Tourism Breaking News

Airbnb forays into travel services with Trips

Airbnb moves beyond accommodation with the launch of Trips. Trips is a people-powered platform designed to make travel both easy and magical. Trips launches with three key areas – Experiences, Places and Homes, with Flights and Services to be added in the future. “Until now, Airbnb has been about homes,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO. “Today, Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do, and the people you meet all in one place. We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.” Airbnb has also struck an exclusive partnership with Detour to offer access to experiential audio walking tours allowing people to discover neighborhoods in a totally unique and authentic way. At launch, audio tours will initially be available for Los Angeles with San Francisco, Paris, London, Tokyo and Seoul to follow by Spring 2017. With Trips, Airbnb also wants to make travel more social, helping connect the thousands of Airbnb users in a city on any given night. The launch of Trips also sees the introduction of a new identity authentication process that the Airbnb Experiences Community will be using. Hosts and guests will be asked to scan an official government ID (for example a passport, or driving license) and then take a simple selfie. After the ID is authenticated, the ID and selfie will be reviewed to confirm that both pictures appear to match. Having a more robust standard of authenticating identity will make the Airbnb community stronger and reaffirms Airbnb’s ongoing commitment to authenticity, reliability, and security. This new identity authentication step is required for all Experiences users, and is also currently being tested for …

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‘Illegal implementation of BSP Link charges in India’

IATA-accredited travel agents all over India will soon be receiving invoices from IATA for the annual additional amount of $360 towards usage of the 2-tier BSP Link Access that is being implemented effective January 1, 2017. IAAI has contended that, though it is required under IATA Res. 818g, the new BSP Link charges in India have not been listed through the agenda and neither discussed or approved nor recommended by the APJC-India as per the IATA procedures. Hence IATA’s decision to charge $30 per month is totally illegal, arbitrary and unacceptable to the Indian Travel Agents Fraternity, said Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI National Board in an official release. Eapen affirms that IAAI will go “the whole nine yards” and attempt to get a reversal on this unwarranted action by IATA. On November 15, IAAI has communicated to the IATA Regional Director at Singapore requesting to take suggested actions immediately. The Government of India authorities and Ministry are also being alerted and notified on this subject matter. IAAI has been the only Travel Trade Association that has risen to the occasion on behalf of the IATA-accredited Travel Agents in India – as in the matter of getting the Rs.20 lakhs Minimum Guarantee withdrawn in 2002, in getting the High Court of Kerala and the DGCA to issue Orders mandating Travel Agency commission, in getting IATA to invoke force majeure for the BSP payment by Tamil Nadu Travel Agents during the thunderstorm calamity in Nov/Dec 2015 and, recently, in retaining the Insurance Guarantee system actively as the only alternative to the Joint Bank Guarantee system.

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Lack of policies stifling potential growth of Indian tourism: WTTC

India’s Travel & Tourism sector has a huge potential, but growth remains largely untapped due to a lack of a co-ordinated approach to tourism policies, said David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Speaking at the Hotel Investment Forum India in Mumbai, Scowsill highlighted that India’s Travel & Tourism sector has extraordinary potential and is forecast to grow by 7.5% per annum over the next decade. In 2015, Travel & Tourism contributed 6.3% to India’s GDP, which is well below the global average of 10%. Additionally, international arrivals were around 8 million visitors per year, which is substantially lower than other countries. China receives 57 million visitors annually and Thailand 30 million. “Travel & Tourism is growing in India, but it comes from a low base compared to other countries in Asia. With the forecast growth for domestic and international tourism, we now stand at a crossroads. Now is the time for India to take off and fulfil its potential,” Scowsill added. Scowsill stressed six priorities which WTTC believes the Government should address urgently, to boost domestic business and leisure travel and to dramatically increase international arrivals: 1. Put tourism at the heart of its economic agenda: the government must deliver on its 2014 manifesto promise to prioritise the sector as a driver of economic growth. 2. Agree a responsible rate of GST: rather than implement a level of 18% tax, a range of 9-14% would certainly boost the social and economic potential of the sector. 3. Invest more into the ‘Incredible India’ campaign: look at other sources of marketing monies, whether from visa fees or private sector matching funds. 4. Continue the electronic visa programme …

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RARE aims for 44% occupancy

In a recent event organised in Delhi, Rare Destinations and Experiences brought together some of their partners who recently have come on board. Shoba Mohan, Founder Partner, Rare, in conversation with TravelTV.News, said that they are aiming for a 44 per cent occupancy and want the partners to do more business. She said, “We started with four properties and now we are 44. We would like to cap it at 50. We want our hotels to start making money out of this. For most of our partners it’s a sustaining business. We are looking at 44 per cent occupancy and to break that barrier and reach 60-70 per cent is actually when they will start making money.”

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4th Global Hospitality Conclave to be held in Delhi on Jan 7

Global Hospitality Conclave (GHC) 2017 will be held on January 7, 2017, at The Leela Ambience Gurgaon. The conclave, an independent initiative by the alumni of the erstwhile Oberoi School of Hotel Management (OSHM), now The Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development (OCLD), brings together a host of industry leaders to discuss the trends and developments in the hospitality industry. With the world of hospitality imperatively moving toward an era of extensive collaboration and partnerships, rules of the game are being rewritten every day. The Conclave seeks to touch upon trends and opportunities in the hospitality landscape of the country and the world, as well as, discuss priorities to arrive at all potential gateways and drivers of growth in the coming years. Organised annually, the Global Hospitality Conclave sees participants from across the world who have been part of The Oberoi Group in a leadership position. The objective of the Conclave is to get the Oberoi Hotels alumni together annually, who are presently employed in different sectors across the world such as banking, aviation, universities etc, and go beyond the customary batch reunions by creating a compelling platform of knowledge exchange, experiences and networking opportunities. GHC is open exclusively to all who have either graduated from OSHM/OCLD upto the year 2007 or have worked with the Oberoi Hotels in senior management for 10 years or more and is therefore a select club of top hospitality professionals.

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Dilip Puri to join Lausanne Hotel School post Starwood stint

Dilip Puri, who has been heading the regional operations of global hospitality major Starwood Hotels & Resorts since January 2011, will soon be joining the Lausanne Hotel School after his exit from Starwood. Commenting on this , Puri, MD -India and Regional Vice President (South Asia), Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said, ”My future plans include getting into the hospitality education space. Currently, we are working with 2-3 international brands in different verticals of hospitality education so we intend to do the 4 year core business hospitality management programs. We intend to do whole series of culinary education programs and expect to get into executive education as well. So all of these 3 programs with hospitality education working with the right international brands in those particular segments that is what I look for after completing my corporate career.”

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Thai visa services on hold in Delhi from Nov 21-25

The Royal Thai Embassy New Delhi confirmed the temporary non-issue of visa services from November 21 to 25, according to a spokesperson from the embassy. No reason has so far been stated for the hold in services during the mentioned period. Those who require visas during this period may obtain visa-on-arrival or from Thai Consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

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Cox & Kings Foundation celebrates Children’s Day

Cox & Kings marked Children’s day by granting wishes of over 100 children with life-threatening illnesses at a fun- filled event, organised by Cox & Kings Foundation and Make a Wish Foundation. Cox & Kings planned the celebration across cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings said, “The Cox & Kings foundation is committed to help bring positivity and joy into the lives of many children every year. Today, as the nation celebrates Children’s Day, this is our effort to reduce the pains and struggles of children with life-threatening illnesses and fill them with happiness and enjoyment to make them feel better” More than 150 employees of Cox & Kings across cities celebrated Children’s day with the kids. Describing the event, Deepak Bhatia, CEO, Make A Wish Foundation said “it is our endeavour to make this a special day for our children and we partnered with Cox & Kings who supported us and all our children had a very good time.’’ Different wishes of Bicycles, TV, Remote control cars, Mobiles, Laptops etc. were fulfilled across India.

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PATA appoints Young Tourism Professional Ambassador

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has appointed Jie Cheng Wong as Young Tourism Professional Ambassador effective January 1, 2017. This new role has been created as part of the Association’s continuing commitment to the development of young tourism professionals. In her new role Wong reports to PATA’s Director – Human Capital Development Parita Niemwongse. “The development of human capital is one of our industry’s biggest challenges and it is vitally important that we engage and inspire the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA. “JC joined our organisation as an Associate Intern before accepting a full-time position as Communications and Marketing Assistant. She is the perfect candidate to connect with dynamic young industry professionals and I am sure that she will revel in this new role as our Young Tourism Professional Ambassador.” PATA has established a new membership category exclusively for young tourism professionals and Wong’s activities will centre upon the launch and development of a programme of youth-centric activities throughout the year. She will also manage and further develop the network of PATA student chapters, working closely with the Association’s events team to ensure that students and young professionals are given the opportunity to attend and participate at PATA events. “We want tomorrow’s tourism industry leaders to have a platform today to share their views. PATA is committed to providing that platform and we look forward to creating many opportunities for positive engagement with this influential group, “added Dr. Hardy.

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Pench Tiger Reserve focuses on increasing tourists to lesser-known parks

In an attempt to boost tourism in lesser-known and less visited parks like Mansinghdeo, Pench Tger Reserve (PTR) has allowed daylong stay inside Deolapar forest. MS Reddy, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) and Field Director, Pench, informed that a three-pronged strategy has been made to boost tourism at Chorbahuli, Saleghat-Nagalwadi and Deolapar in buffer. According to the new strategy, surplus tourist vehicles coming to Pench will be allowed to visit Chorbahuli from Sillari side. Chorbahuli’s total capacity of 48 vehicles per day has been bifurcated to 28 per day where 14 vehicles each on morning and evening can enter from Chorbahuli gate and the remaining 20 vehicles entry has been shifted to Sillari from where tourists will be able to visit Chorbahuli. “This has been done owing to tourists’ lukewarm response to Chorbahuli. It never exceeded capacity since its inception. The new move will help guides and gypsy owners earn livelihood,” said Reddy. At Khursapar too, daylong visits have been allowed to four vehicles in Deolapar (Khursapar) side. The tourism routes have also been increased by 20 kilometres. From Khursapar, carrying capacity has also been increased from existing 38 vehicles to 60 vehicles per day to allow more tourists to enter this zone from Madhya Pradesh Pench. Reddy elaborated that Pucca machans have been set up at scenic spots and watch towers at Khursapar, Bandra, Bakhari and Usripar and of the 30 vehicles, four vehicles will be allowed to stay daylong on machans inside the forest. This entry will be offline and will be available on first-come-first-serve basis by paying three times more for entry fee and guide, and double fee for Gypsy and vehicle. At Saleghat, tourists had to …

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