Tourism Breaking News

Cathay Pacific and Air Astana ink new codeshare partnership

Cathay Pacific and Air Astana have recently announced an agreement that will enhance travel options and offer greater choice to customers of both airlines through Hong Kong and Almaty. Cathay Pacific will place its ‘CX’ code on Air Astana’s non-stop flights between Hong Kong and Almaty, as well as on connecting services between Almaty and Astana, the Kazakh capital. Air Astana currently flies twice weekly between Hong Kong and Almaty, on Tuesdays and Fridays, but will be increasing frequency by adding a third service from March 25. Cathay Pacific will also codeshare on Air Astana’s five weekly services between Bangkok and Almaty, and four weekly services between Seoul and Almaty, giving customers additional options for travel between Hong Kong and Kazakhstan. “We are delighted to join with Air Astana and provide our customers with links to one of the most fascinating countries in Central Asia. With its vibrant economy, which is set to grow as a result of its integral role in the Belt and Road Initiative, and beautiful natural landscapes, Kazakhstan has many attractions for both business and leisure travellers alike,” said Ronald Lam, Director – Commercial and Cargo, Cathay Pacific.

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OYO acquires Chennai-based Novascotia Boutique Homes

Having inked its first business acquisition, OYO has entered into an agreement with Chennai-based service apartment company, Novascotia Boutique Homes. The acquisition will add to the company’s existing portfolio and reiterate its focus on corporate service. Commenting on the development, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, OYO said, “The acquisition forms an integral part of our inorganic growth plan, in line with our ambition to create quality living spaces and add value to every form of real estate. OYO is poised to deliver 180,000 keys by the end of 2018 and with Novascotia’s strength, we will be adding service apartments to our existing portfolio.” With this acquisition, OYO will bring its distribution, operational, transformational and technological capabilities on board for offering corporate travellers accommodation options. The acquisition will boost OYO’s portfolio by 350 rooms across locations where Novascotia has its footprints. Novascotia has built a portfolio in locations including Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Trivandrum. OYO plans to expand these offerings to 12 cities by the end of 2018. These serviced apartments are located in the heart of business hubs equipped with spacious rooms, upscale interiors, meals, gym and dining area to cater all the requirements of business travellers.  

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India to add 10 million tourism jobs in the next decade

India will add around 10 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector by 2028, according to a latest report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). WTTC forecasts that the total number of jobs related to tourism will increase from 42.9 million in 2018 to 52.3 million in 2028. India is currently the seventh largest travel and tourism economy in the world. Overall, the total contribution of the sector to the economy was Rs 15.2 trillion (US$234 billion) in 2017, or 9.4 per cent of the economy once its direct, indirect and induced benefits are taken in to account. Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC, said, “Travel and tourism creates jobs, drives economic growth and helps build better societies. This is particularly clear in India which is forecast to be one of the fastest-growing tourism economies in the world over the next decade, adding 10 million jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy by 2028.” “Looking to the future, India can strategically lead travel facilitation within the SAARC region by introducing a standard technological solution, modern technology and biometrics. This will enhance the travel and tourism economies in the region. The Indian aviation market is expanding with rapid advancement in connectivity within India. Indian airlines have booked 900 plus new aircrafts to add capacity and expand operations over next couple of years,” Guevara shared.

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FICCI paves way for start-ups at Digital Travel Summit

The second day of FICCI Digital Travel, Hospitality & Innovation Summit 2018 focused on start-ups and what investors look for before they fund new businesses. Two sessions were held on investments, acquisitions and start-ups, followed by another start-up pitching session. The first panel discussion titled ‘The Future of consolidation, Merger & Acquisition & Foreign Investments in the Travel Industry’, was moderated by Alok Mittal, Founder & CEO , Indifi Technologies. The panel included Matt James,  Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, Amadeus Asia Pacific; Ankush Nijhawan, Co-Founder, TBO Group; Vikram Gupta, Founder & Managing Partner, IvyCap Venture; Tej Kapoor, Managing Director & Head, Fosun RZ Capital India; and Bhavik Vasa, Chief Growth Officer, EbixCash. The panelists discussed what it takes to attract investments and how they judge ideas to put money into them. The second panel, ‘Learning Through Peers : Case studies of  successful travel start-ups’, was moderated by Ashish Kumar, Co Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Managing Partner, Agnitio Consulting. The panelists included Sakshi Vij, Founder & CEO, Myles; Anirudh Gupta, Co-Founder, Tripoto; Stephanie Strunk, Community Manager, Corporate Startegy, Amadeus Asia Pacific; Aishwarya Kachhal , Co-Chair, Harvard Business Alumni Angels India and Rajiv Malhotra, Founder, Hotel Launcher.

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Tamarind opens wedding division at Delhi office

Tamarind Global has announced the launch of a wedding division at its Delhi office. After the exponential growth of its weddings and events division of Tamarind Global in Mumbai, the company now looks forward to tapping the flourishing wedding business in Delhi-NCR. Tamarind Global’s Delhi office already offers event management and MiCE services. The division will be led by Karan Malhotra, Head – Events and Weddings, Tamarind Global. Kunal Rai, VP, Events and Weddings, Tamarind Global, said, “This strategic expansion has always been on the cards for us. We are excited it is finally coming to fruition and we can have a dedicated presence catering to our already growing client base in Delhi. Delhi-NCR is prominent for the size and scale of its thriving wedding and events business, making the move of securing a strong presence in the region an inevitable progression. A team of 10 people has already successfully executed one wedding. This fully fledged team is geared to provide hospitality and logistics services as well as client servicing support for turnkey wedding and event solutions for Delhi and other North markets. The aim is to increase the team size to handle multiple weddings, and pitch for new weddings in the region.”  

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MTDC launches guide training programme in Nagpur

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is conducting a 12-day guide training programme in Nagpur to train the local tourist guides. The inauguration of certified guide training programme was recently conducted at MTDC’s Regional office in Nagpur by Swati Kale, General Manager, MTDC in the presence of Arati Meshram, HOD-Government IHMCT College, Nagpur; Vilas Kale, Chairman-Cenin Travel & VED Council along with IITTM faculty. The aim is to make more than 900 guides available for tourists at various destinations across the state. MTDC has conducted guide training programme at various cities across Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Sindhudurg. Programmes will be conducted in Pune, Nasik, Amravati, Solapur and Kolhapur in the year 2018-19. Madan Yerawar, State Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra, “I am delighted to announce that Nagpur and Vidarbha got certified local tourist guides for the first time and they are ready to offer services at various tourist destinations in the state to cater to the needs of tourists. They play a significant role in promoting the destination and thus, act as the representatives of the state and our country.”

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Hyatt hopes to add 1,400 keys to portfolio in India by 2019

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts aims to add approximately 1,400 more keys to its current portfolio of over 7,000 rooms by next year, reveals Harleen Mehta, Vice President, Sales Operations – India, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. She says, “The Hyatt Place Hyderabad-Banjara Hills was launched in December 2017 that will be followed by our Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty which is slated to open in April 2018. It will offer 265 luxurious guestrooms including 38 suites and four villas, and will mark our foray into the Kerala market. The two upcoming Hyatt Place hotels – Hyatt Place Bangalore Airport-Urbana is scheduled to open this year and Hyatt Place Jaipur is expected to open doors next year. These two hotels will add approximately 400 more rooms to our portfolio. Hyatt Regency McLeod Ganj that is set to open in 2018 in the Himalayas will establish us as the only licensed international hospitality chain allowed to build an eco-friendly hotel in the forests there. Apart from this, we are looking to expand in the market with our upcoming properties in Gurgaon and Agra.” Currently, Hyatt’s India portfolio includes 28 hotels across 17 key destinations in the country.

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Preferred Hotels & Resorts celebrates 50th anniversary in Delhi

Preferred Hotels & Resorts recently kicked off the Asia Pacific series of its 50th anniversary celebrations at The Leela Palace New Delhi with a specially curated luncheon presentation at Le Cirque, hosted by the group’s CEO Lindsey Ueberroth and Executive Vice President Saurabh Rai. “As we commemorate the Preferred brand’s 50-year legacy of inspiring travel, we are more committed than ever to providing travellers with even more opportunities to embrace the spirit of independence and to making our pineapple logo synonymous with the ultimate hallmark in world-class hospitality,” said Ueberroth. “It is so exciting and humbling to see how far we have come as a company, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate this major milestone with our associates, partners and friends from around the world. “As the region’s largest independent hotel brand, Preferred Hotels & Resorts is entering its 16th year in India, and we are focused on continuing to build on the foundation of our company’s 50-year legacy of championing the independent hotel space. We are committed to forging ahead with more innovative and strategic consumer-focused initiatives to foster greater engagement in this market,” added Rai.

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FICCI-KPMG Knowledge Paper to focus on tech-savvy Indian traveller

FICCI and KPMG India have jointly unveiled the knowledge paper ‘Expedition 3.0- Travel & Hospitality Gone Digital’ at the inaugural session of Digital Travel, Hospitality & Innovation Summit. The Knowledge Paper looks at unravelling the technology trends in travel and hospitality segment that will help better define the future of the industry, how digitalisation has impacted the evolution of this industry and what can be achieved by overall technology inclusion across stakeholders in the industry ecosystem. Some of the key highlights of the paper reveal that most travellers go online, and 67 per cent even use voice search for research; 71 per cent use smartphones for research and booking, and 82 per cent prefer digital boarding passes and e-tickets for convenience; 87 per cent use videos and photos posted by friends as part of their travel research while 83 per cent want to be connected while travelling; 85 per cent use price comparison websites to look for deals, and 58 per cent agree spending considerable time to find best price; 91 per cent use review sites; and 75 per cent choose hotels that do not charge for Wi-Fi.  

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FICCI Digital Summit 2018 kicks off in Delhi

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) inaugurated the third edition of Digital Travel, Hospitality & Innovation Summit on March 21, 2018 at Federation House, New Delhi. The two-day summit is part of FICCI’s mandate to further enhance India’s digital drive in the travel and tourism industry. The summit saw in attendance the high flyers of travel and hospitality industry alongside the giants of travel technology from both India and abroad. The summit kick-started with an inaugural session where Ashish Kumar, Co-Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Partner Agnitio Consulting, welcomed the delegates and attendees, followed by a special address by Dhruv Shringi, Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & CEO and Co-Founder, Yatra Online, where he stressed on the new innovations changing the face of the travel industry around the world. This was followed by keynote addresses by Jason Nash, Chief Storyteller, Travelport; Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder & CEO, MakeMyTrip and Pulkit Trivedi, Director Global Sales Organisation, Facebook India.

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