Tourism Breaking News

India’s tourism sector to attract capital investments of $95.3 billion by 2028

India’s tourism sector attracted capital investments of US$ 47.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach US$ 95.3 billion by 2028,  according to World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC’s) Economic Impact 2018 report. International hotel chains are increasing their presence in the country, as it will account for around 47 per cent share in the tourism and hospitality sector of India by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2022, increasing from 44 per cent in 2016. Berggruen Hotels is planning to add around 20 properties under its mid-market segment ‘Keys Hotels’ brand across India by this year. Hilton plans to add 18 hotels pan India by 2021, along with 15 operational hotels under its brands namely, Hampton, Hilton Garden Inn, Conrad, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton. Marriott International also plans to add 20 more properties to its existing portfolio of 98 hotels in India.

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Airbnb and MTDC introduce Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has strengthened its ties with Airbnb with the introduction of Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme which aims to boost the tourism prospects in the state. It will also drive economic growth in local communities by helping micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality sector grow their business thorough four key pillars of support- Training, Enabling, Access and Promotion.  The programme will first be launched in Elephanta village where MTDC and Airbnb will associate with Gram Panchayat and identify 35 homes and get aligned with Airbnb standards. Hosts of these homes would be first set of entrepreneurs benefitting from this programme. Commenting on the programme Jaykumar Rawal,  Minister of Tourism, Maharashtra said, “Tourism is not only a source of revenue for the state, but is also key source of growth for local communities. In Airbnb, we have found a global partner whose vision to create skilled micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality and homestay ecosystem to further expand Maharashtra’s tourism potential. We are pleased to expand our partnership with Airbnb and launch the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, which will help mentor and support budding entrepreneurs in hospitality sector and build strong homestay network across key destinations. “ Airbnb has trained around 500 partners last year partnering with MTDC and with launch of the programme its aims to achieve 1500 micro-entrepreneurs with at least one entrepreneur in each village. To start off with the programme will cover destinations like Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Palghar with special focus on Elephanta Island. Chris Lehane, Global Head of Policy ad Communications, Airbnb said, “Airbnb’s commitment to create 50,000 hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in India.”

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Thomas Cook focuses on enhancing customer experience

With around 27 per cent of its overall business be it the holiday side and 15 per cent of its foreign exchange business coming through the online channel Thomas Cook is now focusing on enhancing customer experience. Speaking at a media interaction Mahesh Iyer, Executive Director & CEO, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “As a channel we have seen decent growth coming in and we are clocking around 30 per cent CAGR year on year and are quite optimistic on the future of online business. Our focus in the long term is on customer experience. If we look at the current summers we are operating we have packed new experiences like curated food menu by Ranveer Brar, Boman Irani doing a red carpet night for our travelers. We have also launched Japan this year in terms of adding new destinations and have already crossed 1000 passengers.” In terms of forex Thomas Cook is looking to bring more digital options for the customer. It is working on a premium product and will soon be launching a mobile card which will allow customers to use their prepaid card on the NFC platform. He further added, “There is lot of innovation and product development happening with an underline of technology. We launched our customer self service app which allows the customer to keep tab on their bookings, visa status, itineraries etc.”

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HRAWI hosts press conference to give details about its regional convention in Sri Lanka from June 27

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) at a press conference has announced that it will host its 18th regional convention in Sri Lanka. The convention will be held from June 27 to June 30 this year and it will be the associations first regional convention to be held outside the country. The convention will attended by key policy makers, International government representatives, investors and industry stalwarts. Kumar DE Silva, Chairman, Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau, Sanath Ukwatte, President of Hotel Association of Sri Lanka, Aravinda De Silva, Deputy Chairman, Ideal Motors Pvt Ltd, John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Honorable High Commissioner, High Commission of India will be the distinguished dignitaries for the opening evening at the convention. The second day will begin with a city tour paired with a lunch at a local restaurant followed by traditional performance and a rendition of both the national anthems later in the evening at the Hilton Grand Ball Room. The third day will be dedicated to business and networking with four different sessions on the various aspects of hotel operations, food and travel bloggers, hotel interiors trends and emerging restaurant trends and emerging trends in Sri Lankan cuisine. Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI said, “This is our 18th regional convention and also first time we are having the convention out of India. The reason for hosting the convention out of the country is because it is more of a cultural exchange.”

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Water supply to hotels in Shimla back to normal: HRANI

The Hotels and Restaurants Association of North India (HRANI) has said that the shortage of water in Shimla is back to normal. Adequate arrangements have been made by the state government and water supply is being ensured to hotels in order to facilitate tourists. Sanjay Sood, President, HRANI & EC Member, FHRAI said, “the inflow of tourist that took a hit due to water shortage in Shimla the capital city of Himachal Pradesh is slowly getting back to normal and but now things are in better shape. There should not be any apprehensions in visiting the city as guest service is our prime concern. Beautiful weather & mesmerising hills await to welcome you”. “The hotel industry is grateful to Jairam Thakur, Honourable Chief Minister and Acting Chief Justice Shri Sanjay Karol for their intervention in resolving the issue and ensuring proper water supply. HRANI requests the media to highlight the normalcy in water supply through its reports so that tourism re-gains momentum in the state” he further continued. “As responsible citizens, let us pledge to save and conserve natural resources. Reduce – Recycle and Reuse should be the mantra, we all should adopt,”he said.

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Cholan Tours inks agreement with Andhra Pradesh Tourism

Cholan Tours Pvt Ltd has signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department for special darshans of Lord Venkateshwara at world famous shrine Tirupati Balaji, thus becoming first tour company to offer this service in collaboration with the Tourism Department. It is a known fact that it is probably the most visited Hindu temple by devotees from all over India and also by NRIs settled across the world. Pandian, MD of Cholan Tours Group informs, “Recent news reports mentioned that on certain days pilgrims waited for darshan for 20 hours and even people who paid Rs 300 for VIP darshan waited for 6 hours. Given the fact that mostly family members and elderly people come for Tirupati, these uncertain waiting hours are always a big concern for who wish to do this pilgrimage. Here, we in association with Andhra Pradesh Tourism come with a service of guaranteed special darshan (in maximum 02 hours’ time) in morning slot. I believe it will be a good news for those potential pilgrims who wishes to come to this holy destination. Those who book with us, will be taken in a group escorted by a guide who will ensure a quick & smooth passage for the tourists-cum-pilgrims.” He further informs that soon South Tourism will have its own office in Tirupati to ensure better coordination for the clients who book this service with them.

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Now, rail passengers to pay six-time penalty for carrying excess luggage

Just like air travel, now rail travellers will also have to pay for carrying excess luggage in trains.  Indian Railways has decided to strictly enforce its over-three-decades-old baggage allowance rules, which allows railways to penalise the travellers with six times penalty over the stipulated amount, if caught travelling with overweight luggage. According to rules, a sleeper class and a second-class passenger can carry luggage weighing 40 kg and 35 kg respectively without paying any extra money and a maximum of 80 kg and 70 kg respectively by paying for the excess luggage at the parcel office. The national transporters will also ensure that luggage size adhere to the prescribed measurements of 100cm x 60cm x 25cm (length, breadth, height). “The rules were already in place, we are just enforcing them strictly now. If a passenger is found travelling with un-booked luggage weighing more than the free allowance, the excess weight will be charged six times the luggage rate,” Railways said. “The move is to ensure passenger convenience and address the issue of cramped compartments, it said. However, unlike airports, where the each luggage is weighed, railways will carry out random checks inside the trains.  For example, if a passenger is travelling 500 km with luggage weighing 80 kg in the sleeper class, he can book his excess baggage of 40 kg for Rs 109 in the luggage van. Source- The Economic Times 

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Qatar Airways to apply for launch of an Indian airline

Qatar Airways will soon move an application to launch a full-service airline in India for domestic operations, according to its chief Akbar Al Baker. He said the proposed airline would be fully financed by Qatar’s sovereign fund and would have Indians heading the board. Baker, who has been Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive for over two decades, was recently elected as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). “We will move the application soon. I don’t know really by when because it (the process) takes time,” he told on the sidelines of the IATA Annual General Meeting when asked by when the application for a licence would be moved. Noting that the process is on track, he said the proposed carrier in India would be a full-service one and the investment would be done from the sovereign fund of Qatar’s official investment arm. Qatar Investment Authority manages the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar. It was set up in 2005 to manage the oil and natural gas surpluses and its assets under management are estimated at USD 335 billion, a lot of which have been invested overseas for a variety of purposes.  It was in March 2017 that Baker first mentioned about its plans for a carrier in India. Source:PTI

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VITS Luxury Hotels unveils VITS Mango Blossom, Gurugram

VITS Luxury Hotels has unveiled ‘VITS Mango Blossom, Gurugram’, a luxury corporate hotel located near Udyog Vihar Industrial Hub. Well-connected through railways, road and air to all major cities, the hotel offers ease of travel and transit to all the corporate travellers. Announcing the launch, Chandrakant Shetty, CEO, VITS Luxury Business Hotels says, “We are extremely upbeat on the exponential growth prospects in Gurugram that has fuelled demand of upscale mid- market hotels in this region. The city has seen steady growth in inflow of business travelers in the last two decades but there is still acute shortage of upscale mid-market hotel rooms. We are extremely delighted to bridge this gap with the launch of our first property in Gurugram. We believe VITS Mango Blossom with its strategic location, imposing décor, banqueting and host of hospitality will appeal to both leisure and business tourists”. The well-furnished accommodation blends contemporary design with unmatched comfort. The 37 guest rooms comprising Deluxe and Superior rooms present a corporate sojourn with impeccable amenities. Mirroring the aura of elite class living, each of the rooms boats of tastefully adorned décor, upscale comfort, luxury ambience and exclusive facilities.

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GoAir appoints Cornelis Vrieswijk as the new Chief Executive Officer

GoAir has announced the appointment of Cornelis Vrieswijk as the new Chief Executive Officer. He will be reporting to the Chairman, Managing Director and the Board of Directors of GoAir. Vrieswijk is a seasoned global executive and a consultant with over 25 years of experience in aviation and travel industry. He has rich experience in driving ventures, transitions, turnarounds and large-scale projects for diverse and multifaceted organisations with emphasis in aviation/travel and aircraft maintenance industry on a European Stage. He has significant expertise in international business development, operational streamlining, aircraft engineering & maintenance and process automation. Commenting on the occasion, Jeh Wadia, Managing Director, GoAir said, “Vrieswijk will work with the Board and leadership team to expand and implement a range of strategic initiatives to lead the airline into its next phase of growth. I am confident that Cor will help scale GoAir further and establish it as a most profitable low cost carrier in the highly competitive Indian market.” Commenting on his appointment, Vrieswijk said, “I am truly honoured to join this dynamic airline and see myself closely working with the entire GoAir team in realising its objectives. My primary focus will be to grow the airline to a strong position and modelling the desired changes for further growth and expansion.” Vrieswijk is a management graduate from Catholic University Nijmegen.

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