Tourism Breaking News

71% of Indians are willing to share personal information for travel recommendations

With regard to the personalisation-privacy paradox, 64 per cent of Asia Pacific travellers interviewed are open to sharing personal data for more relevant offers and personalised experiences, according to Amadeus’ Journey of Me Insights report. Somewhat more cautious, 71 per cent of Indian travellers feel the same. In the face of rising privacy concerns, some boundaries must be maintained and at all times travel providers must respect and protect personal data and the need for privacy. And above and beyond adhering to legislation, travel players must be able to articulate ‘what’s the value?’ to get travellers to share their data. From when and how Indian travellers plan and book their trips, to how and why they want to stay connected while travelling, to how frequently they use sharing economy services, and the types of new technologies they would be most interested in, the study takes a multi-faceted look at what Indian travellers want.

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India moves 12 places up in global travel and tourism ranking in 2017

India has improved 12 places to reach the 40th position globally, according to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 by World Economic Forum. The country has seen continued growth in international arrivals over the past 15 years, reaching the 8 million mark in 2015. India continues to charm international tourists with its vast cultural and natural resources (9th and 24th, respectively), and its price competitiveness advantage (10th). India continues to enrich its cultural resources, protecting more cultural sites and intangible expressions through UNESCO World Heritage lists, and via a greater digital presence. International openness (55th, up 14 places), through stronger visa policies implementing both visas on arrival and e-visas, has enabled India to rise through the ranks. The T&T sector benefited from improvements in the country’s ground transport infrastructure, which has traditionally been a challenge (29th). Health conditions are improving, though they remain inadequate (104th). Similarly, ICT readiness (112th), security concerns (114th) and human resources (87th) are improving, but remain weak. While further improvements are needed across these dimensions, India is taking small but important steps in the right direction. The T&T sector presents significant opportunities that are yet to be reaped, especially in the provision of tourist service infrastructure (110th), and in terms of additional accommodation capacity and entertainment facilities.

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Use PhonePe to pay for Goibibo bookings

Goibibo has announced its partnership with PhonePe, a digital payments start-up, to provide a unified login and payments experience to over 100 million PhonePe users while making their hotel bookings. As a part of this partnership, Goibibo will be live with their ‘Hotels’ store (microapp) on the PhonePe app. Leveraging mutual synergies, the alliance brings together a streamlined travel booking experience through Goibibo, and assured reliability and integrity of payments through PhonePe. In an industry first, PhonePe users will also be able to use their goCash balance (Goibibo’s promotional currency) in the PhonePe app to book domestic and international hotels. Commenting on the partnership, Sanjay Bhasin, COO, Goibibo said, “This partnership will extend Goibibo’s extensive selection of over 50,000 domestic hotels and homestays, including Goibibo certified goStays and half a million international hotels to PhonePe’s growing customer base. PhonePe has taken a unique approach to solve digital payments, and their open ecosystem allows us to build the Goibibo experience into their app and engage with a wider user base on their platform.” Rahul Chari, Co-founder & CTO, PhonePe said, “With this partnership, Indian travellers can easily and conveniently make hotel bookings within their PhonePe app. The microapp storefront was built by GoIbibo in just three weeks, which is testimony to how simple it is to build out a merchant experience on PhonePe.”

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40-room Cygnett Inn Duvvada opens doors in Vizag

Cygnett Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of Cygnett Inn Duvvada. The budget hotel features 40 guest rooms and suites with modern interiors, stylish furnishings and spacious event and banquet space. The hotel also adds ease to those travelling to the city as it is conveniently located close to the airport, railway station, and famous tourist attractions. As one steps outside, there is a fitness centre, a business centre and one of three banquet halls to choose from which are segregated among the lobby and the first floors. Pavilion is a one-stop destination to relish in the hotel’s delicacies. Sarbendra Sarkar, Founder and Managing Director, Cygnett Hotels and Resorts, said, “While it cannot be ignored that finances, proper pricing and timed positioning of one’s brand are important aspects for any business to cater to, it is essential that we, at Cygnett always prioritises on giving our guests an experience which hopefully they will remember for life!”

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PATA adventure travel to be held in Rishikesh from February 13-15, 2019

More than 300 foreign delegates are expected to participate in the PATA adventure travel conference, to be held in Rishikesh from February 13-15, 2019, a senior official said. PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2019 (ATRTCM) would be hosted by the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board. “Uttarakhand won bid this time. The travel mart is a better way of showcasing the state to international clients,” said Dilip Jawalkar, Secretary, Uttarakhand Tourism. The event, that brings together public and private sector players involved in the adventure tourism, would be held from Responding to a query on whether there was any financial bidding for hosting the event, he replied in the negative. “One has to commit tourist facilities for visiting travel agents like accommodation, transportation, site seeing, etc.” he added. This year, the conference was held in Abu Dhabi.

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IndiGo to connect Lucknow to Pune and Goa from July

Marking a milestone of being the first airline to launch Lucknow-Goa and Lucknow-Pune sectors to its network, IndiGo has announced the introduction of its maiden flights effective July 2018. IndiGo will operate a daily non-stop flight between Lucknow-Goa-Lucknow and Lucknow-Pune-Lucknow respectively. Continuing the low-cost carrier’s expansion in the domestic skies, IndiGo’s average daily departures will now be 25 flights out of Lucknow to 13 destinations. The introduction of these flights will further strengthen the airline’s operations, and will provide enhanced connectivity between Lucknow and other key cities with all-inclusive fares starting from Rs 3999. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to announce the launch of these two sectors from Lucknow, which will further provide more flexibility of choice to our customers. We are providing affordable fares on these new routes for 6E travellers. It is our constant endeavour to provide the best travel experience to our customers, as IndiGo continues to offer them on-time, courteous and hassle-free service and an affordable flying experience always.”

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Aloft New Delhi Aerocity, Marriott’s sixth ‘Aloft’ property, opens doors

Marriott International has opened its sixth ‘Aloft’ branded Hotel in India with the launch of Aloft New Delhi Aerocity. ‘Different by Design’, Aloft was created keeping in mind the needs of the next-generation traveler, bringing together tech and design to enhance the experience and provide innovations. The hotel’s 253 guestrooms are designed with a bold and contemporary tonality reflective of the brand’s philosophy. The urban design encompasses open spaces providing an environment of informality and opportunity for personal engagement. Food and Beverage offerings include the Re:mix lounge, the on-trend W XYZ® bar with regular ‘Live at Aloft Hotels’ music performances by local emerging artists and Nook – the all-day dining restaurant. With state-of-the art business meeting facilities, the hotel is well equipped to host large conferences. Recreational options include Re:chargeSM – the fitness center and Splash – the outdoor pool bar and lounge. “The Aloft New Delhi Aerocity is a significant addition to the brand’s distribution in India. With the recent milestone of Marriott International celebrating 100 hotels in the country, we continue to see huge opportunity for growth, especially for distinctive brands like Aloft.” said Neeraj Govil, Area Vice President, South – Asia, Marriott International. “The brand’s value proposition resonates with the new-age traveler who is looking for unique experiences and technological innovations that establish a ‘connect’ and make the stay match his lifestyle” he adds. The Hotel’s General Manager Suman Gahlot added, “We are extremely excited about the opening of Aloft New Delhi Aerocity. With spacious rooms, a vibrant atmosphere, music and technology, we expect the hotel to become the hottest city hangout, attracting both savvy travelers and young local professionals.”

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OYO Hotels ventures into China

OYO Hotels has announced its foray into China with a strong focus on strengthening its hotel chain in the country. With this launch, OYO Hotels is all set to substantiate its leadership in the market while working towards its mission of bringing great living spaces in the country in the form of well-designed small hotels while introducing best-in-class training and education in the sector. Its current chain comprises of over 11,000 exclusive – franchised or manchised – rooms in 26 cities including Hangzhou, Xian, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Kunming among others. Commenting on the development, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO – OYO said, “After our successful overseas expansion and operations in Malaysia and Nepal, we are thrilled to offer OYO hotels hassle-free and standardized stay experience to guests in China. The country’s tourism industry is on the cusp of booming and flourishing wherein it enjoys a strong influx of both domestic and international tourists; also the market is as fragmented as the Indian hotel market. With our expertise in managing chain of hotels backed by technological innovations, we will further continue to strengthen our footprint while empowering neighbourhood hotels to emerge in the same league as the big boys of hospitality.” China is the third overseas market for OYO, after its successful venture into Malaysia and Nepal where it has grown multifold. The company will be working towards transforming the region’s hospitality industry by introducing its strong hotel brand and operating solutions for ensuring a seamless experience for both guests and asset partners while generating lucrative job opportunities for locals in smaller tier provinces.    

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‘The Riverview Retreat’ wildlife resort adds 30 new rooms

Leisure Hotels Group has added 30 new rooms to its luxury wildlife resort making it the largest capacity resort in the Corbett Park & Ramnagar Area. The Riverview Retreat has now become the largest MiCE Resort in the Corbett National Park. ‘The Riverview Retreat’-a wildlife resort situated along with the banks of River Kosi, spread over nine acres, now offers 90 well-appointed rooms and private villas of two, three, four bedrooms or independent and duplex rooms. Almost every room in the resort has a breath-taking view of the hills. The sloping tiled roofs, cool stone floors with throw rugs, and block wood furniture creates a wild natural ambience. The rooms are very tastefully designed & decorated with plenty of daylight. The resort offers an intimate ambience with private sit-outs and garden, offering a complete family holiday experience. Emphasising that The Riverview Retreat, makes for a key Mice destination, Vibhas Prasad, Director, Leisure Hotels Group said, “Corbett is well connected with many major North Indian cities, which enables convenient travelling. It could be thrilling for corporate employees to mix business with pleasure by lazing around, meditating and playing etc., in luxury accommodations such as this – The Riverview Retreat”. The villas have private garden and entrances. Besides invigorating meeting sessions amidst scenic & serene environs surrounded by nature & wildlife, the luxury wildlife resort has on offer Activities & Leisure, all in one location, for everyone to indulge in entertainment nights with live performance, cocktails and bonfires, bird watching, fishing, safaris, nature walks/ treks/ hikes, and much more.

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Choice Hotels’ Comfort Inn Benaras opens in Varanasi

Choice Hotels India has announced the opening of its new property in Varanasi – Comfort Inn Benaras, located in Cantonment area overlooking Varuna corridor. With this property, Choice Hotels India has expanded its footprint of over 30 hotels in India. The Food and Beverage options include The City Spoon, serving  multicuisine restaurant with a choice of Oriental, Northwest Frontier, South Indian, Chinese and tandoor delicacies to tickle the best of foodie’s taste buds; The Café Hashtag, a rooftop restaurant with views of the entire city with an open kitchen serving  barbeque, Continental with innovative mocktails and beverages.  The Café by Corridor offers a variety of tea and coffee with snacks. The hotel has a modern architectural structure with banqueting facilities to cater for meetings, conferences and social gatherings. Vilas Pawar, CEO, Choice Hotels India, said, “We are committed to offer international experience with world-class services at best value proposition. The warmth of international hospitality at Comfort Inn Benaras will help redefine the service standards offered to travellers.”  

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