metres high,
and has a takeoff weight of up
to 560 tons. The Lufthansa
A380 seats 520 passengers
and its four Rolls-Royce
engines each generate
maximum in-flight comfort with
its state-of-the-art technology.
They will also have access to
Lufthansa’s latest in-flight products such as the 5 star ranked
First Class, the new business
class with seats that turn
into full flat-beds and a
comfort enhanced economy
class with 5-7 centimetres
more legroom and 52 centimetre wide seats. The new
Lufthansa flagship is configured with 520 seats with
eight in First Class, 92 in
Business Class and 420 in
Wolfgang Will
Director South Asia,
Lufthansa
first city in India to welcome
Lufthansa’s flagship carrier and
the world’s largest commercial
passenger jet.
Wolfgang Will, Director
South Asia, Lufthansa, said,
will be able to experience
Lufthansa’s latest in-flight
products and services including the state-of-the art First
Class. Lufthansa already operates A330, A340 and B747 on
its routes from Mumbai, Delhi,
70,000lbs of thrust. The megaliner is also quieter, uses less
fuel and can even ‘think’ by
automatically applying brakes
after landing on the runway.
Passengers on the new
A380 will be able to experience
Economy Class, offering passengers unprecedented comfort. The flight will leave from
Delhi at 03:30 hrs and reach
Frankfurt at 07:20 and then
again leave from Frankfurt
13:40 hrs to arrive in Delhi at
01:30 the next day.
THAI boosts Kolkata connections
By increasing flights and allowing extra check-in baggage, THAI Airways is
playing well in making its passengers happy.
T T B U R E AU
HAI Airways International
will be introducing three
additional flights from Kolkata
(CCU) to Bangkok (BKK) and
return with effect from
December 2, 2014. The current
flights TG314/313, will continue
to operate daily flights with
A330. From December 2,
2014, the frequency will be
enhanced to ten flights per
week from Kolkata to Bangkok
and return on Thai Airways.
The flights will leave Kolkata on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and
Saturdays at 12:55 hrs and will
arrive in Bangkok at 16:50 hrs.
The flights leaving from
Bangkok at 10:35 hrs on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and
T
Saturdays will arrive at Kolkata
at 11:40 hrs (all local timings).
They are bringing the
Airbus A330, configuration 39J,
254 Y. The above flights are
already updated in agency
CRS system and are open for
sale. With this additional day
time departure, THAI now
offers seamless connectivity to
network destinations with
flights departing from Bangkok
(Suvarnabhumi International
Airport) after 17:50 hrs local
time in Bangkok.
THAI Airways has also
recently implemented a
new policy to allow an additional 10 kilograms of checked
baggage for all classes
of travel on all THAI flights,
except on flights to and from
the United States of America
(Piece concept). In royal
first class, the baggage increase is
from 40 kg to 50 kg.
In royal business
class,
it
has
increased from 30
kg to 40 kg and in
economy class, the
baggage increase has become
from 20 kg to 30 kg.
Royal Orchid Plus members are also entitled additional
baggage allowance based on
their respective member status. Through this increased
service offering, THAI aims
to
generate
greater
passenger satisfaction in
choosing to travel on Thai
Airways International.
MP Travel Mart debuts from Oct 17-19
Madhya Pradesh Tourism
announces the launch of
Madhya Pradesh Travel
Mart in Bhopal from October
17-19, 2014.
Madhya Pradesh is home
to some of India's biggest
tourist attractions. From
UNESCO World heritage sites
and cultural pursuits to the
land of the Jungle Book,
Madhya Pradesh offers discerning tourists a fascinating
range of touristic experiences.
The inaugural edition of
Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart,
to be set on a B2B platform
with 100 registered buyers
exploring business opportunities for discerning travel and
tourism products, will make
the event one of the most
sought after travel events in
the country. The mart will
showcase the state’s potential
in wildlife, heritage, culture
and tourism. The exhibitors
from India will cover over 20
diverse tourism segments,
making the Madhya Pradesh
Travel Mart Central India’s
biggest travel event by far.
Making tourism a
sunrise sector
It’s a known fact that private players have a
big role in developing tourism in India.
talks to India Travel Awards winners to get
their opinion…
The 12th Five Year Plan
which focussed on
creating ‘integrated
tourist
circuits’,
successful government
campaigns
for
promoting Incredible
India and the role of private
players, all have contributed to its growth. The government
has realised role of private players in promoting tourist
destinations. Like in Gujarat, private players have come
forward to develop 40 tourist spots. Our PM is
also coming up with new policies to
encourage tourists in India and develop
Smart Cities in India. With government and
private players joining hands, Indian
Tourism Industry is imminent to become a
major global tourist destination.
NEWS
To Russia, with love
The ‘INDIA SHOW 2014’, recently organised and handled by Salvia Travels, a
travel partner of Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO), turned out
to be a grand success. The show was held at the Crocus Expo Exhibition Centre,
in Moscow, Russia from September 24-26 and saw a huge turnout.
T T B U R E AU
hile FIEO was the main
organiser of the ‘INDIA
SHOW’ on behalf of Ministry of
Commerce and Industry under
the Government of India,
TheEmbassy of India in
Moscow, National Small
and Industrial Corporation
(NSIC), the Pharmaceuticals
Export Promotion Council
(PHARMEXCIL) and Council
W
of Leather Exports (CLE) also
supported the event.
The event was inaugurated by PS Raghavan,
Ambassador of India in Russia;
Alexey Likhachv, Deputy
Minister
of
Economic
Development, Govt. of the
Russian Federation and Rajiv
Kher, Secretary, Department
of Commerce, Ministry of
Commerce & Industry,
Government of India.
This mega event was a
mix of trade exhibitions, highlevel government delegation,
one-to-one B2B meetings
(Buyer-Seller Meet), networking meets, conferences, seminars and business summits
and a grand cultural evening.
Above 100 Indian companies represented the large,
small and medium enterprises
at the show, and showcased
products from the pharmaceu-
Head Corporate Sales & Operation
Salvia Travels
tical, textile, leather, home
décor, cosmetics, engineering,
bank, and agriculture industries. Enhancing economic
and commercial cooperation
is today a key priority for both
India and Russia.
Rajan Dua
MD, Udaan India
Tourism will undoubtedly continue to grow, even
if it is left to its own devices. The trick for India
to have a sustainable industry with maximum
returns for the country is to ensure that both
the government and the private sector continue
to focus on developing and maintaining a wellmarketed and high-quality product. But the
signs thus are far promising. Private players are
a vital driver of innovation, investment and job
creation. The role of private sector is crucial in
advancing the progress, as well as coordinating
and supplementing efforts of the government in
improving the quality of tourism infrastructure.
The partnership catalyses private investment,
strengthens promotional and marketing efforts
and helps in providing trained manpower.
YS Rawat
The ‘India Show’ unfolds
an opportunity to put forth the
achievements of Indian
Companies and help them
reach potential business partners in Russia as well as
bridge an information gap
between the business communities in the two countries.
Ribbon cutting ceremony of the event
Promoting Dubai delights
TravelBullz has signed an affiliation partnership agreement in Dubai
last week with Rida International Travel & Tourism LLC. The product
would be launched on October 1, 2014 with the launch of the Dubai Shopping
Festival packages for 2015.
Rajiv Duggal
Senior Vice President- Tourism, Hospitality, Leisure and
Education, Lavasa Tourism
T T B U R E AU
ravelBullz is celebrating the
successful completion of
its 4th year of operation with the
opening of another destination,
Dubai !! It is another jewel in its
crown of existing short haul
offers in South East Asia vis:
Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand,
Singapore and Malaysia.
This makes TravelBullz one of
the fastest growing online
wholesale travel companies in
South East Asia.
T
Today, the participation of private sector in making
investments in tourism projects has increased
rapidly. It provides livelihood options to locals such
as hotel personnel, guides, porters, watchmen,
maintenance workers and other service
providers. The local community is also involved
in managing small enterprises like cafeterias,
souvenir shops, travel and transport services,
craft shops etc. Private sector plays an
important role in countries where tourism
development is in the early stages. Thus,
such projects are accompanied by
high-risk and a long time frame. So
private players are an important part
in this movement.
Deepak Rupani
MD
Om Holidays- A unit of Om Travels
TravelBullz has signed an
affiliation partnership agreement in Dubai last week with
one of the most respected
companies, RIDA INTERNATIONAL Travel & Tourism LLC,
with its 46 years as leading in
hospitality industries in
Lebanon, 9 years in UAE and
6 years in Jordan. Managing
Director of TravelBullz KD
Singh spoke about the partnership as “one of the most significant steps to have
TravelBullz people on ground
Hossam Mohamed, Director, Rida International Dubai
in our office in Dubai, with our
vehicles and our direct contracts with hotels in association
with Rida Int. to provide the
TravelBullz Signature Service
& specialized product offerings
in Dubai, to our customers
across all our source markets.”
The product would be
launched on October 1, 2014
with the launch of the Dubai
Shopping Festival packages for
KD Singh, Managing Director, TravelBullz
2015 and the first 10 packages
will be launched online on
www.travelbullz.com. All agents
would be able to book Dubai
and many more dynamic packages online in real time, specifies Dilshaad Buhariwala
(Director Product Development
& Marketing) for TravelBullz.
Rafic Rida, Chairman of
Rida International spoke enthusiastically about the agreement
as a positive step towards
enhancing their specialization in
Dubai, Jordan, Lebanon and
Egypt through TravelBullz network of offices and online system. He strongly believes that
this relationship forms an invaluable and successful bond as
both companies have great
expertise in their respective
areas as both businesses are
run with commitment, integrity
and passion.
FAMILY ALBUM
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
29
Promoting tourism the Filipino way
The Philippines Tourism Board’s Department of Tourism (DoT) recently conducted the Philippines-India Travel Exchange (Philindex) 2014, a one-day, table-top
B2B meeting event between the Philippine sellers and Indian travel agents. Philindex was held in Manila on September 23, 2014 and witnessed participation
from 19 Indian wholesalers and tour operators and 40 DoT-accredited sellers from Philippines. The buyers were from Mumbai and Delhi as well as from Tier-II
cities such as Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Amritsar.
NEWS
A first for Oman Tourism
OCTOBER
NATIONAL
17
Bengaluru
Thailand Luxury Roadshow 2014
30
Delhi
Italia Expo Roadshow 2014
30
Mumbai
Scandinavian Tourism
As part of the program, Oman Tourism conducted their largest familiarization yet and hosted
60 Indian travel agents and tour operators from September 14-20. The agents selected for this program
travelled on Oman Air from different Indian cities namely Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai,
Ahmedabad, Pune and Hyderabad.
INTERNATIONAL
14-16
15-17
22-23
24-26
Las Vegas
Ukraine
Paris
Montreal
28
Kathmandu
IMEX America
Tour Expo
MAP Pro Le Monde A Paris
International Tourism &
Travel Show
Italia Expo Roadshow 2014
29-31
Singapore
ITB Asia
NATIONAL
NOVEMBER
10
Bengaluru
Visit Britain's B2B Roadshow
12
Delhi
German National Tourist
Office'sRoadshow
12
Hyderabad
Visit Britain's B2B Roadshow
13
Bengaluru
German National Tourist Office's
Roadshow
14
Mumbai
German National Tourist Office's
Roadshow
14-16
Siliguri
Travel and Tourism Mart
17
Lucknow
Visit Britain's B2B Roadshow
18
Ludhiana
Visit Britain's B2B Roadshow
24
Mumbai
Italia Expo Roadshow 2014
26
Kolkata
Italia Expo Roadshow 2014
27
Delhi
Italian National Tourism
Bureau'sItalia Workshop 2014
28
Delhi
OptiMICE Events' MICE Travel Mart
+ Luxury & Leisure Travel Mart
28
Mumbai
European Quartet Roadshow
29
Pune
European Quartet Roadshow
INTERNATIONAL
3-6
London
World Travel Market (WTM)
7-10
Taipei
Taipei International Travel Fair
8-9
Sydney
Work & Travel Expo Sydney
12-14
Shanghai
FHC China-Retail & Hospitality
14-16
Bremen
Reiselust
18-20
Barcelona
EIBTM
DECEMBER
NATIONAL
1-2
Delhi
Atout France Mission
1
Surat
Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow
1
Bengaluru
European Quartet Roadshow
2
Delhi
European Quartet Roadshow
3-5
Mumbai
Atout France Mission
3
Ahmedabad
Visit Britain’s B2B Roadshow
9
Pune
New South Wales, Tourism
Queensland &Tourism Victoria
Workshop
9
Ahmedabad
New South Wales, Tourism
Queensland &Tourism Victoria
Workshop
INTERNATIONAL
1-4
Cannes
International Luxury Travel Market
4-7
Turkey
TRAVEL TURKEY IZMIR, Trade
Fair & Conference for Tourism
5-7
Florida
USTOA Annual Conference &
Marketplace
10-11 Brussels
BTExpo
For more information, contact us at: [email protected]
Cashing in on South India
Air Austral, a French airline, in association with Reunion Island Tourism Board,
recently conducted two significant workshops in Puducherry and Chennai.
According to Dany Allane, General Sales Agents Coordinator, Air Austral, the
participants were extremely interested in the new destination.
T T B U R E AU
he workshops received a
huge response with about
50-60 participants from
Chennai and 20 from
Puducherry. As the workshops
were held in these two
cities only, a whopping response was
generated from the
participants.
T
Shedding light
on its future strategies, Allane said, “We
hope to come back
very soon to India to organise
a roadshow with Reunion
Island.” The airline is hopeful in
increasing its load factor by the
next year, courtesy, a handful
of travel-friendly policies.
Talking about the airline’s plans
to increase the numbers to
Reunion Island and their
strategies, Allane said,
“Thanks to the ‘Free Visa’ new
decree and cooperation
between Indian travel agencies
and DMCs in Reunion, we
hope to see a substantial
increase by 2015.”
She also
told about Air
Austral’s intention
to develop the
market from India
to Reunion (RUN)
and their Indian
Ocean network
Dany Allane
General Sales Agents Coordinator
Air Austral
and they will adapt capacity to
market growth.
OPPORTUNITY
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
31
32
MOVEMENTS
TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
IHG
Radisson Jass Hotel Khajuraho
Lords Resorts,Sasan Gir
Gurgaon
Khajuraho
Junagadh
Shantha de Silva is the Head of South West Asia for InterContinental
Hotels Group (IHG). Leading IHG's business in India, Bangladesh,
Nepal & Sri Lanka, with a focus on India
as a key market, de Silva will be responsible for driving strategic growth for the
company and the operational performance of 21 hotels across four brands:
InterContinental, Crowne Plaza,
Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express.
He will also play an integral role in driving IHG's plans to have 150 hotels open
or in the pipeline in India within the next
10 to 15 years.
Deba Prasad has joined the Radisson Jass Hotel Khajuraho as its
General Manager. He brings more than 17
years of hotel experience, including positions with Carlson Rezidor Hotels, Lalit,
Taj Group, Starwood and Oberoi. He
holds an International Executive MBA
from United Business Institute in
Brussels, Belgium; a Bachelors’ in
Commerce from Calcutta University;
and a diploma in hotel management,
catering, technology and applied nutrition from the Institute of Hotel
Management Bhubaneswar.
Thomas Kocheri has been appointed as the General Manager
of Lords Resorts, Sasan Gir in Gujarat. Kocheri
brings with him 18 years of experience in
different facets of hospitality with specialisation in F&B operations. Prior to his
new role with Lords Sasan Gir,
Junagadh, he was a senior manager
with Mahindra Holidays & Resorts,
Sasan Gir. In the past, he has also
worked with Wonderland Resort, Sasan
Gir. He is a graduate from St. Xavier’s
College, Ahmedabad.
The Lemon Tree Hotel Company
The Claridges New Delhi
Warq Events
New Delhi
New Delhi
Noida
Rahool Macarius has been appointed Head-Corporate Accounts
at The Lemon Tree Hotel Company. He has 15 years of experience
in the hospitality industry. He started his career
as a Management Trainee with IHG
Hotels and went on to head the sales
and marketing function of Holiday Inn
Resort, Goa. He has also worked with ITC
Fortune Park Hotels as Regional Sales
Manager-Western India. Macarius has
been working with Lemon Tree Hotels
since 2011 and was previously
Assistant Vice President and
Head National Accounts.
Swati Jain has been appointed as Director of Sales – Corporate at
The Claridges New Delhi. She has over nine years of experience in
strategic sales and pan-India outreach.
Having worked with The Lodhi and The
Leela Palace in the past, Jain is well
acquainted with the Indian corporate
market. Jain has an MBA from Amity
Business School, and has graduated
with a Commerce degree from Gargi
College, New Delhi.
RG Singh has joined the Barcelona-based Spanish DMC Warq Events
as the General Manager MICE for North India. In this position RG
will be responsible for developing &
generating not only MICE sales but
the entire gamut of Outbound
Travel
including
Vacation,
Honeymooners; as well as Incentives,
Weddings & Conferences in Spain and
Portugal; which constitute the DMC’s
core destinations.
Shanti Maurice, Mauritius
Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla
New Delhi
New Delhi
Namrata Rynjah has joined Shanti Maurice, Mauritius as its Sales
Manager. In her current profile, she would be managing for Pan India
outbound sales and PR for the
company. Armed with experience of
nine years, Rynjah has worked with
Lebua Hotels and Resorts and
Aman Resorts previously. She has
completed her B. Com from
Sydenham College of Commerce
& Economics.
Sudershan Bhandari has been appointed as the Executive Chef at
Crowne Plaza Today New Delhi Okhla. Bhandari’s experience spans
around for over 20 years within the hospitality industry. Prior to this, he was
working with Carlson Rezidor.
Previously he has also worked with
brands such as The Grand New Delhi,
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and ITC Hotel
Division. He has also worked with
Carnival Cruise line in USA.
Natasha Yashpal has been appointed Assistant Vice President
and Head-Travel Trade at The Lemon Tree Hotel Company. She
has 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has previously
worked with Oberoi Hotels &
Resorts as a Sales Manager, The
Leela Palaces Hotels and Resorts
as Director of Sales & MarketingTravel Trade and Quo Vadis Travels
as Director of Development. Prior
to this, she was the Director of
Sales for Royal Park/Royal Gulf
Tourism, UAE.
Talking People is a special dedicated corner, created as a sounding board for who’s who of the Indian and International travel industry.
With Talking People, it is our endeavour to bring you face-to-face with people. Contributed by: Megha Paul, Hazel Jain and Anupriya Bishnoi
No matter how busy Deepak Bhatnagar, MD, Aamantaran Travel
is, he will not leave watching any cricket match on TV. "I also used
to play cricket till five years back. But unfortunately the game
requires a big team and thus, I am looking
for a big team of friends to play the
game soon," he says. Bhatnagar loves
travelling to Khajuraho and Kerala to
rejuvenate himself. His favourite
destinations abroad are Budapest
and Prague. An avid film lover, he
recently saw Haider.
Sumit Kant, GM, VP, Four Points by Sheraton, Navi Mumbai, Vashi,
says, “I am a fitness enthusiast, so I like to go for a morning walk,
as well as hitting the gym. Also, I like to spend time with my
family, which is very important to keep
me going. Music is my passion, so I
give it an ample amount of time. I
also read management books and
play chess. Whenever I am
holidaying, I love to go to Thailand.
Also Goa and Matheran remains
some of my all-time favourite
domestic destination.”
GT Jeyaseelan, Chief Marketing Officer, SriLankan Airlines says,
“Most of my time other than at work is spent with the family and
watching my favorite sports: soccer and cricket.” Few people know
that he enjoys history and has a sound
knowledge of Sri Lankan history and its
ancient relations with India. His
favourite holiday destination in India
is Tamil Nadu. “I enjoy the countryside
in the Thanjavur region,” he says. His
most memorable holiday moment
however occurred in France. “I can never
forget the day when we lost and found our
second daughter in a sea of
people at the Lourdes
cathedral in France after a
four-hour search. She was
only seven,” he reminisces.
Postal Reg. No.: DL(ND)-11/6044/2012-13-14;
WPP No.: U(C)-178/2012-14 for posting on 1st-2nd and 16th-17th
of the same month at New Delhi P.S.O., RNI No.: 53492/91
Date of Publication: 15-10-2014
India a key market for FRHI
With three distinct brands, Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel, the Canadabased luxury hospitality chain FRHI Hotels & Resorts is looking at
strengthening presence in India. Mark Sergot, Senior Vice President, Global
Sales Organisation, FRHI Hotels & Resorts speaks to
on the sidelines
of the Global Meeting Exchange programme in Abu Dhabi. Excerpts:
MEGHA PAUL
Significant market
India is a core strategic
market for us. We see the
Indian market as critical not
only for our growth in India but
also for its outbound growth for
our other hotels globally. For
that, it is important to have a
presence in India because you
want people to know your
brand. Thus, we have a twopronged strategy in India. We
are looking at developing the
India market to assist and
manage the ongoing demand
for inbound and domestic travellers here. Also we are looking
at enhancing brand recognition
for our global presence. We
see opportunity for outbound
travel to key Fairmont markets,
including Dubai, Abu Dhabi,
Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai,
in addition to locations in
Canada, US, Europe and
Africa. The launch of Fairmont
Jaipur
and
Swissotel
Kolkata has definitely helped
in introducing Indian travellers
to our brand.
India office facilitating
business
Seeing significant outbound opportunities from
India, we opened our Global
Sales Office for India in
Delhi four
years ago. We have seen a
spurt in generation of business
across the three brands from
this market, especially the
leisure, MICE and wholesale
segment via this office. The
while destinations such as
Goa will serve as an attractive
location to grow our resorts
portfolio. For Swissotel, we
would like to be in secondary
markets as we have witnessed
train for skill. From dishwasher
to executives to directors,
everyone undergoes a process
of training. We have a very
strong culture of training and
retaining our top people.
We have a two-pronged strategy in India.
We are looking at developing the India market
to assist and manage the ongoing demand for
inbound and domestic travellers here. Also we
are looking at enhancing brand recognition for
our global presence.
Mark Sergot
Senior Vice President
Global Sales Organization, FRHI Hotels & Resorts
office is also looking at
strengthening ties with the
travel trade community in India.
Expansion plans
To establish our presence in India, we are looking
at opening hotels in key gateway cities. Thus, opening
Fairmont in Jaipur and the
Swissotel in Kolkata were key
strategies for our growth in the
market. Going forward, we
would look at Mumbai,
Bengaluru and
Delhi for the
Fairmont
brand
a good response from the
Kolkata property. We are working with partners and developers to look for opportunities in
the country.
Challenges in the India
market
Opening hotels all over
the world is a complex affair
and India is no exception. It is
crucial for us that the hotel
needs to be true to the brand
and that is what is challenging.
Hiring talent and retaining talent is also a huge challenge.
We hire for talent and then
Hospitality outlook
Fairmont is optimistic
about the long-term growth
story of India. Being a comparatively new international brand
poses more opportunities than
challenges.
The country’s luxury hospitality sector is growing and
interestingly at a rapid pace.
The Indian luxury hospitality
industry has recorded healthy
growth fuelled by increased
tourist movement within the
country and hearty inflow of
overseas tourists.
Fairmont, Jaipur
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OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
1
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COVER STORY
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
3
When it’s all about [email protected]
Aerocity will add 5,100 rooms to the 11,000 branded
hotel rooms, making it the largest MICE option in NCR.
Currently there are three hotels that have opened for
business here.
got in touch with two of these
hotels, Lemon Tree and JW Marriott to find out how the
hospitality industry in the region is shaping up…
K A N C H A N N AT H
Lemon Tree Premier, Delhi
Airport and Red Fox Hotel,
Delhi Airport
Since the opening of the
hotel, what has been
your average Occupancy,
ARRs and RevPar?
We have been averaging
75 per cent occupancy @
LTP(Lemon Tree Premier)and
similar occupancies LTP ARR:
5500/- @ Red Fox ARR 4000/-
Maahesh Aiyer
Chief Operating Officer
Lemon Tree Premier
We were among
the first hotels to
get ready in
Aerocity, and we
are now focussing
on operating the
hotel and doing
good business
Do you have room
inventory which is not
yet operational?
Yes, 135 rooms at Lemon
Tree Premier and 16 at Red
Fox are not operational as yet.
We were among the first hotels
to get ready in Aerocity, and
due to delays, our loss has
been substantial. But we are
now focussing on operating the
hotel, and doing good business
going forward.
What are the main challenges in licenses that
you have faced before
finally opening? Do any
of your rooms await
security clearances?
What are the security
arrangements at the
hotel?
The rooms that are facing the runway are the ones
that are presently non operational and we await a go ahead
from the agencies to start their
operations. The security
arrangements at both our
hotels- Lemon Tree Premier &
Red Fox Hotel, Delhi Airport
are world class and equip us to
deal with any kind of situation.
We have invested heavily in
security equipments and
processes and in fact the secu-
rity authorities also mention us
as benchmarks in New Delhi
and India for security equipments and processes. The
security arrangements in the
hotels include hi- end solutions
like crash bollards and boom
barriers at each entrance;
under vehicle surveillance system; baggage x-ray scanners;
back-to-back CCTV coverage
of all public areas; Fish Eye
cameras in the basements that
provide a 360° view; face
Contd. on page 9 FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 4
4 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
Plaza Premium
Lounge opens
its first Transit
hotel in
Bengaluru
Plaza Premium Lounge
Management introduced its
first transit hotel in
Bengaluru – the Day Hotel
by Plaza Premium Lounge
in Domestic Departures at
Kempegowda International
Airport.
Unlike other hotels, the
Day Hotel by Plaza
Premium Lounge is a short
stay hotel located within an
airport terminal with a flexible hourly rate payment
offering. It allows travellers
to rest during long transits
or extended waits between
flights.
The new hotel will join
the two recently opened
Plaza Premium Lounges in
Bengaluru to further
enhance the world class
service at Kempegowda
International Airport, providing comfort, convenience and value to all travellers. With easy access
from
the
Domestic
Departures check-in area,
the Day Hotel is set to
impress travellers with its
cosy rooms, modern décor
and excellent services.
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Living in the age of Great Change
Talking to Vivek Braganza, Director-Sales & Marketing at Westin Pune,
new initiatives being taken up by the group. Here is what he had to say:
T T B U R E AU
peaking on the major
trends appearing in the
hotel business today, he said,
“On the demand side, business
conditions are increasingly
directly influenced by global
events – such as financial
downturns, political uncertainties and so on. However, the
growing domestic market could
emerge as a counter balance
in such scenarios.”
S
“On the supply side, India
has a strong presence of international hotel chains such as
Starwood Hotels & Resorts –
which offers our customers
access to global brands, best
practices and class leading
international programmes such
as Starwood Preferred Guest”,
he added.
Braganza also spoke
about the segments of the hospitality industry one can see
flourishing in the coming years,
in terms of properties that cater
to business, leisure or both.
“There is growth opportunity in
all segments of the market.
While the supply of hotels is
currently concentrated across
A and B class cities, there is
always scope for hotels who
can offer a selection of experiences for all segments of cus-
Bar our nightclub, [email protected] our
Lounge Bar, Sunday Brunches
at Seasonal Tastes and Prego
and the Heavenly Spa experience to top off those rejuvenat-
At Starwood, we realise that
we are living in the Age of
Great Change – which is
driven by rising wealth
around the world, and an
ever-connected digitally
connected environment
Vivek Braganza
Director-Sales & Marketing at
Westin Pune
tomers. The Westin Pune
Koregaon Park is proud to
serve our guests not just for
their business travel, but also
as a refreshing weekend destination to ‘play well’ and ‘eat
well’, he said.
He added, “We offer our
guests excellent value as a
weekend destination, with Kue
ing quick breaks. Located in
the heart of Koregaon Park,
guests can paint the town red,
with access to the city’s finest
nightlife either at the hotel or
within a short distance away.”
He proceeded to tell us a
little about what the USP of
their group is. “Starwood Hotels
& Resorts operates the
industry - leading customer loyalty program – Starwood
Preferred Guest.
SPG offers award
winning benefits, an amazing
global portfolio, valuable
redemptions and much more,”
commented Braganza.
He further went on to talk
about the new initiatives the
group has taken in the last few
years as well as new plans in
the pipeline for the group. He
said, “Starwood is in the
process of launching SPG Pro,
which is the first of its kind customer loyalty program – that
rewards customers, from a single platform, for all the business they drive to our hotels.
Through our Global Citizenship
program, we focus on environmental sustainability and community welfare. Our environmental policy addresses six
areas of opportunity, to target
a 30% reduction in energy and
a 20% reduction in water by
the year 2020.”
“At Starwood, we realise
that we are living in the Age of
asked him about
Great Change – which is driven by rising wealth around the
world, and a digitally connected environment. We believe
that people want a better way
to experience the world. A big
part of these new expectations
is personalisation. Our goal
through Global Personalisation
at Starwood is for each guest
to feel special and recognised,
every time. All our upcoming
projects including a Smart
check in and Mobile experience, align to the task of driving Global Personalisation at
Starwood,” he concluded.
What’s New
N
Starwood is in the process
of launching SPG Pro,
which is the first of its kind
customer loyalty program –
that rewards customers,
from a single platform, for
all the business they drive
to our hotels
N
It also focusses on
environmental sustainability
and community welfare
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6 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
De‘bunk’ing myths about hostels
As a fairly new concept in India, youth hostels come with their share of myths and misinformation. Maison de Voyage,
that promotes Swiss Youth Hostels in India, is educating the trade on why they can be the best thing for Indian travellers.
T T B U R E AU
enaifer Daruwalla, General
Manager of Maison de
Voyage that is a GSA for Swiss
Youth Hostels in India, is clear
on how she wants to promote
the product in India. “It is not just
a hostel, and it’s not just for the
youth,” she clarifies.
J
Her agenda: To change
the image of hostels that Indians
have, and the first step is to educate the trade. “We want to show
our trade partners that hostels
can be clean and have amenities just like hotels. The Swiss
Youth Hostels is present in
about 54 different locations
including two new hostels in
Saas-fee
and
Gstaad,”
Daruwalla says.
Facilities
Explaining the facilities
available at some of the Swiss
Youth Hostels, she adds, “The
breakfast is included just like in
a hotel. Plus, we have various
categories like single, double,
family rooms and dormitories.
There are various permutations
and combinations depending on
what the client’s budget is. Some
of the hostels are heritage structures converted from castles
and even villas.”
So what differentiates
these hostels from a hotel? “It
won’t have a concierge desk,
no daily cleaning, and guests
have to handle their own luggage. Agents are pretty
Maison de Voyage is
therefore actively educating the
agents and has planned a familiarisation trip for about 8-12
potential and performing agents
this November along with Swiss
Tourism. “We need to educate
the travel trade about this, especially because Switzerland is
still the biggest selling destination in India. Agents need to ask
There are various permutations and combinations
depending on what the
client’s budget is.
Some of the hostels
are heritage structures
converted from castles
and even villas.
Jenaifer Daruwalla
GM, Maison de Voyage
apprehensive when it comes
to suggesting hostels to
clients because of the image
they have in India – dirty with
shared bathrooms,” she says.
themselves how they can
evolve the itineraries and make
the packages more cost-effective. There are many
agents who are ready to
explore a different way of selling
Switzerland,” she says.
All for social communities
“Hotels are expensive
merely because they come
under the hotel category.
Hostels are cheaper with
amenities that are at par. In
fact, a lot of international companies also conduct MICE
activities in our hostels,”
Daruwalla reveals.
All hostels have WiFi in
common areas, which
encourages social networking
between families and individuals of different cultures.
“Hostels are perfect for everyone – from two-year olds to
70-year olds. Vegetarian food
is also not a problem. In fact,
not just MICE groups, our
hostels are great even for
school and college tours,”
Daruwalla suggests.
For hostels, guests
require membership to
Youth International Hostel
(Hostelling International)
which costs approximately Rs
200 per person, per annum.
This applies for all hostels in
all destinations. Swiss Youth
Hostels also have ski packages at certain hostels that
are located in ski destinations
and can help with ski passes
during season time.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 7
HOTELS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
TRAVTALK
7
Gems of peace and tranquility
Anantara Hotels & Resorts was incorporated in 2005 with a vision to be the leading Boutique Hotel Management &
Development company in India. The company has been set-up to offer a chain of `Experience-driven Boutique Resorts
and Private Hideaways across India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan & South East Asia. A quick glimpse of their different properties:
T T B U R E AU
A Beach Symphony
Located on Marari beach,
Mararikulam, Alleppey in
Kerala, India, this boutique
beach stay property comes
with 4 separate cottages,
which were originally fishermen cottages on Marari
Beach. All guests are provided
with standard amenities and all
meals are served on the
veranda of the cottage with an
option of candle light dinners
on the beach.
open manicured lawns, outdoor dining, play area for kids
and traditional evening entertainment.
and a veranda for relaxation
and dining.
Ambatty Greens
Ambatty Greens, India’s
only hill station resort, is located
in Bittangala, Coorg, Karnataka.
Located in the velvety green,
spice-rich region of Coorg, this
picturesque resort boasts of an
18-hole golf course and 24 welldesigned spacious rooms overlooking the golf course. Each
room also comes with a balcony
with views of the hill range on
the far side.
Raga on the Ganges
Located in Rishikesh,
every nook and corner of the
resort has a surprise waiting
for you. With a total of 31 rooms
(21 Standard + 4 Log Huts + 6
cottages) each with breathtaking views of wild seasonal flowers and birds, Raga is truly a
‘resort’ to one's soul.
Shalimar Spice Garden
Chandra Mahal Haveli
This property, located in
a village called Pahersar, about
25 kilometres from Bharatpur
city, brings with it a charming
heritage experience. The
Haveli is a representation of
Persian architecture, which is
very different from the usual
palaces and forts of Rajasthan.
The Chandra Mahal Haveli has
4 Suites and 7 well appointed
Deluxe Rooms. Recreation
facilities include an outdoor
swimming pool area and wide
This is a perfect blend of
European and Indian living
without diluting the rich heritage of Kerala. Its lush landscape borders the Periyar
Wildlife Sanctuary. 20 rooms
and cottages with sit – out
areas are spread out across
the property, each with the kind
of architecture that showcases
a fusion of Indian concepts and
Western comfort.
The Poovath Heritage,
Fort Cochin
Veena Beach Villa
The Poovath Heritage –
An Amritara Resort, a renovated Dutch Palace from the colonial era, stands tall by the
bewitching Arabian Sea in Fort
Kochi on the south west coast
of India. A total of 10 rooms in
different categories based on
the views and sizes are tastefully furnished. Vestiges of
Portuguese, Dutch, and British
colonialism lie scattered apart
from the religious influences
like synagogues, churches and
so on in Fort Kochi. For those
with a penchant for history,
Poovath and the surroundings
will have much to say.
Vismaya Lake Heritage
Located
Near
Thavanakkandavuroad,
Chenganda, Cherthala, in
Kerala, this private hide away
is set between 3 sides of water
on the salty side of the
Vembanad Lake. This 300year-old wooden Villa, now
completely renovated, features
2 rooms complete with luxury
bath gardens, a swimming
pool, a large lobby with sitting
corners, a game table, library
A 250-year-old Wooden
Villa on the Tamilian border, the
Veena beach villa is located
on Marari beach, Pollethai,
Alleppey, Kerala. The 3 bedroom
villa comes with 2 bathrooms
and
beautiful
veranda.
Throughout the Villa, one can
find craftsmanship in the wooden paneled doors and various
carvings. This property would
serve as the ideal location for a
Contd. on page 14 FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 8
8 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
Another
Le Meridien
hotel in India
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
has signed another Le Meridien
hotel in India in Ahmedabad.
The hotel is going to open in
2018
which
includes
Ahmedabad’s largest convention
centre, with more than 6,800
square metre of meeting and
event space. It will become the
brand’s third hotel in India, following existing properties in
ND
Creating an Ark of Specialists
This is the age of specialisation and Club Med is out to create specialists who can sell the
product innovatively. The all-inclusive vacation resorts is now looking at an aggressive
distribution strategy through PSAs.
T T B U R E AU
lub Méditerranée, or Club
Med as it is popularly
called, is a French holiday
resort company with a chain of
exceptional resorts. It is all
about fun and relaxation. But
the company is doing anything
but relaxing. It is now looking
at an aggressive distribution
strategy and will be making the
product available only through
its network of preferred travel
agents in India.
C
Dilip Puri
Regional Vice President for
South Asia, Starwood
New Delhi and Bengaluru. And
for Starwood, the hotel will mark
its third opening in the city, joining the Aloft Ahmedabad and
Four Points by Sheraton
Ahmedabad.
“We believe the return of Le
Méridien to Ahmedabad is a key
milestone for Le Méridien, which
is experiencing renewed traction
and momentum throughout
South Asia,” said Dilip Puri,
Regional Vice President for
South Asia, Starwood.
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Anju Tandon, Director,
Ark Travels, that is promoting
Club Med, says, “Apart from
this, Club Med is also
working towards creating
Club Med specialists.”
She adds that the core
objective of the promotional
strategy in India is to increase
concept awareness in defined
markets. “Club Med is looking
to increase business volume
by going through a strong distribution network of travel
agents. Our marketing initiative
constitutes various training pro-
'All-inclusive' fun
aspect of vacation interests like
sports and entertainment
program. Guests therefore
have no payments to make
and thus can be completely at
ease. Spas and excursion
facilities are at extra cost
though,” she adds.
Club Med’s all-inclusive
concept attracts all age groups
and types of clientele who want
The concept has huge
potential in Indian market and
grams, BTL tactics and offline
media activations that will keep
customers educated and
updated on our various offerings and ongoing initiatives,”
Tandon adds.
Indians are looking at
holidays as a habit and it is
fast becoming a necessity
especially for the urban
population
Anju Tandon
Director, Ark Travels
a hassle-free holiday without
worrying about organising,
schedules or costs.
“Not just unlimited food
and beverages (alcohol included), the tag covers every
Tandon explains why. “Indians
are looking at holidays as a
habit and it is fast becoming a
necessity especially for the
urban population. Outbound
business growth is actually
quite high and FIT business is
booming as more and
more travelers opt for selfstyled shorter holidays to
nearer destinations in Asia,”
she explains.
Speaking about the luxury market, Tandon adds that
the Indian luxury resort market
has witnessed a transformation
in last one decade. “The standard of facilities provided to
guests has gone up considerably and guest satisfaction is
becoming the prime motive,”
she says.
Ark of innovation
Meanwhile, Ark Travels
is organising ‘Bollywood
Dhamaal’ onboard SuperStar
Gemini for the festive months
of October and November.
“We have also conducted
Indian weddings, engagements and other experiential
activities onboard Star
Cruises. With Club Med in our
product line, we have truly
become an all-inclusive tour
operator providing services
on land as well as on
sea,” she says.
Extrapolating on the
strategy that Ark Travels will be
adopting, Tandon says that the
tour operator is always on the
lookout for innovative ideas
and products. “We encourage
our travel partners to get innovative and sell different concepts. We support innovation
and believe in educating our
partners and making them
specialists of the products that
we promote thereby forging
long-term relationships with
them,” she says
In a Nutshell
N
The core objective of the
promotional strategy in
India is to increase concept
awareness in defined
markets
N
Club Med’s all-inclusive
concept attracts all age
groups and types of
clientele who want a
hassle-free holiday without
worrying about organising,
schedules or costs
Opening up Vrindavan
Saurabh Goel, Director, Nidhivan Hotels & Resorts
spoke about some of the major ongoing trends within
the industry, about his own group and more.
T T B U R E AU
iving us an insight into
some of the hospitality
industries major trends today,
he said, “With the escalating
real estate prices, focus is
shifting to Tier-II cities. The
rising consumption here
should lead to smart hotels
which are high on quality and
at the same time not commanding very high rates.”
G
their mark. Locals too will give
business,” he added.
He went on to tell us a little about his own group and
their current areas of focus.
“We intend to focus on temple
towns which attract a large
number of people from across
the nation but given the limited
infrastructure available are not
able to meet the needs of the
pilgrims. Better facilities will not
“Nidhivan Hotel Vrindavan is
the first 4-star class hotel in
Vrindavan. With pure vegetarian and no alcohol, it caters to
those looking for a divine experience. At the same time with a
good health club, and several
guided tours of unexplored
areas around Braj, we are targetting those looking for a good
getaway from cities like Delhi,
NCR, Agra, Jaipur, etc.”
Why Nidhivan
“Temple towns too will
get such business. Tourist
footfall is quite high in these
places. People are not ready
to spend exorbitant amounts
here but want better quality
than the existing dharamshala
and guest house set up.
Hence smart hotels will make
just increase footfalls but also
increase length of stay of existing visitors,” said Goel.
We further asked him
about new initiatives taken by
Nidhivan Hotels & Resorts
in the last few years. To this,
he responded by saying,
N
Vrindavan is a temple town
with over 1000 temples. It
enjoys a significant
importance for the followers
of Lord Krishna
N
The temple town is also a
weekend getaway especially
for people from Delhi/NCR,
Jaipur and Western UP given
that there is a lot of places of
interest
N
Nidhivan hotel is the only four
star category hotel of
Vrindavan
N
There are many facilities
available for those coming to
Vrindavan for pilgrimage as
well as for the leisure
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COVER STORY
First on the playing field
Contd. from page 3
recognition analytical cameras;
a comprehensive video wall in
the security control room to
monitor all coverage simultaneously; a 3D walkthrough;
bio-metric access control for all
back-of-the-house
areas;
intruder alarm system and
panic buttons at key locations.
future. Proximity to the airport,
Delhi and Gurgaon really helps
this destination. With one of the
best malls and commercial
space getting ready, this will be
the future of hotel activity in New
Delhi. Also with its connectivity
through metro to different parts
of the city, it makes commuting
As a fairly new hotel, the property has picked up a considerable
amount of business in the
corporate segment location .
Antony Page
General Manager
JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi
Aerocity
Which big MICE bookings have you had in the
last six months, what is
lined up for the next six
months?
We are happy by the way
our business has lifted in
Aerocity and have a good
pipeline of events and conferences lined up in the future.
However, due to the non disclosure and confidentiality
agreements with our customers it would not be appropriate to dwell into specifics.
very easy for a traveler. We are
infact increasingly seeing this
trend where customers are
staying in Aerocity and taking
the metro to travel across and
saving time.
JW Marriott Hotel New
Delhi Aerocity
Since the opening of the
hotel what has been
your average Occupancy,
ARRs and RevPar?
Aerocity is very strategically located in the heart of the
The average occupancy
rate at JW Marriott New
Delhi Aerocity has been
48 per cent and INR 8500 is the
average rate offered to guests.
As a fairly new hotel, the
property has picked up a
considerable amount of
city and is just a few minutes
from both the airport. Vasant
Vihar, Diplomatic Enclave and
Chanakyapuri are also conveniently located close by to this
area. The commercial hub of
Gurgaon and the entertainment
center of Vasant Kunj are also
within easy reach from Delhi
Aerocity. When fully ready It’s a
great destination where you can
get 2000+ rooms in a span of 1
kms, No other city in India offers
this option. It can become an
event/ MICE destination in the
business in the corporate segment location and services
being key factors in attracting
business. Apart from receiving
a substantial amount of revenue from this segment, our
state-of-the-art banquet facilities have also helped in receiving a large amount of business
from
guests
planning
weddings and even conferences contributing to room
nights. The total Banquet space
measures to 24,000 sq ft with
8 meeting spaces.
What have you to say
about Aerocity as the
emerging destination
for MICE in NCR.
Is the hotel benefiting
from add-ons of F&B
like the restaurant and
banqueting? Kindly
elaborate
JW Marriott New Delhi
Aerocity is a property located
suitably for both guests from
Delhi as well as Gurgaon.
Additionally, our restaurants
have been known for both
their dynamic F&B offerings
as well as the hospitable staff.
In terms of F&B, we as a hotel
are benefiting immensely with
the popularity of our fine-dining restaurant Akira Back by
Celebrity chef of the same
name, which hosts a large
Japanese clientele. Akira
Back with its quintessential
Japanese cuisine has managed to attract guests from
both Delhi and Gurgaon. The
all-day diner K3 which hosts
a number of corporate and
leisure clientele have been
quite a success with its three
live kitchens serving cuisines
from three different regions:
Tuscany, Canton and India. In
terms of banquet opportunities we host a number of
MICE events at our property
as well as residential weddings owing to our large pillar-less banquet venue and
meeting rooms.
What have you to say
about Aerocity as the
emerging destination
for MICE in NCR?
Aerocity is touted to
be the next big MICE destination in the NCR region due to its
close proximity to the Indira
Gandhi International Airport and
it being equidistant from
Gurgaon and New Delhi. The
large amount of dedicated
upcoming conference and
convention space in Aerocity
too contributes to the shift
and insurgence of corporate
events here. International corporate business is also expected to see a growth with a large
number of global meets and
conferences being planned
to be hosted here.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 10
10 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
‘We need infrastructure, skilled staff’
Infrastructure, skilled manpower and ETA came up as top demands from the hospitality industry when
gathered feedback on what the industry thought was the most urgent need of the hospitality sector. Following
are the excerpts from India Travel Award - West winners.
Better infrastructure in Pune is an urgent need, so as to cater
to the inflow of companies and requirements. There is a boost
in MICE business with the influx and growth in manufacturing/IT/Automobile industries. However, Pune needs to be
equipped with better airport and roads in order to make the
city a premium destination for both business and leisure. The
hospitality sector also struggles with having a lack of quality
manpower and its retention. Another need would be a levy
on taxation and licenses from the government for hotels.
There should be a streamlined process for new organisation
to have a single-window process.
In last few years, there has been a huge surge in supplies.
As per reports, it has been more than the demand itself. This
has generated a lot of competition and disparity in rates within
the industry. We are trying to leverage all sales heads in cities
and are trying to convince them about bringing about parity
in rates. It is important in such a situation to form something
like a hotelier’s organisation. Also, another thing that is important today is taxation. Till about 5 to 10 years ago, taxes were
10%. Today, they are reaching almost 30%. With added taxes
on alcohol, food, service, leisure, etc, the consumer is affected
the most. They are all looking for value-for-money options
and in such a scenario, the industry is affected too.
Bandish Mehta
GM, Novotel Pune
Trishal Rao
Director and SM, Oakwood Premier Pune
The important requirements are:
Increased travel – We need to market India as a great desThe answer is two-fold. The Home ministry needs to execute
tination
for leisure as well as business. Having said so, we
Visa-on-Arrival on an immediate basis. We get an inbound
need
to
concentrate on better connectivity, improved infratravel foot print of around 6-7 million visitors annually. This is,
structure
and eased regulations.
at best, abysmal. The VoA should increase the figure by 20Trained Manpower – With the increase in number of hotels
25% immediately. Another initiative for long term sustainable
in the country, the current supply of fresh graduates coming
growth is to tap the astounding tourism potential of India. We
out of hotel management colleges is not enough. Moreover
have the most diverse and incredible history in every nook
most of them are not encouraged to join hotel industry and
and corner of the country. But unfortunately, besides Kerala
prefer getting into retail, entertainment and other manageand Gujarat, there isn’t much impetus. The newly elected
ment jobs.
Central Government has made it a key point in their 5-year
plan. It needs to be marketed both internally and overseas, and executed starting now.
Sandeep Johri
The key here will be the Centre and state alignment on execution along with PPP on all
GM, Novotel Ahmedabad
fronts, travel, hotels, basic civil amenities and above
all the security for the traveller. India has 800 million
domestic travellers a year. If we can mobilise a fracIn today’s scenario, the most important thing in the hospitality industry is human resources. If
tion of these potential customers in the structured
you love to look after people, bring a smile to their faces, cook them a nice dish, and give them
hotel sector today, the game changes forever.
an experience to remember, then the hospitality industry may be the place for you. Every year,
Sahdev Mehta
there’s a need for 2.03 lakh professionals in the industry, says the Ministry of Tourism but only
GM, DoubleTree By Hilton Pune- Chinchwad
18,000 hospitality graduates pass out, annually. Clearly there’s a dearth of skilled professionals
in this sector. That according to me, is one of the most urgent needs.
Saurabh Pant
Associate Director - Sales & Marketing- Radisson Blu Indore
Optimised solutions for off-beat resorts and hotels
V Resorts recently introduced
an online platform for hotel, cottage and resort owners in the
country. Supported by institutional investors and managed by
a team of professionals, V has
developed effective solutions
and carefully-designed process-
es that help maintain and monetise properties with 5-25
rooms, across offbeat locations
of India.
Aditi Balbir, MD and
Founder of V Resorts, said, “We
understand the owner’s anxiety
and concern for their property
and adopt their dream to
remove all worries over its
maintenance and care.” The
model developed by V has taken
a property from 100 room
nights per annum, to 100 room
night per month on an annual
basis. The company provides
enriched vacations that imbibe
the local flavour and activities
prevalent around each property.
It engages with experts for
designing experiences around
yoga, rafting, kayaking, angling,
bird watching, trekking, cycling,
national park safaris and village
tours. Balbir added, “By bringing quality and standardisation
to the less-explored, but breathtaking locales of India, we are
opening many unique experiences for the traveller.”
Within three years of inception, V Resorts already has
under its mantle resorts in the
most exquisite locations across
three states bordering Delhi. It
takes over everything from
beautification to regular upkeep,
repairs, and control of employees to taxation and other compliances required for business.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 11
HOTELS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Hotels with South Indian twist
GRT Hotels and Resorts has become a name to reckon with in South India.
Established at key business and leisure locations, its hotels offer complete
hospitality solutions for discerning travellers.
T T B U R E AU
e
it
Chennai,
Mamallapuram, Pondicherry,
Madurai
or
Kanchipuram, GRT Hotels &
Resorts brings memorable
hospitality products whether
you are travelling for business
or leisure. GRT Hotels &
Resorts was promoted by GR
Thanga Maligai (GRT), South
B
India’s leading jewellery house,
which was established in 1964
by G. Rajendran. The GRT
brand has been built over years
of sustained commitment to
quality and customer orientation. These values have been
woven into the philosophy of
GRT Hotels and Resorts.
Just a decade since its
inception, GRT Hotels and
Resorts has become a name
to reckon with in South India.
Established at key business
and leisure locations, its hotels
offer complete hospitality solutions for discerning travellers.
Impeccable service on a consistent basis has resulted in
each of the hotels achieving
leadership positions in their
respective locations.
GRT Hotels & Resorts
comprises properties at business and leisure locations with
multiple brands and clearly
defined value propositions,
positioned to cater to a cross
section of hospitality demands.
These include five star luxury
hotels - GRT Temple Bay,
Mahabalipuram and Radisson
Hotel GRT Chennai. Deluxe
hotels – GRT Grand, Chennai
and The Sunway GRT Grand,
Pondicherry
and
GRT
Regency - a value for money
brand at Madurai and
Kanchipuram.
The
GRT
Grand,
Chennai with 133 rooms is the
first of the Group and began
TRAVTALK
11
Chennai gets its first
Novotel Hotel
Novotel Chennai SIPCOT
is the newest international
hotel in the city, located in
close proximity to India’s
premier IT companies on the
spread, a rejuvenating
bar, deli shop and pool side
alfresco dining. Speaking on
the launch of the hotel, JeanMichel
Cassé,
Senior
arterial Old Mahabalipuram
Road. Novotel Chennai SIPCOT is a brand of the
reputable Accor global
hotel group.
VicePresident, OperationsAccor India, said, “Novotel
Chennai SIPCOT is strategically positioned in the
IT hub to accommodate corporate guests traveling to the
city. With the launch of
Novotel Chennai SIPCOT
we hope to present
our guests with Novotel’s
world-renowned service
standards in this important
precinct.”
operations a decade ago. GRT
Grand is a deluxe business
hotel, strategically located in
the city centre of this bustling
metropolis. It is a stone’s throw
away from major business,
shopping and entertainment
districts. The hotel has successfully positioned itself as a
preferred choice for conferences, banqueting and outdoor
catering and has handled a
number of prestigious national
and international events. It
offers nine banqueting spaces,
including an independent convention centre.
GRT Hotels
GRT Temple Bay,
Mahabalipuram
N Radisson Hotel GRT
Chennai
N GRT Grand, Chennai
N The Sunway GRT Grand,
Pondicherry
N GRT Regency Madurai
N GRT Regency
Kanchipuram
N
The 180 well-appointed
rooms with contemporary
interiors are designed for
comfort and practicality.
Offering a range of delectable
food & beverage, the hotel
boasts of an all-day dining
restaurant with a large buffet
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 12
12 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
ND
ibis debuts in Chennai
ibis has opened its first
hotel in Chennai – ibis
Chennai SIPCOT. Located
amongst the IT and ITES
companies in the OMR and
SIPCOT region, ibis Chennai
SIPCOT establishes a new
benchmark for economy
JB Singh
President & CEO
InterGlobe Hotels
hotels in the city as well as
for the fast growing micro
market of OMR.
The hotel opens with an
introductory
offer
of
Rs.3,750/- inclusive of
breakfast, with 25% discount on a two-night stay
and Rs. 500/- credit for F&B.
To highlight the ultimate
comfort offered by the global
hotel brand, ibis Chennai
SIPCOT has launched a
unique campaign for experiencing quality sleep by
‘Sweet Bed™ by ibis’. Sweet
Bed™ by ibis has been rigorously engineered, designed,
tested and developed by
Accor’s international design
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
and innovation team. To
mark the hotel opening, the
marketing campaign emphasises this essential part of
hotel’s unique services and
places a happy sleep at the
center of its offering.
Speaking on the rapid
development of the ibis
brand in India, JB Singh,
President & CEO, InterGlobe
Hotels, said, “Chennai today
is regarded as one of the
growing hot spots for corporates. We are delighted to
launch our very first ibis in
Chennai at Sipcot. The property is reflective of the growing needs of corporate travellers as well as caters to the
needs of tourists. The economy category has evolved in
a big way, where it’s about
providing service excellence
at an affordable cost.”
Expressing
his
excitement
Rajesh
Gopalakrishnan, General
Manager, ibis Chennai Sipcot
said, “The comfort, modernity and simplicity that we
have injected into the hotel
will transform the guests’
experience so that they
experience style, space and
service at a great price. At
ibis hotels, a happy sleep is
more than a promise; it's the
brand’s expertise. The campaign of Sweet Bed will also
be a key differentiator.”
Beckoning India outbound
The Residence by Cenizaro offers guests a new online experience to explore
the group’s four luxury hotels. Represented in India through Outbound
Konnections, it is beginning to aggressively tap the India market.
T T B U R E AU
nspired by a mission to enrich
every guest experience, one
person and one moment at a
time, The Residence collection
is renowned for creating relaxing environments that reflect
the destination, complemented
by bespoke hospitality.
I
Anjum Lokhandwala,
Founder and CEO of
Outbound Konnections, that
represents The Residence luxury hotels, talks about how it
promotes the product in the
growing luxury outbound market in India. “Mainly operating
in the B2B market, we
promote the resorts in traditional and emerging markets
through roadshows, trade fairs,
tele-marketing, co-branding,
direct
sales
through
meeting B2B agents and
familiarisation trips.”
Lokhandwala reveals that
The Residence by Cenizaro is
offering guests a new online
experience to explore the
group’s four luxury hotels, with
a highly visual, freshly
redesigned
website
at
www.cenizaro.com/theresidence.
The site has an updated,
chic look and feel and comes
as Cenizaro Hotels & Resorts,
Maldives and Residence
Mauritius. These packages will
carry good value-adds to end
customers,” she says.
Observing trends in the
market, she says that India is
Indians are now more
focussed in terms of
choosing the destination
they want to travel to, and
from the destination right to
products they want to
experience
Anjum Lokhandwala
Founder and CEO of
Outbound Konnections
a hospitality company with
headquarters in Singapore. It
continues the evolution of its
multi-brand portfolio.
“Apart from this, we are
planning to launch familyfriendly and honeymoon packages to The Residence
now a mature luxury market
and the number of high net
worth travellers is growing at a
fast pace. “Family holidays and
honeymooners are the new
trend and they are seeking luxury getaways. Indians are now
more focussed in terms of
choosing the destination they
want to travel to, and from the
destination right to products
they want to experience. The
Residence being a luxury
product has huge potential in
this changing Indian market,”
she adds.
The company’s first venture, The Residence Tunis,
opened in 1996, followed in
1998 by The Residence
Mauritius. In 2011 and 2012,
The Residence Zanzibar and
The Residence Maldives at
Falhumaafushi joined the
brand, which together with The
Residence Tunis, are members
of The Leading Hotels of
the World.
Lokhandwala adds that
destination wise, there is an
increase of almost 20 per cent
in terms of Indian arrivals.
“These numbers look to double
up in the coming season,” she
predicts. Slated to expand the
collection further are four new
openings: a resort on the island
of Bintan in Indonesia, a second resort in Maldives, and two
in Tunisia.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 13
HOTELS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
In footsteps of Lord Rama
Debashis Ghosal, CEO and MD of Daiwik Hotels, shares his views on
major trends being witnessed in the country today as far as the hospitality
sector is concerned. He also shares his plans for his unique tour, In
Footsteps of Lord Rama.
T T B U R E AU
ommenting on the major
trends being witnessed in
the hotel business in India, he
said “International brands have
started focussing on India after
China. Use of technology has
C
ing in terms of the product and
services. India will see some of
its own home-born brands
develop in the mid-segment.”
Talking about the segments of the hospitality industry that are most likely to flour-
Mid-segment hotels will flourish
in India. Pilgrimage along
with both business and
leisure travel is poised for
qualitative growth and brand
association will play an important role in times to come
Debashis Ghosal
CEO and MD of Daiwik Hotels
become of paramount importance for modern day hotels for
the tech-savvy traveller. The
Indian traveller has become
more conscious and demand-
ish in the coming years, he
said, “Mid-segment hotels will
flourish in India. Pilgrimage
along with both business and
leisure travel is poised for qual-
itative growth and brand association will play an important
role in times to come.”
He further went on to talk
about the USP of his Group.
“We are focussed on providing
affordable luxury for pilgrim
travellers in India. This travel
segment is the largest worldwide as well as in India and we
are trying to make a difference
not only in terms of a quality
and standard product but also
by providing solid research
based information on the various aspects of rituals, ceremonies and the pilgrimage
itself. This has never been
attempted before in the hospitality space,” said Ghosal.
Talking about the new initiatives that have been taken in
the last few years and new
plans for the group in the
pipeline, he said, “We have
launched a unique tour called
"In Footsteps of Lord Rama"
which traces over 15 locations
that Lord Rama visited pre and
TRAVTALK
13
ANYA Gurgaon
opens to guests
post the conquest of Lanka in
the district of Ramnad and
thereabouts, based on
Valmiki’s Ramayana. This has
never been attempted in
India before.”
“We are also about to
launch our Shirdi property into
operations by the middle
of October 2014 and the
property is a couple of hundred yards from the Mandir.
The Dwarka project is soon to
commence construction and
so is the Tirupati project. In
Tirupati, we are also developing over 150 residences as a
part of the overall project,”
he concluded.
The Tour
N It traces over 15 locations
that Lord Rama visited pre
and post the conquest of
Lanka in the district of
Ramnad and thereabouts,
based on Valmiki’s
Ramayana
ANYA Gurgaon, offering a choice of 102 elegantly appointed rooms and 15
Suites, was opened to guests recently. It offers deluxe rooms, luxury rooms,
club rooms, deluxe suites, luxury suites and ANYA Suite. While staying in the
Luxury Suite, guests can enjoy understated luxury, impeccable service, and
most modern facilities. Spread over 60 sq mtr these suites are specifically
designed to match the needs of frequent flyers and business travellers.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 14
14 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
Aligned
with nature
Contd. from page 7
couple looking for privacy to a
family travelling with kids.
Suryauday Haveli
The Haveli traces its history back to the early 20th century
built by the Royal Family of
Nepal. It has now been put
together as an Amirtara Private
Hideaway to provide a unique
ghat experience in Banaras. A
15 minute boat ride upstream
along the famous Ghats of
Banaras lead to the Haveli. The
Suryauday Haveli comprises of
01 river facing master suite,
08 river facing rooms and
5 en-suites, each with an
attached bath, air-conditioning,
direct dial telephones and
cable television.
ND
Moving beyond traditional havelis
Rajasthan, known for its heritage properties, attracts a large number of tourists, especially foreigners
and NRIs. This is particularly true for a little tourist town of Pushkar in Ajmer. It is here amongst the
temples and the ghats that the world-renowned Pushkar festival takes place every year. As the
tourists descend on this town, most international ones head to Jagat Palace Hotel.
T T B U R E AU
estored to its past glory,
Jagat Palace in Pushkar is
managed by the royal family of
Khanpur. It makes its guests
feel royal and, therefore,
attracts a high percentage of
inbound tourists.
R
Offerings
N A Beach Symphony
N Chandra Mahal Haveli
N Raga on the Ganges
Jagat Singh Rathore
N Shalimar Spice Garden
N The Poovath Heritage, Fort
Cochin
N Vismaya Lake Heritage
N Ambatty Greens
N Veena Beach Villa
N Suryauday Haveli
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Rajasthan, known for its
royalty and now its heritage
properties, attracts a large
number of tourists, especially
foreigners and NRIs. This
is particularly true for a
little tourist town of Pushkar
in Ajmer.
This 700-year old palace
hotel has been restored to its
past glory and is managed by
the royal family of Khanpur.
Under the leadership and ownership of Jagat Singh Rathore
of Khanpur, the heritage hotel
has managed to not just survive, but thrive. “Almost 95 per
cent of our guests are foreigners and we receive them
throughout winter – from
August till March,” he says.
Rathore adds that most of
them are Europeans from
Germany, France, Italy and
Spain, even though they don’t
serve non-vegetarian food or
alcohol on hotel premises.
The hotel offers traditional hospitality with a blend of all
modern amenities. Set in
82,000 square feet, the palace
is adorned with hand paintings,
frescoes, antique furniture and
fixtures, golden leaf inlay work
and several other intricate
architectural expressions of
master craftsmen. Hotel
Pushkar Palace is a part of the
same umbrella. It is a star cat-
egory heritage hotel in traditional Rajastani style. With 45
super-deluxe rooms and five
suites, the palace overlooks
the beautiful Pushkar Lake.
A part of their marketing
strategy is to participate in top
travel shows such as ITB Berlin
and WTM London. “We also
make our presence felt at
Indian shows like FICCI and
IITM. We organise regular FAM
trips for our agents from whom
we get almost 90 per cent of
our business,” Rathore reveals.
The family is now in the midst
of planning a new property on
the outskirts of Pushkar. “The
land is near our third property
called Royal Desert Camp but
it is still in the design phase.
While the camp has 351 luxury
tents, our new property will
have around 100 rooms,”
Rathore informs.
A Class Apart
N Set in 82,000 square feet,
the palace is adorned with
hand paintings, frescoes,
antique furniture and
fixtures, golden leaf inlay
work and several other
intricate
architectural
expressions of master
craftsmen
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 15
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 16
16 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
New HRAWI
President
elected
The Hotel & Restaurant
Association of Western
India (HRAWI) held its 64th
AGM to elect the office
bearers for the term 201415 in Mumbai. Bharat
Malkani, MD of Hotel
Transit, was elected as the
President for 2014-2015.
The office bearers are
Dilip Datwani as Senior VP,
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli as
VP, Pradeep Shetty as
Honorary Secretary, Sherry
Bhatia as Joint Honorary
Secretary and Prrem Tiwari
as Honorary Treasurer for
the same term.
“We shall prioritise
working on resolving the
various tax and regulatory
issues like luxury tax rates
in Madhya Pradesh, entertainment
tax
in
Maharashtra,
Visa-onArrival issue in Goa among
others.” says Malkani.
The six members nominated for Federation of
Hotel and Restaurant
Associations of India
(FHRAI) for 2014-2015 to
represent from Western
Region are Bharat Malkani,
Vivek Nair, D S Advani,
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli,
Pradeep Shetty and Nirav
Gandhi.
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
‘Our USPs are location, comfort and value’
In conversation with
, Shikha Agarwal, Owner, Lans Castle, shares her views on the
major trends appearing in the hospitality sector, the functioning and USP of their group and
much more. Here are excerpts from the conversation.
T T B U R E AU
n being asked about
what the major trends
are that they see appearing in
the Hotel Business in the
country today, she said, “Hotel
industry in India has seen an
unprecedented growth trend in
the last decade or so and has
been one of the key industries
driving the growth of the service sector in India. Today, there
is a huge basket of options for
each type of customer to
choose from at each destination that he chooses to
visit. Hospitality sector is
expected to increase further in
coming years with revival of
global economy as well as
increasing disposable income
of middle class in India.
Moreover, there has also been
a change in societal preferences with more and more
people now opting for weekend
trips, adventure tourism and
taking periodic annual vacations to spend more time with
friends and family,” says
Shikha Agarwal, owner of the
hotel property.
O
Apart from the global hospitality chains that are there in
major cities which are mostly
looked upon as business hotels,
people nowadays are also looking forward to new hotel segments such as leisure hotels
that not only provide a value-for-
to grow in the coming years,”
she says.
She further went on to
talk about their group and
shared facts about their functioning and the core principles
on which they run their busi-
All the initiatives that we have
taken with regard to the
hotel have been to
improve customer
satisfaction and towards
being a socially responsible
management.
Shikha Agarwal
Owner
Lans Castle
money opportunity but also provide a chance to explore the
smaller known towns and cities
of India. “I expect the business
hotels to grow at a steady rate
but the leisure hotels have been
growing exponentially for last
few years and would continue
ness. “At Lans Castle, we have
a distinct combination of 3
USPs to offer: Location,
Comfort and Value. Lans
Castle is located in remote hilly
region of Pauri Garhwal in the
city ‘Lansdowne’. Lansdowne
offers its visitors a hill station
with all its natural beauty intact
and not being commercial as
most of the other hill stations in
India. It houses a 125-year-old
Army cantonment and is fast
becoming a leisure tourist destination. Since inception, our
endeavour has been to provide
utmost comfort to our visitors
in terms of having an enjoyable, comfortable and a
relaxed holiday that they are
looking for at affordable prices.”
“All the initiatives that we
have taken with regard to the
hotel have been, in one way or
the other, to improve customer
satisfaction and towards being
a socially responsible management. We firmly believe in taking
feedback and suggestions from
our esteemed visitors to further
improve upon our offerings so
that we are able to exceed the
expectations of our visitors each
time. Moreover, we are engaging local people from nearby
places, hiring and giving them
training even though they have
no formal exposure in hospitality sector. This shows our commitment to engage and con-
tribute to the overall growth of
the area,” she added.
She
said,
“Since
Lansdowne is non-commercial
and not such a popular destination, we have taken a few initiatives to increase the visibility
of this unexplored hill station
so as to get this town its due
admiration and provide an
opportunity for its visitors to
relax and rewind themselves.
All our plans, always, would be
directed towards providing a
relaxed ambience and experience to our guests by constantly improving and exceeding customer satisfaction.”
Natural Beauty
N Lans Castle is located in
remote hilly region of Pauri
Garhwal in Lansdowne
N Lansdowne offers its
visitors a hill station with all
its natural beauty intact and
not being commercial as
most of the other hill
stations in India
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 17
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 18
18 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
HRANI elects
the new
President
Luv Malhotra takes over
as the President for Hotel &
Restaurant Association of
Northern India (HRANI). He
ND
Over 5 decades of experience...
Talking to
, Debasish Bhowmik, Senior Vice President, Hotel Clarks Shiraz, gave an insight
into the working of his group and also answered questions that hold relevance for the industry today.
T T B U R E AU
howmik, sharing the USP
of his property, said, “As
one of the oldest 5 star hotel
chains in the country, our
strength has always been
B
Luv Malhotra
President, HRANI
was the Vice President of
HRANI before this. He is
the Executive Director of
Hotel The Suryaa, CHL and
the Director of CHL
International,
Kyjol
Entertainment
Private
Limited, CHL (South)
Hotels. He is also the Vice
President of Mataji Melan
Devi Society (Regd) &
Director & Remuneration
Committee Member of
Satyam Cineplexes. He has
completed
his
Post
Graduation in Economics
from
University
of
Buckingham, UK.
He has worked in various positions and gained a
rich experience in the hospitality sector.
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Over 5 decades of experience
in hospitality adds to the USP.”
He also told us about the
new initiatives they have taken
in the last few years and also
shed light on new plans for the
Of course, with new tourism policy and Visa-onArrival scheme extended to more
and more countries, there will
be an upsurge in inbound
tourism, but infrastructural
issues also need to be attended to include a closely coordinated marketing effort from the
operators and the hoteliers
Debasish Bhowmik
Senior Vice President,
Hotel Clarks Shiraz
warmth in hospitality, impeccable service, gourmet delicacies
and the commitment level of
our team. The hotel is committed to keeping up pace with the
continuous development both
in its hardware and software.
group. “Some of the new initiatives undertaken by us towards
being responsible hoteliers in
spite of various challenges are
our commitment to environment conservation which has
prompted us to adapt to envi-
ronmental-friendly equipments,
practices and we have also
taken initiatives towards reducing carbon footprints, energy
conservation, extensive water
harvesting, water recycling and
waste management systems.
We have also undertaken various CSR activities towards our
commitment of involving and
benefiting the community at
large while keeping our business interests also in mind,”
said Bhowmik.
“The hotel plans to continue its effort towards meeting
the ever-changing expecta-
tions of its guests and to keep
up with the competition by
extending a great experience
and also evolving as a leading
hospitality
organisation,”
he added.
Talking about the major
trends appearing in the hotel
business, he said, “The major
trends in the hotel business
today are the development of
multiple segments to make the
business more viable. Of
course, with new tourism policy
and Visa-on-Arrival scheme
extended to more and more
countries, there will be an
upsurge in inbound
tourism but infrastructural issues also need
to be attended to
include a closely coordinated marketing effort
from the operators and
the hoteliers. It is very
important to make India
a very cost effective
destination. However,
growth in other multiple
segments like MICE,
domestic leisure is very
encouraging but long
term
sustainability
would be important for healthy
ARR as the inbound market is
highly sensitive to many a
global issues.”
“We foresee a growth
in the inbound segment.
However, this growth may only
limit to numbers but not
enough in terms of recovery.
There is and will be a considerable growth in the MICE and
domestic tourism, both in the
volume and recovery. It is
important for any hotel today to
strike a balance between the
both for better sustainability,”
he concluded.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 19
HOTELS
OCTOBER 2 ND FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Winds of change
TRAVTALK
19
Hotel bookings made easy
Puneet Singh, General Manager, Kempinski Ambience Global Destinations is now offering another product Hotel Delhi, talks about the USPs of the hotel and Ezeerooms.com. It is a global reservation portal
shifting trends in Indian hospitality.
dedicated to hotel bookings with a consolidated inventory.
T T B U R E AU
How has Kempinski
Ambience been doing?
Kempinski Ambience
Hotel, being the first managed
property for Kempinski in
India, has established itself as
the leading European luxury
brand in Delhi. Our prime
focus is MICE, as 70% of our
business is from residential
conferences. Large weddings
(residential or non-residential)
is another area that we have
created a niche in.
Has the hospitality sector improved/changed?
As more and more hotels
open in Delhi NCR, the hospitality sector is seeing a sea
change. People have started
visiting luxury hotels for short
breaks or for dining. This change
is due to nuclear and doubleincome families. The culture of
weekend stays or small vacations, or even just a night-out, is
catching up. The growing middle-class is driving this change.
What about
facilities?
MICE
People have started to
visit luxury hotels, for short
breaks or for dining. This
change is due to nuclear
families and double-income
families.
Puneet Singh
General Manager
Kempinski Ambience
Hotel Delhi
Our key USP is our
25,000 sq feet pillarless ballroom and over 70,000 sq feet
of meeting spaces with 480
rooms to offer for a conference, convention, exhibition
or wedding. We are equipped
to cater to all requirements
from a dinner for two, to a
gathering of 6,000 people.
What kind of competition do you face?
Significant increase in
supply, and not-so-robust
increase in demand, has put
extreme pressure on prices. It
is great news for the consumer; however, it is creating
thinner bottom lines for hotels
and restaurants. Having said
that, clients who understand
quality and service are less
price-sensitive,
however
expect value for their money
spent. We are not immune to
these pressures; however, we
emphasise on our brand service values, as well as key
USPs, which none other can
offer in the Delhi NCR region.
T T B U R E AU
ith a new client added to
its portfolio, Global
Destinations is soon becoming
a single-stop shop for agents.
Ezeerooms.com is a global
reservation portal dedicated
purely to hotel bookings with a
huge consolidated inventory
and a unique service profile.
W
Pranav
Kapadia,
Founder and Director of Global
Destinations, says, “The portal
has over 300,000 hotels across
11,000 destinations worldwide
– and still expanding! From
leisure holiday accommodation
packages to cost-effective corporate accommodation services, it offers hotel-booking solutions to suit all budgetary
needs. With cutting-edge technology
and
expertise,
Ezeerooms.com promises to
make the hotel booking procedure hassle-free for agents.”
What are the occupancies?
The next few months are
looking much better with
winters setting in and the international movement starting in
the city.
Global Destinations is
responsible for sales and marketing of the portal among the
Indian travel fraternity. “Our
travel partners are trained on
the system and given log-in
access to the system so they
can make bookings independently. We believe that this product has a huge potential as
as Fiji continues to remain popular among Indian honeymooners and FIT clients,”
Kapadia adds.
For the first time, we
conducted a webinar and
trained about 600 travel
agents and tour operators
across India on Fiji.
Pranav Kapadia
Founder and Director
Global Destinations
online booking is emerging to
be one of the most preferred
booking tools,” he adds.
Tourism Fiji
Tourism Fiji witnessed a
30 per cent increase in visitor
arrivals from India in 2013
through Global Destinations.
“We are expecting a similar
growth for 2014. The year so
far has been very successful
The company is conducting various B2B initiatives in
India to promote Fiji as a preferred holiday destination.
Tourism Fiji’s trade focussed
activities include the annual
multi-city roadshow, trade exhibitions, sales visits and trainings. “For the first time, we conducted a webinar and trained
about 600 agents across India
on Fiji,” he reveals.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 20
20 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
Pitching in for a
social cause
Shangri-La’s – Eros
Hotel, New Delhi in association with Noida Deaf
Society celebrated Embrace
– Shangri-La’s Care for
People Project over High
Tea on Monday, September
29, 2014 at Shangri-La
Ballroom. The Noida Deaf
Society (NDS) is committed
to reintegrating the hearing
impaired into mainstream
society through life skills
and children’s education.
Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel,
New Delhi, has been working with NDS and hiring ten
students from every batch
who have been trained in
hospitality divisions such as
concierge, laundry, housekeeping and security, before
they commence their
internship at the hotel.
Farhat Jamal, Area
Manager and General
Manager – Shangri-La’s –
Eros Hotel, New Delhi
addressed the distinguished
audience and gave an introduction about Shangri-La’s
association with Noida Deaf
Society since 2010 along
with Dhiraj Bhushan,
Director
of
Human
Resources. This was followed by an introduction to
the Noida Deaf Society by
Ruma Roka, General
Secretary and Founder,
NDS.
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Business is built on relationships
This is still the norm in India as against the cut-and-dried online bookings in the West. Just
over a year old, DoubleTree by Hilton Pune believes in nurturing relationships – not just with
guests, but with agents as well.
T T B U R E AU
et in the heart of Pimpri
Chinchwad, DoubleTree by
Hilton Hotel Pune is located in
the heart of the city’s automo-
S
Sahdev Mehta, its General
Manager, believes that business in India is built on relationships. “This is why it is
important to nurture them. We
have a relationship with all our
Most of our business comes
from Gurgaon, Chennai,
Bengaluru and Mumbai. We
have a relationship with all
our agents and continue to
develop it
Sahdev Mehta
General Manager
DoubleTree by Hilton Pune
bile and industrial belt with easy
access to business districts
such as Chakan, Hinjewadi IT
Park and Talegaon.
This 115-room hotel,
that includes six suites and
one Presidential suite, sells
mostly through online travel
agencies and travel agents.
agents and continue to develop it,” he says.
The hotel conducts events
like Agent Nights and familiarisation trips for them regularly.
Mehta adds, “Most of our business comes from Gurgaon,
Chennai, Bengaluru and
Mumbai. Since we also do a lot
of direct marketing, the agents’
clients ask to book with us.”
Corporates reign
The hotel mostly receives
corporates during the week and
leisure guests over the weekends. “MICE has been picking
up well specially after we
opened our new banquet hall
two months ago that accommodates 200 pax. We are now getting ready to open our second
and bigger banquet hall by
November-end, that will be able
to fit in 700 pax,” the GM reveals.
He adds that the hotel
receives a lot of MICE guests
because of its five F&B
outlets. “We are also the only
hotel in Pune that has an
authentic Japanese restaurant
– Miyuki – with a Japanese chef
and staff. Miyuki is a well-known
Japanese chain of restaurants,”
he says.
Mehta expect MICE contributions to touch almost 26
per cent of their total business
by 2015, especially with the
new banquet halls.
Indian quirks
Speaking about the
Indian market, Mehta says that
Indians love a cheap deal.
“They are also tech-savvy and
well-travelled, making them
smart travellers. They understand good service. It all
depends on how you position
yourself. It’s not rocket science,”
he adds.
He is upbeat about the
tourist VoA scheme that the
new government has introduced, but feels that it should
be executed well and quickly. “This will definitely boost
inbound travel, which in turn
will help our industry.
Another trend is going
online. The entire Western
world has done this, but
India still depends on relationships. Having said that,
it is not too far when the
country will also get online.
Those who invest in the
online space now will turn
out to be the winners in the
next three-four years,”
he adds.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 21
HOTELS
Aiming for international markets
The Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka has its strong suite in hosting
MICE and events, and is well-connected to the city. Now, it is aiming to
make a mark in international markets.
T T B U R E AU
estled in Dwarka, the
hotel is in close proximity to the domestic and international airports and is just few
minutes away from the Sector
“N
dings,” Munish Bhatia, the
hotel’s Director of Sales &
Marketing, says.
The meeting, event and
social celebration spaces offer
versatility, elegance and state-
We do have a strong relationship with agents within the
domestic market. The emphasis will be to start covering
international markets
Munish Bhatia
Director of Sales & Marketing,
Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka
13 Metro station, connecting
the guests to the pulse of New
Delhi. Radisson Blu Hotel New
Delhi Dwarka boasts of 25,000
sq ft of convention space which
is perfect for meetings, exhibitions, conferences and wed-
of-the-art technology that can
cater to 50-1000 guests. For
example, the hotel boasts of a
pillarless grand ballroom that
may be used individually or
combined to accommodate
events of 75 to 1000 guests.
Plus, Radisson Blu Hotel
New Delhi Dwarka also has an
open terrace lounge with
attached party hall that can
accommodate 150-200 guests.
Commenting on the
growth that the hotel have
witnessed so far, Bhatia says,
“The hotel has been a
market leader within its
compset by sustaining its
leading MPI and RGI ranking.
As of now, we want to maintain our existing ranking.”
The hotel features 209
well-appointed guest rooms
including executive suites and
a spacious presidential suite.
The hotel also offers eclectic
dining options from Pan-Asian
cuisine to vibrant international
cuisine. On working with travel
agents and tour operators, he
says, “We do have a strong
relationship with agents
within the domestic market.
The emphasis will be to
start covering some key
international markets.”
Experience Balinese hospitality
Located in the spiritually charged village of Sanur, Mahagiri Villas is hopeful of
attracting more and more Indian holidaymakers after a successful roadshow
organised by PACTO in Indonesia; and OTOAI in Mumbai and Delhi recently.
T T B U R E AU
ven though the biggest
markets for Mahagiri Villas
Sanur, Indonesia are Europe
with 41 per cent of its guests
from across the continent, followed by Australia at 28 per
cent, India has huge potential.
E
We had a very good
response at the roadshow.
We are now offering special
packages to certain
bonafide travel agents.
Agus Suardana
Agus Suardana, its GM,
shares some figures with us.
“Up to August 2014, almost 4.5
per cent of our guests were
from India. This figure is an
increase from just 0.5 per cent
last year in 2013. This shows
that the Indian leisure market
has great potential. India’s population is second only to China.
Its economic rating is getting
better, with more people being
able to afford international travel. We can see big potential
from Indian market for
Indonesia, Bali and of course,
Mahagiri Villas Sanur, so much
so that we are expecting to see
Special offer for agents
Mahagiri Villas Sanur is
extending some special
honeymoon and couples
package for agents. It will offer
industry rates, which is 20 per
cent discount off the rack rates
GM, Mahagiri Villas Sanur
Indonesia
ings and weddings as of
now,” he says.
Mahagiri Villas Sanur is a
complex of 18 luxury villas
designed to capture the
essence of a traditional
Balinese community. The villas
are a well-balanced fusion of
island artistry and elegance.
Each villa has its own private
pool, a garden and complete
facilities including beach club
with a drop and pick up service.
an increment of 12 per cent
this year,” he reveals.
Suardana is just back
from attending a roadshow
organised by PACTO and
OTOAI in Mumbai and Delhi.
“We had a very good response
at the roadshow. We are now
offering special packages to certain bonafide travel agents. This
roadshow will now be conducted every year, visiting different
cities in India and through this,
we can strengthen our relationship with Indian agents as well
as update the product knowledge of our partners here,”
Suardana said.
Speaking about what
Indian travellers usually look
for, he says that shopping,
nightlife, beach, easy access
to tourist attractions and
Indian food are their priorities.
“But topping this is the price!”
he exclaims. The hotel is
tapping leisure and honeymooners as of now. “Due to
the size of our property, we
are doing only board meet-
Touching on some of the
USPs of the property, Suardana
adds, “We have traditional
Balinese dance performance
at our restaurant every
Wednesday and Saturday while
the spa has their signature treatment, bamboo and healing
stone therapy.”
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 22
22 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
Starwood to
relocate global
HQ to India for
a month
Starwood
Hotels &
Resorts
Worldwide,
announced to relocate its
global headquarters from
the United States to India in
March 2015 for a monthlong immersion. Frits Van
Paasschen, President and
CEO, Starwood and the
company’s top executives
will split their time between
Mumbai
and
Delhi.
Following the company’s
successful relocations to
China in 2011 and Dubai in
2013, this third leadership
move
underscores
Starwood’s
unique
approach to cultivating a
global culture and fostering
relationships in key growth
markets.
“Rapidly growing markets and a more interconnected world are bringing
high-end travelers to new
markets like never before,”
said Van Paasschen. This is
a particularly exciting time
for us to relocate to India.
Its renewed focus on travel
infrastructure is much
needed, as travel demand is
fueled by economic growth
and a population expected
to overtake China by 2030.”
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Focussing on REVPAR in Gurgaon
Hotels in and around Gurgaon, the ‘Millennium City’, face the problem of plenty on the supply
side. Unfortunately, it is pulling the overall REVPAR down. In this day and age, customer
satisfaction is the only key, says Kanika Hasrat, GM, Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon.
T T B U R E AU
urgaon has been an
extremely competitive as
well as most promising market
for hotel industry with additional branded inventory coming in
every year. The growth of
hotels in Gurgaon now spans
across Manesar, Bhiwadi,
Sohna and the extremes of
Udyog Vihar. However it is still
considered one of the top 5
business cities in India in terms
of hotel occupancies. It is constantly attracting major
investors and buyers, almost
all the hotels want a representation in 'The Millennium City'.
G
As per the Horwath India
Hotel Review Report – H1
2014 ‘Rates are under pressure in Gurgaon, impacted by
the new Aerocity supply however occupancy in the first half
of 2014 grew smartly by 4.2
points thereby containing
RevPAR decline to 1.5%. This
trend may likely continue for
the next 12-18 months as substantial new supply opens at
Aerocity, across multiple segments; besides, new hotels
closer to industrial zones along
NH8 (such as at Bhiwadi) will
dilute demand that has hitherto
been served by Gurgaon
hotels.’ To ensure that the focus
on REVPAR is maintained,
hotels are focussed on demand
periods and MICE. The travel
trade’s demand over the weekends is also on the rise.
At Courtyard by Marriott,
Gurgaon, we focus on building
guest loyalty and ensure that
our customers think ‘only about
us’. A very strong long-stay
focus, along with flexibility and
a sales drive, has made us
extremely successful as a
hotel. Generating greater revenue is surely a focus, but we
never keep customer satisfaction at stake. In the present
scenario of cut-throat competition, customer satisfaction is
the only key to success.
Another factor is the role
of service quality in the success of hotel businesses that
Resonating in the idea of
providing the experiential
hospitality, we ensure
guest satisfaction which
creates customer’s loyal
behaviour over the
period of time
Kanika Hasrat
GM, Courtyard by Marriott Gurgaon
plays a significant role. It is vital
for the hotel managers to have
a good understanding on what
exactly the guests want, identifying their specific expectations, the dimensions of the
service quality, and their relative importance. Customer satisfaction rests on several pillars
of tangible and intangible variables that further reinforce customer loyalty. Resonating in the
idea of providing the experiential hospitality, we ensure guest
satisfaction which creates customer’s loyal behaviour over
the period of time. Our services
extend to all the three stages
of the guest association with
the hotel starting from PreArrival stage, Guest In House
stage, and Post-Stay stage giving them a distinct experience.
Starting as a function to
cater to the business traveller,
Gurgaon has become a dense
jungle in terms of MICE offerings. With much competition,
it’s about who is a step ahead.
With a profusion of people travelling for professional affairs,
MICE has become an essential function, not only for the
hospitality industry, but business-oriented cities too. Our
events team offer tailor-made
event and meeting solutions to
our guests who are pillars of
our strength. We are soon
coming up with a new banquet
space. Whatever the meeting
size, large or small, a banquet
offers the most appropriate
space and amenities. State-ofthe-art equipment coupled with
unobtrusive service and professional expertise will ensure
a memorable experience.
Businesses that excel in
customer retention are usually
positioned for long-term success and possess a far greater
competitive edge over their
competitors.
New Arena
N
MICE has become an
essential function, not
only for the hospitality
industry, but businessoriented cities too
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 23
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 24
24 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
ND
HOTELS
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
When happiness lies in repeat clients
Rishi Puri, Vice President, Lords Hotels & Resorts, explains how the group drives repeat clients and happy guests
by following the principle of ‘Exhilarating Hospitality’. A few excerpts:
T T B U R E AU
Lords, as a group, is primarily
focussing on mid-market section and
specialising in Tier II & Tier III cities.
Hence, the hotels within the chain have
reasonably good occupancies. Lords
believes in operating on its set principle
‘True Value Hotels’ so that its guests get
value for money. We also ensure that
we live up to our principle of
‘Exhilarating Hospitality’ which gets us
repeat clients and happy guests. We
have not only added value to the
existing hotels, but also simultaneously
ensured that we add more hotels to
the portfolio.
in years to come, would see a paradigm shift in the way a traditional
hotel is looked at or run. The hotels
now have become more conscious in
lean and multi-skilled manpower. The
e-revolution has seen hotels improving their occupancy and traditional
sales shifting from personal visits to
e-sales. The onset of GDS and OTAs
ensured that hotels got more involved
in e -marketing on various channels
and also understand the importance
of social media in creating reputation
for hotels. Smarter technology has
ensured better command over
human management and also energy usage. With new chains and fresh
ideas, the industry definitely is a
more focused place to work in.
Has the hospitality sector has
improved/ changed?
What kind of competition do
you face?
The hotel industry, in the last
few years, has come a long way and
The competition is normally on
many fronts from new chains, fresh
How has Lords Hotels &
Resorts been doing?
inventories coming to city and also
from HR and training fronts.
Competition today is to get better
occupancies within group hotels and
to be top performers.
What are occupancies like?
Occupancies in most cities took
a hit and saw hotels shift to REVPAR
mode. Cities in non-metros did better
as they were able to maintain a decent
stand point. Today’s average occupancy stands anywhere between 55-65
per cent depending on city and also
the competition there.
What are the MICE facilities
that you provide?
Lords has always been keen to
work with partner hotels where
MICE facilities exist. As a result, wehave
a conference hall and also meeting
rooms in most of our locationsincluding
religious circuits. This has helped boost
Lords believes in operating on its set principle ‘True Value Hotels’ so that its
guests get value for money. We also
ensure that we live up to our principle
of ‘Exhilarating Hospitality’ which gets
us repeat clients
Rishi Puri
Vice President
Lords Hotels & Resorts
both top & bottom line and also ensured
better performance in rooms and
F&B Division.
Will Visa-on-Arrival will help
boost tourism?
With this facility, which is likely to
be implemented in the coming October,
necessary infrastructure will get in
place. The liberalised visa policy can
definitely help improving tourism to
India as the nation offers everything
from deserts to evergreen forests,
beaches to snow-clad mountains,
ancient historical sites and pilgrim centres to modern-day urban hotspots.
Keeping Rajasthani heritage alive
Having been able to preserve a royal background and a regal ambience, Ranbanka Palace finds itself ahead of
most of the modern properties in Jodhpur, in showcasing the unique Rajasthani heritage to its guests.
T T B U R E AU
ince the hotel became
operational, Ranbanka
Palace has catered to the
leisure segment with more
than 70 per cent of the business coming from foreign
tourists travelling to Jodhpur.
The experience of staying in an
authentic royal palace is an
attractive appeal not just for the
foreigners but for the domestic
travellers as well. Over the last
few years, Ranbanka Palace
has established itself as a wedding destination in India.
have entered India. This has
resulted in an improvement in
the standard of service and
facilities available today not just
in the luxury segments but in
the mid-market segment as
well as the budget segment.
They have also brought with
them international standards
and technological expertise to
upgrade the hotels to meet the
requirements of the inbound
traveller. The marketing and
distribution reach of these
brands have also helped bring
in more tourists and business
travellers to India.”
Sandeep Batra, General
Manager, Ranbanka Palace
says, “Over the last decade,
the hospitality sector has seen
a growth in terms of number of
international brands which
Jodhpur, as a destination, is growing not just in the
leisure segment but also as a
wedding destination. “The
growth of industries and manufacturing units close to
S
We have always believed in staying ahead of
the competition by offering a unique product
and service to our guests
and ensuring that the royal
experience is truly memorable for our guests
Sandeep Batra
General Manager
Ranbanka Palace
Jodhpur has also opened up
opportunities for business travellers to visit Jodhpur. Looking
at this growth, a number of
hotels have opened up recently
like the Fern Residency and
Mango Hotels as well as smaller hotels. In the coming years,
hotels like Lords Plaza and
Fairfield Inn by Marriott are
also expected to start operations. This competition will further enhance the standard of
hotels that are available in
Jodhpur and will benefit the
consumers.”
He says that a healthy
competition is important in
ensuring that hotels constantly
upgrade their facilities and services through regular refurbishment programmes as well as
training programmes for their
staff. “We have always believed
in staying ahead of the competition by offering a unique product and service to our guests
and ensuring that the royal
experience we provide is truly
memorable for our guests,”
he says.
Jodhpur is a seasonal
destination which results in
fluctuating
occupancies
from April to September
and October to March. The
city
average
in
the
summer comes down to
25-30 per cent occupancies
while in the winter season
it touches around 50-60
per cent.
In terms of facilities for
MICE, the property also has
a large lawn which is its
centerpiece.
“We have a conference
hall which can accommodate
up to 80 participants for small
meetings, trainings and seminars. We also host a number
of banquet functions in the
lawn as well as the main
courtyard for birthday parties,
anniversary celebrations
and other social get together.
We have also organised product launches or displays
for cars as well as press
conferences for product
launches,” he says.
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:55 PM Page 25
FINAL_Hotels Talk-October-2nd:TT Layout 10/17/2014 2:56 PM Page 26
26 TRAVTALK OCTOBER 2
MP’s Taj
safari camps
to open from
Oct 16
Taj Hotels’ four luxury
safari camps in Madhya
Pradesh will open on 16
October, 2014 offering a
series of wildlife activities
in the nearby national parks
and forests.
These four national
parks form Madhya
Pradesh’s ‘tiger
circuit’ give an
opportunity for
guests at the safari
camps to take
drive into the
jungle and catch a
glimpse of the
wildlife.
Meanwhile, another
Indian adventure activity
has opened for the winter.
The white water rafting
season on the Ganges River
has opened again in
Uttarakhand. The upper
valley tributaries of the
Ganges, the Alaknanda and
the Bhagirathi, meet at
Devprayag to form a 35km
stretch of river which is
ideal for white water
rafting.
ND
GUEST COLUMN
FORTNIGHT ISSUE 2014
Multiplicity of taxes a huge roadblock
Business in the hotel industry has picked up in the last few months. Though it is marginal, but
the trends are positive. UK, USA and Germany account for as much as 50-60% of business
in premium hotels in India and they still have not fully recovered from their economic crisis.
But the MICE segment, corporate business and domestic tourism is contributing a large
percentage of business in hotel industry.
ow, the lead time of the
business is drastically
changed from 2-3 week in
advance to 2-3 days in
advance now. In my opinion,
most of the credit of this goes
to Internet. Travellers can now
easily check the pricing and
availability on internet for the
desired destinations and
hotels. The last minute deals
N
Taxing Times
N
N
The luxury tax for the
hospitality industry was
imposed on a state level to
generate a new source of
revenue for the government
As the name suggests,
the tax is charged for
the ‘luxury provided in
hotels,’ which includes
accommodation and other
services like laundry,
telephone, internet, music
and extra beds
Tourism in India is a highlytaxed industry, which
makes India expensive as a
tourist destination. This is
affecting the growth of the
industry in India
Sanzeev Bhatia
General Manager
The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa
(1 to 2 days in advance) in
hotels are more attractive than
the early bird deals (1 week to
3 weeks in advance).
Talent management is a
major challenge for the sector.
Inadequate supply of quality
talent and increased competition for talent within the sector
and from competing service
sectors has made attrition a
significant issue for the indus-
try. Long term prospects for the
hotel industry seem promising. The Visa-on-Arrival
scheme of Government of
India will surely bring
better results.
Multiplication of taxes
is becoming troublesome.
Now even tips are to be taxed
as we have to keep a track of
who gets the tips and deduct
taxes thereon. Travel and
Tourism in India is a hightaxed industry, which makes
India expensive as a tourist
destination. This is affecting
the growth of the industry in
India and the country is losing
out to other low-cost destinations.
Inbound
tourism is the
one
most
affected.
The luxury
tax
for the hospitality industry was
imposed on a state level to
generate a new source of revenue for the government. As
the name suggests, the tax is
charged for the ‘luxury provided in hotels,’ which includes
accommodation and other
services like laundry, telephone, internet, music and
extra beds. Food and
beverage
items
are
charged separately. Since luxury tax is completely a state directive, the hotel industry
has no control over it.
Guests are often confused
by the different tax rates, while
travelling. In this case, a uniform tax pattern can help to
tackle the problem effectively,
for both the industry and its
clientele."
(The writer is Sanzeev Bhatia,
General Manager, The Metropolitan
Hotel & Spa)
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