Anil Mohan

Ascott launches 269-unit Citadines OMR Chennai

The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has announced the opening of its first Citadines-branded serviced residence in the city – Citadines OMR Chennai. The 269-unit Apart’hotel is located in Sholinganallur and is wholly owned and managed by Ascott. Speaking at the launch, Tony Soh, Ascott’s Chief Corporate Officer and MD for India, said, “India will be a key market and a vital part of Ascott’s global expansion to achieve our target of 80,000 apartment units by 2020. India continues to be an attractive destination for foreign direct investment, with a record $46 billion being invested in the country in 2016. Foreign tourist arrivals are also on an upturn, as India saw 8.9 million in arrivals in 2016 – a growth of 10.7 per cent from the previous year. India’s fast-growing economy, increasing visitor arrivals and rising affluence present immense opportunities for international hospitality companies like Ascott. With the increase in business activities and tourist arrivals, Ascott foresees a growing demand for premium serviced residences in India. Our strategy for India is to expand in high-growth cities where there is strong demand for international-class serviced residences from expatriates, project teams and business travellers. We will establish more strategic alliances and seek investment opportunities as well as management contracts.” Ajit Koushik, Ascott’s Area General Manager for India, said, “With the launch of Citadines OMR Chennai, Ascott now has two operating serviced residences in India. Ascott also has six properties with over 900 units in various stages of development in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Sri City. We are also seeking opportunities in key business cities including Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune.” Citadines OMR Chennai is strategically located along Rajiv Gandhi Salai, more popularly known …

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68-room Seyfert Sarovar Portico, Dehradun opens

Sarovar Hotels has announced the launch of Seyfert Sarovar Portico, Dehradun. The hotel was inaugurated by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat in the presence of Ajay K. Bakaya, Executive Director, Sarovar Hotels and Rahul Saxena, General Manager, Seyfert Sarovar Portico, Dehradun. Seyfert Sarovar Portico, Dehradun, has 68 spacious and well-appointed rooms offering modern amenities and personalized service. The hotel offers state-of-the-art business and conferencing facilities, in-room dining, fitness centre, swimming pool, and all day dining multi-cuisine restaurant. With excellent settings, unmatched F&B offerings and seamless service, it is also the perfect venue to host social events. Speaking on the occasion, Rawat said, “I am very glad to inaugurate this hotel that brings a new level of hospitality services to our city. Dehradun is the gateway to numerous pilgrimage and tourist destinations in the upper and lower Himalayas, and I believe this hotel will be immensely beneficial to people travelling through this route as well as to the locals here with the excellent F&B and banquet services on offer.” Commenting on the launch, Bakaya said, “We are glad to be expanding our presence to yet another popular destination in Uttarakhand. With our immense focus on providing quality accommodation and services at the best rates, we hope to ensure a pleasant stay for all our guests travelling to this region. The hotel brings to the city exceptional facilities and houses the largest banquet in the city in terms of capacity and size covering 10,000 square feet.” Located close to Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, bus stand and railway station, the hotel is conveniently accessible to guests. The hotel also brings the choicest of culinary delights to its guests at Café Travertine, an all-day …

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GPS mobile App goes live

The Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) show, India’s first travel show that focuses on the potential of Central India organised by Nagpur-based Jagsons Travels, has launched a mobile application. Harmandeep Singh Anand, Managing Director, Jagsons Travels, says, “We are probably the first company in India to launch an exclusive B2B application for a travel show. It is live now and we are working towards making it a marketplace for GPS participants. It is available on iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows platforms.” GPS will now be travelling to four cities of Ahmedabad (July 13-15), Chandigarh (July 20-22), Kolkata (July 27-29) and Coimbatore (August 3-5) with a week-s interval between the cities. The first day will be dedicated to presentations for the local travel trade and the following two days will be for B2B meetings.

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AI to resume Delhi-Surat service from June 2

Air India will restart its daily services from Delhi to Surat from June 2, almost five months after the operations were curtailed due to lack of aircraft. The one way flight from Delhi-Surat costs around Rs. 4216. Currently, Air India operates five times a week with its regional jet, CRJ-700. According to the airline, the move came in a bid to enhance connectivity and was driven by growing air travel demand on the route. Until now, the flight operated five days a week — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Starting June 2, it will operate on Thursday and Sunday, revealed a statement by Air India. The new addition will provide seamless connectivity between two business cities besides offering convenient connections to other international flights from/to Delhi. The flight will depart on Thursday and Sunday from Delhi at 0525 hours and will arrive in Surat at 0745 hours. The return flight will leave Surat at 0825 hours and touchdown in Delhi at 1110 hours.

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ITDC profits for 4th consecutive year

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has recorded a turnover of Rs 465.69 crores whereas, Profit Before Tax (PBT) stood at Rs 32.42 crores and Profit After Tax (PAT) was recorded at Rs 22.55 crores. It was the fourth consecutive year that ITDC posted profit. Speaking on the occasion Umang Narula, IAS, Chairman & Managing Director, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), said “FY 2015-16 has been a motivating year for ITDC. The profit is the result of several proactive initiatives taken by the organization to improve productivity and efficiency at the beginning of the year. The organisation took all necessary steps to keep the operational cost under control and to ensure that every division endeavours towards the profit making journey of the organisation.” The Hotels Division, Ashok International Trade division and Ashok events division of ITDC were other contributors to the profit for FY 2015-16. All three Delhi based hotels: The Ashok, Samrat and Janpath showed very good performance and clocked net profits. Hotel Patliputra Ashok, Patna and Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore also made profit. Other hotels of the Corporation also showed improved performance during the year.

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MTDC wooing IT professionals

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is offering various tourism services to Infosys employees in Pune at concessional basis. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated this first-of-its-kind project, MTDC’s Tourism Pavilion at Infosys in Pune. Valsa Nair Singh, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, said, “Over 40,000 IT employees work in this campus and this pavilion will provide various tourism-related services under the banner of MTDC, to them on a concessional basis. We plan to provide one-two day short tours on every weekend, special heritage tours, souvenir shop, air tickets, train tickets, passport and visa facilities, adventure tours, all kinds of travel kits, a travel lounge area, selfie point and an experience to wear various Maharashtrian traditional costumes. We can provide bookings for amusement parks, hot air balloon rides, MTDC-backed Asia’s first scuba diving institute (PADI), jungle safaris, the luxury heritage train Deccan Odyssey, Helicopter rides in Mumbai and the opportunity to experience festivals.” Paraag Jaiin Nainuttia, IAS, Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation highlighted “Sixty per cent of employee strength is not from Maharashtra. We found an opportunity to introduce those to one of the great states of our country. Our aim is to provide them the best tourism facilities. MTDC has already invested around Rs 25 lac to set up this infrastructure.”

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24% rise in Indian arrivals to Philippines in Q1 2016

The Philippines recorded 22,121 Indian tourist arrivals during January-March, 2016, indicating an increase of 23.7 per cent, over the same period last year. As per reports, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines has confirmed that there were 6,943 Indian visitor arrivals in March 2016, registering a growth of 8.23 per cent over March 2015. SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India, has attributed the growth to DOT’s continuous efforts to promote the various attractions of the Philippines under the ongoing Visit the Philippines Again (VPA) 2016 campaign. He said that the Philippines expects to maintain a healthy growth through the rest of the year and hopes to close the year with 25 per cent growth.

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Air Manas’ 3rd Delhi-Bishkek flight from June 14

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) based low-cost airline, Air Manas, formerly operating as Pegasus Asia, is all set to start its third flight on the Delhi-Bishkek route from June 14. The airline already has two flights a week to-and-fro from Delhi to Bishkek. The return fare for the Delhi-Bishkek route is around $249.99. The airline just conducted a roadshow in Delhi along with the Kyrgyzstan Embassy. Sharad C. Goel, MD, Lark Logistics, GSA of Air Manas in India, said, “Air Manas has been operating in India for the last one year. We will be starting the third flight between the two countries from June 14, 2016. The demand from India has been increasing for Kyrgyzstan, which is only about three hours from Delhi. In fact we provide further connections to Moscow and Istanbul from Bishkek, which works to our advantage.”

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22% rise in India’s domestic air traffic

India’s domestic traffic soared 21.8 per cent, marking the 20th month of double-digit traffic growth and the 13th consecutive month it has led the domestic markets. Growth is being propelled by the comparatively strong economic backdrop as well as by substantial increases in service frequencies, according to International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) global passenger traffic data for April. Demand for domestic travel climbed 4.1 per cent in April compared to April 2015, while capacity increased 3.8 per cent, causing load factor to rise 0.3 percentage points to 81.4 per cent. All markets reported demand increases with the exception of Brazil, which showed a 12.1 per cent decline, reflecting the country’s ongoing economic recession and political turmoil.  

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0.5% Krishi Kalyan Cess leviable from June 1

A new tax called Krishi Kalyan Cess (KKC) will be levied at 0.5% on all taxable value of services with effect from June 1, 2016. Just like Swachh Bharat Cess (SBC), KKC shall be chargeable on the value of services and not on service tax. This means that along with 0.5% of KKC the effective service tax rate will become 15% on taxable service. The Krishi Kalyan Cess will not be leviable on services which are exempt from levy of Service tax as well as on services on which service tax is not leviable. In case there is any abatement or partial exemption available to a service, KKC shall be leviable on such amount which is arrived after deduction of said abatement or partial exemption. Service tax, SBC and KKC will have to be shown separately on the invoice. Separate accounting codes for payment of KKC will be released The central government seeks to levy and recover KKC @0.5% on value of outstanding amounts as on June 1, 2016. TAAI has advised all its members to collect their outstanding dues from their clients at the earliest and latest by May 31, 2016 to avoid recovery of additional 0.5% of KKC.

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