Category Archives: Agents

Destinos India bags SITE Crystal Award

The Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) recently recognised Destinos India with a ‘Crystal Award for Best Destination-based Incentive Travel Program’ at the Crystal Awards Recognition Ceremony held during SITE Global Conference 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. Considered the highest honour in the Incentive Travel industry, SITE Crystal Awards recognise creative, practical, and truly memorable incentive programmes that not only keep employees engaged, but also drive business results. Annamaria Ruffini, CIS, CMP, SITE President 2018, commented, “As the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, it’s only fitting that we have our own reward and recognition programme to highlight excellence in incentive travel. The Crystal Awards programme is a long-standing SITE tradition, part of our association since 1980 and a hotly-contested, much-anticipated annual event. It confers the highest honour in our industry to incentive travel professionals who have clearly demonstrated how incentive travel leads to business results.” Destinos India selected the crown of “Incredible India” – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur – as the triple-city destination to provide the experience of a lifetime for 140 qualifiers from all over the world. Sanjay Malhotra, Director, Destinos India, commented, “Right after our inception as a DMC, this was the first dream project to put our heart and soul in to deliver an incredible incentive voyage. With detailed research, offbeat vision, sagacity, prevision, dedication and micromanagement, backed by hard work by our experienced, professional and enthusiastic team, we transformed all possible challenges to opportunities and presented an incentive journey to cherish for a lifetime. This award becomes even more special and important for us as we have got it in the very first year of our existence.” Randir Brar, Director, Destinos India, added, “It is a special …

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Globus family of brands introduces Cosmos Lite for ‘á la carte tours’

Globus family of brands introduces Cosmos Lite — world’s first á la carte tour style. Combining the essential features of award-winning Cosmos tours with a personalised approach to daily itineraries, Cosmos Lite offers hassle-free travel with the freedom to tailor an itinerary to interests, budgets and pace. New for the current year, Cosmos Lite is unveiling 10 innovative itineraries that combine major cities with undiscovered, lesser-known destinations across Europe. Cosmos Lite vacation packages include city-to-city transportation, comfortable hotels, daily breakfasts, professional tour director, MyCosmos optional excursions and CosmosGo mobile app. Scott Nisbet, President and CEO, Globus family of brands, said, “With the introduction of Cosmos Lite, we’re giving travellers an independent touring option: a new way to see, explore and experience the world around them. We get them to each destination and coordinate comfortable accommodations but their days – and the activities they plan – are up to them.” In 2019, Cosmos Lite is introducing 10 new vacation packages in Europe: Spanish City Explorer (9 days, priced from $899) Spanish Heritage Explorer (8 days, priced from $699) Portugal Explorer (7 days, priced from $749) Italian Explorer (8 days, priced from $899) Northern Italy Explorer (8 days priced from $899) Veneto Explorer (7 days, priced from $899) Danube Explorer (8 days, priced from $899) England Explorer (7 days, priced from $899) Ireland Explorer (7 days, priced from $849) Scotland Explorer (7 days, priced from $899) Varesh Chopra, Regional Director –India, South Asia & Middle East, said, “Free of commitments and full of possibilities, Cosmos Lite’s á la carte touring invites travellers to design each day with free time, me time or see time. A Cosmos Lite vacation frees up days so travellers can …

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Hotels in Sikkim boycott Go-MMT effective January 16, 2019

The Sikkim Hotels & Restaurants Association (SHRA) recently convened hoteliers’ meeting in Gangtok during which it was unanimously agreed to not continue conducting business with Go-MMT until the concerns were addressed and resolved. Effective January 16, 2019, hotels in the state have indefinitely closed inventory to the OTAs and have decided to not honour any new bookings that might come through. During the meeting, SHRA member hotels also decided to terminate their contracts with Go-MMT immediately. Pema Lamta, President, SHRA, said, “We are in solidarity with the country’s apex hospitality body – Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and also our regional body – Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) in uniting against the OTAs’ unfair and discriminatory business practices. We have made an official appeal to all our members to not honour Go-MMT bookings from January 16, 2019, and have requested them to terminate their contracts with the OTAs immediately. However, we will accommodate guests who have already been booked through Go-MMT even after the 16th. We do not want our guests to be harassed or inconvenienced. However, they will be requested to make payments directly to the hotel instead of to the OTAs.” Many other hotel Associations across India have accused the said OTAs of charging exorbitant commissions, unfair accounting practices and unauthorised and further discounting of hotel prices set by hoteliers. The boycotting of the two online portals gained momentum after Ahmedabad Hotel Association had first raised the issue, which many other associations and hotels followed on later. “SHRA had earlier written to OTAs with concerns raised by local hotels and even held meeting with them. The association had raised specific concerns …

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Key travel players discuss ideas and trends at Travolution Asian Summit in Delhi

The inaugural Travolution Asian Summit, held on January 15 in Delhi, brought together all stalwarts and key stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry for sharing knowledge and powering partnerships. Welcoming delegates at the event, Lee Hayhurst, Editor, Travolution said, “We are happy to be here and are hoping to make this a regular event. We started 13 years ago with an idea to bring the travel and technology industry together to discuss ideas, trends and observations in the industry. I think the world of technology is bringing us closer. At this event, we’ve got keynotes, interviews and sessions for the attendees,” he said. The keynote speaker was Deep Kalra, Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, who gave an overview on ‘Indian Market Growth and Opportunity’.

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IRCTC offers free travel insurance for air passengers

IRCTC has partnered with Bharti AXA General insurance company to provide free-of-cost travel insurance to customers who book air tickets through the IRCTC’s air ticketing website. IRCTC Air is set to offer free air travel insurance worth up to Rs 50 lakh for the customers. It is a first-of-its-kind initiative and the travel insurance will provide passengers with financial protection against accidental deaths as well as total permanent disability, according to a statement by IRCTC. The premium for the insurance will be borne by IRCTC to secure the passengers from any untoward incident during any journey. The aim behind this partnership is to make air travel hassle-free. The travel insurance cover will be for both one-way trips and round trips of air travel, when booked on the IRCTC air ticketing portal.

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Desaru Coast, Malaysia appoints Knack Marketing as India representative

Desaru Coast, Malaysia has appointed ‘Knack’ Marketing as its sales representative in India. The appointment will support Desaru Coast in building brand awareness, execute ongoing public relations, implementing trade programmes, providing packaging solutions to the partners in India and increasing the number of visitors from the Indian market to Malaysia. Medha Sampat, Director, Knack Marketing, said, “We are excited about this new collaboration with Desaru Coast. This is a carefully planned development to woo the tourism sector. The easy accessibility, massive infrastructure with its beautiful beach, consists of stays in luxury accommodations, its extravagant conferencing facilities, state-of-the-art theme park, stunning golf course, bundled with amazing gourmet options making it a perfect getaway for the Indian traveller.” Desaru Coast is a premium integrated destination resort and one of Malaysia’s most anticipated new tourism developments. It offers a premium experience for everyone from families and couples to business travellers and golf enthusiasts. The resort is anchored by four world-class hotels and resorts namely The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and One & Only Desaru Coast for premium travellers and a Conference Centre fitted with modern facilities. Philip Whittaker, Chief Commercial Officer, Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels (TARH), added, “We are looking forward to this partnership with Knack Marketing and are confident that together, we can strategically position Desaru Coast as the brand that will elevate the tourism industry in Malaysia.”

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Punjab High Court overrules Air India’s move to shift to single GDS platform

In a major setback to state-run Air India, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana has overruled the national carrier’s decision to shift domestic ticket-booking business exclusively on Travelport, asking it to continue using the services of Amadeus and others to book domestic and international flights. Air India had discontinued services of all other global distribution system (GDS) portals from December 5, 2018. The judgement of the HC read, “An interim direction is issued to Air India Limited to continue to allow using GDS of Travelport, Sabre and Amadeus, as was being used prior to Decemeber 4, 2018 and till further orders, Air India inventory will be made available to Amadeus also, as was being done prior to December 4, 2018.” The court has given Air India three weeks’ time to respond to the judgement with relevant documents. The court noted that under Article 12, the Air India was duty-bound to invite bids before giving exclusive rights to any agency for GDS. It is further contended that Air India was duty-bound to call bids in the form of tenders and that Amadeus could not be arbitrarily excluded from sale of tickets for domestic flights. Source: Moneycontrol  

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Yatra acquires PL Worldways to strengthen foothold in South India

Yatra Online has announced the acquisition of the corporate travel business of PL Worldways Limited (PLW), a Chennai-based corporate travel services provider. This acquisition will help strengthen Yatra’s foothold in the southern India region along with adding over 100 corporate clients to its existing client base of over 700. Commenting on the acquisition, Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and CEO, Yatra Online, said, “PL Worldways has an unparalleled reputation in corporate travel in the southern part of the country due to its strong customer focus and unmatched service. With this acquisition, we not only strengthen our position in the growing corporate travel market in India but also in Southern India, which has been in our cross-hairs for some time. Our endeavour will be to deliver best-in-class service to PLW’s existing customer base, through our self-booking platform and expense management solution software. We look forward to welcoming PL Worldways team to the Yatra family.” Anil Pathak, Chairman, PL Worldways, said, “We are excited for PL Worldways to join Yatra family. PL Worldways’ local connect and customer service expertise will complement Yatra’s technology platform and leverage the largest hotel network in the country; helping clients optimise their travel spend and improve their travel processes.”

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Now travel without vouchers with U&I Holidays’ mobile app

U&I Holidays has launched a mobile app for the end customer, enabling them to travel without their vouchers along with giving instant feedback. Shyam Upadhyay, Director, U&I Holidays, revealed, “Innovation is most important today, and every wholesaler or retailer has an online portal now. The latest addition for our portal is mobile application, to be used not by the operator but by the end user. We will start this from Bali. A guest travelling to Bali now need not carry any hard copies. He can simply download the application and have all his itinerary and vouchers on the mobile phone. At the same time, we have connected the driver and the client directly, just like in Uber or Ola cabs, allowing guests to track the location of the driver. At the same time, most of the Indian restaurants, shopping places have been marked and mapped in the application. Hence, wherever the guest is, he or she can see which is the nearby Indian restaurants or shopping area in the app.” Upadhyay further added that it is advantageous for them to get instant feedback as well. “Most important for us as a DMC is real-time feedback. If clients get convinced on tour, it’s fantastic. But if anything is wrong and he comes back to India, one can probably lose the client or bear a compensation. Now with this real-time feedback, everyday once the tour gets over, client will automatically get a pop up, and if they have a complaint they will definitely put it. That will straightway goes to the Bali office or head office and all the senior management at U&I Holidays. We have a dedicated quality control team who’s going to …

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EbixCash acquires Weizmann Forex, Essel Forex

Ebix has announced that its EbixCash World Money subsidiary in India has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 per cent assets of India-based Essel Forex for approximately US$8 million. Ebix will be funding the entire transaction in cash, using its internal cash reserves. The acquisition of Essel Forex following the recent announcement of the Weizmann acquisition, further strengthens EbixCash’s position as the largest financial exchange in India, besides being the undisputed leader in the inward remittance, outward remittance and foreign exchange markets in India. With a national network of 44 branches in 31 cities serviced by 400+ employees, Essel Forex has been one of the five largest foreign exchange providers in India with a wide spectrum of related products including sales of all major currencies, travellers’ checks, demand drafts, remittances, money transfers and prepaid cards primarily for the Corporate clients. Besides being a foreign exchange business partner to leading banks such as ICICI, Axis, Indus Ind, Yes and HDFC Bank, Essel Forex has been associated with Western Union and MoneyGram for inward money transfers. Essel Forex will be tightly integrated into the EbixCash Financial Exchange offering in India and abroad. The retained Essel Forex executives will become an integral part of the combined EbixCash remittance and forex leadership team headed by EbixCash World Money Managing Director TC Guruprasad. Ebix believes the Essel Forex business can generate operating margins of 40% or more, once fully integrated. Ebix expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to its earnings. Robin Raina, Chairman, President and CEO, Ebix said, “Essel Forex has a rich focus on the corporate clientele with strong partnerships with many leading banks. Their geographical, product and client overlap with EbixCash made the …

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