Category Archives: Associations

CII to promote Kumbh Mela 2019 which expects 12 crore visitors

More than 12 crore pilgrims are expected to visit Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 starting January 15 at Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh, including 10 lakh foreign tourists. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has joined hands with the Government of Uttar Pradesh in promoting the one-of-its-kind event. Suresh Kumar Khanna, Urban Development Minister, Uttar Pradesh announced the details of Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 in Mumbai recently, saying, “This event is organised at four places in the country. The event held at Prayagraj itself is a subject of attraction and curiosity for the country and the world. Following the efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UNESCO has included Kumbh in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” Programmes based on ancient cultural heritage will be organised, in addition to cultural programmes, food, festival etc. To seek support for Kumbh 2019 from Maharashtra, Khanna met Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister, Maharashtra, and handed over an invitation to him on behalf of Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh. The team also discussed the preparation by the state for this sought-after event. The Government of India has made a historic increase in number of flights by constructing a new air civil terminal in Prayagraj, which is now connected to the country’s several main cities like Bengaluru, Indore, Nagpur, Patna etc. A heliport is also being set up here and arrangements are being made to provide the facility of helicopter joy ride to tourists. Also, to provide high-quality facilities to tourists, a premium tent city is being developed in the Kumbh Mela area.

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FHRAI requests MOT’s urgent intervention in OTAs v/s hotels dispute

The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has reached out to the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) regarding the hotel industry’s ongoing dispute with Goibibo, MakeMyTrip and OYO requesting its urgent intervention for redressal of hoteliers’ grievances. After a month of failed attempts to amicably resolve issues with the Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs), the apex hospitality body has written to KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) Tourism, outlining the major issues of concern to the industry because of the OTAs’ unfair and arbitrary business practices. A number of FHRAI’s members are experiencing hardships due to the OTAs’ business ethics which are exploitative, unethical and divisive, leading to predatory pricing and other market distortions. The letter to the Ministry states that the hotel industry in the country is going through a very challenging phase which is threatening the livelihood, business, investments and entrepreneurial initiative and spirits of the hospitality industry, and thereby eroding the viability of the sector. “The hotel industry, especially the budget and mid-market hotel segment is reeling under the adverse business tactics of the OTAs. The OTAs’ malpractices are affecting the hoteliers’ livelihood and business. These hoteliers who are part of the local and city hotel Associations across the country have approached FHRAI seeking consultation and support, and are in solidarity with the Federation. The FHRAI has tried to resolve the issue directly with the OTAs, however instead its CEO has chosen to dismiss FHRAI’s role in the matter. It leaves us with no choice but to ask for the Government to step in and create a norm for the OTAs just as the Commerce Ministry has done for the e-tailers recently,” says Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, …

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We are not ‘dictating’: FHRAI reacts to Deep Kalra’s statement

After MakeMyTrip (MMT) group’s chief executive Deep Kalra’s recent comment that the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) has no locus standi to determine commercial agreements between MMT and the establishments on its platform, Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, VP, FHRAI, says, “Goibibo and MMT have been exploitive, unethical and adapted divisive business practices, leading to predatory pricing, market distortions and cannibalisation. I fail to see how our letter clearly worded as requesting to “resolve” the situation would be misconstrued as trying to “dictate” terms. India has approximately 100,000 establishments which provide accommodation. Approximately, 65,000 are structured licensed establishments, out of which around 45,000 hotels are stand-alone hotels. “FHRAI has never got involved all these years in any negotiations with standalone vendors but takes a strong stand when the industry faces any outside coercion or intimidation. It is only when 1000’s of hoteliers realised Goibibo and MMT’s arrogant method of pressurising the small hotels in high commissions, more free rooms, started price control on the owners. FHRAI has, in its fiduciary duty stepped in to amicably resolve matters. Please note FHRAI is not here to negotiate as wrongly being projected. It is here to ensure that agencies like MMT and Goibibo do not take the industry for granted by parenting such market conditions in which it would be difficult to do business for one party but a win-win situation for the other.” He further said, “Going back to December 7, 2018, whilst the Ahmedabad Hoteliers blocked GOMMT in the city, Kalra wanted to sit with FHRAI and work out the issues. The team sent to “resolve” arrived but with a fixed agenda of “fixing” only commissions that too by a paltry reduction …

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ITM 2019 to be held from September 29-October 1

The India Tourism Mart (ITM), organised by the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) and the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), will be tentatively held from September 29 to October 1, 2019, announced Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH. He also told that these dates are tentative, considering that any other inbound travel show like KTM as well as the National Tourism Awards would not clash with the same. This year, ITM had around 250 foreign buyers in attendance with an equal number of exhibitors. He also revealed that they are expecting around 500 buyers to come for the next year’s edition as they will have enough time to plan the event unlike this time, when they organised it within 2.5 months.

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FAITH organises farewell dinner for former Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma

The Federation of Associations in Indian Travel and Hospitality (FAITH) recently organised a farewell dinner for Rashmi Verma, Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, at the ITC Maurya, New Delhi. Verma superannuated from her position on November 30, 2018. Thanking her for her contribution to the inbound industry, Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH, said, “Rashmi Verma has been a great support to the industry in her tenure and has been instrumental in taking many initiatives during her tenure that have proven to be a gamechanger for the industry. The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to India crossed the 10 million mark during her tenure. She was a great support for organising the first India Tourism Mart (ITM) in New Delhi recently. She was also a call away for all of us whenever there was an issue plaguing the industry. It has been a pleasure for the industry to work with her and we would like to thank her for being a constant support for all of us.” Also present on the occasion was Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, who has succeeded Verma recently. All the presidents and senior members of the associations that are part of FAITH were also present at the event.

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Skål Ball, Delhi to be held on February 16, 2019

Skål Delhi is set to host Skål Ball on February 16 at Le Meridien, New Delhi, informed the association’s Immediate Past President, Sanjay Dutta while speaking at Skål Christmas lunch in Delhi. He added, “The Skål Christmas lunch has become an annual event now, since we have been hosting it for the past 12 years at The Imperial lawns.” Sharing future plans for the organisation, Dutta said, “Our basic aim is to help people network; the more people we get, the more networking is done. At Skål Delhi, our attendance has always been 60 per cent and above which is why we keep on doing things differently. We will also be having the new AGM either in March or April next year in which the new team will take over.” Ranjit Vig, Secretary, Skål International Delhi, said, “Month on month, Skål has had one achievement after the other. We have a lot on our agenda for 2019. We are looking forward to Skål Ball as we brace for tourism getting better with each passing year.”  

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WTTCII appoints Rajeev Talwar & Ajay Singh as Chairman & Vice Chairman respectively for 2019

After the Annual General Meeting of the World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII), the company has appointed many office bearers for the year 2019. Rajeev Talwar, Chief Executive Officer, DLF, has been appointed as the Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2019. Talwar, who served as the Vice Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2018, takes over from Sunder G Advani, Chairman & Managing Director, Advani Hotels & Resorts (India). Ajay Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, SpiceJet, has been unanimously appointed as the Vice Chairman, WTTCII for the year 2019. KJ Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) for Tourism and Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Tourism, along with former officials of Ministry of Tourism, SK Misra and VK Duggal felicitated the new team. On his appointment, Talwar said, “WTTCII has three main asks from the government — firstly, Airline Turbine Fuel – ATF must be included under GST; secondly, the 28 per cent on hotel rooms is hurting – GST should be pegged at 5 per cent for rooms of transaction values of Rs 5,000 and 12 per cent for transaction values of Rs 5,001 to Rs 15,000, along with ITC. Lastly, a tourism board to handle the marketing of Incredible India. Today, destination marketing has to be more deft, sharp, agile and cannot be strapped with bureaucratic procedures. A tourism board with inclusion of public and private stakeholders will make brand India successful. We would also need avenues to open up new markets, take, for instance, China; we are 4-6 hours away from major Chinese cities. China’s huge outbound of 130 million trips is every country’s envy and a prime source market, yet we are unable to tap the Chinese outbound. We need to be connected to …

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FHRAI meets MakeMyTrip officials to discuss reduction in commission charges by OTAs

The Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI), along with its regional associations, met four representatives from MakeMyTrip to discuss reduction of the commission charged by the OTAs to 15-18 per cent. The meeting was attended by Surendra Jaiswal, President, HRANI and Vice President, FHRAI, along with Garish Oberoi, Immediate Past President, FHRAI and Treasurer, HRANI. Also present at the meeting were Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, President, HRAWI, along with some of the Executive Committee members. Another points discussed in the meeting include ceasing discretionary positioning and self-rating by properties since they have no authority to rate hotels or mention star ratings based on reviews; no predatory pricing and no further discount on rooms without consent of hotels. Apart from it, the association wants that discounting on rooms and its display will be done after the express consent of the hotel and not via the extranet. Several other points raised in the meeting included the service charge on hotel room booking to be rephrased and given a different nomenclature to avoid taxation issues for the hotel, the burden of the loyalty points and discounts passed to their guests to be borne by them from the commission and not to be passed to hotels, a full break-up of pricing in case rate is displayed with full board, commission to be levied on room only and the component of food should not attract any commission, PLBs only with express agreement with hotels not blanket, PLB taxation to be borne by MMT and not the hotel and illegal hotels apartments, B&B to be immediately delisted from the portals — only legal  properties to be listed.

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Tourism is the future of India: Alphons at 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit

Addressing delegates during the inaugural ceremony of 14th CII Annual Tourism Summit in Delhi, KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) Tourism, said that tourism is the future of India. “Tourism is the future of the country. Foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) have gone up by 14 per cent, while the global figures were at 7 per cent. Approximately, 84 million people are currently employed by the tourism industry across the country,” he said. Suggesting ways to keep tourists for longer in the country, he said, “We are also thinking in terms of further visa reforms. I think Yoga and Ayurveda are the two things that can bring wellness and help us to keep tourists for longer in our country. Tourism is about jobs, money and bringing the world together. We have ambitous targets and we all can achieve them together.”

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FHRAI puts MakeMyTrip and Goibibo on notice to protect the interest of stakeholders

In response to grievances expressed by its members, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has put Online Travel Aggregators (OTA), MakeMyTrip and Goibibo on notice. A number of its members had brought to the association’s notice that the OTAs’ business practices which were exploitative, unethical and divisive led to predatory pricing and other market distortions that had the potential to harm both hoteliers and consumers in the long term. FHRAI has written a letter to the OTAs outlining the most critical concerns of the hotel industry which includes the issue of distortion of market price, demand for exorbitant commissions and hosting of illegal and unlicensed bed and breakfast accommodations. “One of the biggest concerns is that after securing discounted rates from a hotel, the OTAs further discount it on their online platforms without the hotel’s consent. This damages the hotel’s reputation, and also simultaneously distorts the market scenario. Ironically, the OTAs have a clause in their agreement that forbids hotels from discounting their own rates but are themselves free to do so. This disparity is not just unfair but is clearly intentional and is done with the objective of market cannibalisation,” says Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President – FHRAI & President – Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI). Hotels have alleged that the OTAs charge commission that range anywhere between 18 and 40 per cent. The exorbitant commissions have been adversely impacting revenues, business and the livelihood of hoteliers. The Federation has written to MMT and Goibibo in the hope that they will understand the ground level situation of hotels. However, based on the previous experience of hoteliers whose attempts at negotiations were neglected …

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