Tag Archives: CEO

Thai immigration with VFS Global to introduce Thailand eVisa service from February 14, 2019

In line with the Government of Thailand’s initiative to promote tourism, the Immigration Bureau of Thailand has partnered with VFS Global to offer the new eVisa On Arrival (eVOA) service that will enable a faster and more convenient arrival process for travellers from 21 countries like India, China, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, to name a few. Travellers who are eligible to use the online eVOA service provided by VFS Global will receive their travel authorisation from the Immigration Bureau of Thailand prior to their departure from their country of origin. The eVOA service will be available as of February 14, 2019 on thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com. The new Thailand eVisa On Arrival offers travellers a whole new experience when applying for a travel pre-authorisation to Thailand and when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports flying by Thai Airways and other airlines. In three simple steps, eligible travellers can apply online for eVOA for Thailand by visiting thailandevoa.vfsevisa.com anytime, anywhere or get assistance at VFS Global visa application centres across the globe. Travellers receive their pre-departure travel authorisation online before the trip within 24 to 72 hours. Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, Commissioner of Immigration Bureau, said, “With the eVOA service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. In our cooperation with VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival, as …

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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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AION Capital acquires InterGlobe Technologies to accelerate service expansion in travel

Private equity firm, AION Capital has acquired InterGlobe Technologies, the business process outsourcing (BPO) services arm of InterGlobe Enterprises at an undisclosed amount. A joint venture of ICICI Venture and US-based buyout firm Apollo Global Management, AION Capital said in a statement that it will support InterGlobe Technologies (IGT) in its next phase of growth as the company accelerates service expansion in current and new verticals in the travel industry. It didn’t disclose financial details of the deal. InterGlobe Enterprises, the parent company of IndiGo airlines, had been looking to sell its back-end services unit for the past few months. “With its strong customer base and deep domain expertise in the travel sector, we believe that IGT is uniquely positioned. We expect IGT will continue to leverage and further strengthen its digital capabilities and global footprint to meet the growing demand for differentiated customer experience,” said Utsav Baijal, Partner, AION Capital. IGT was founded in 1998 by InterGlobe Enterprises. It is focused on the travel and hospitality industry and has more than 70 marquee customers globally. It provides digital contact centre services, digital services and solutions including chatbots, robotic process automation, travel analytics and social media services. Source: VCCircle

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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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‘The Postcard Hotel’ launched with three luxury hotels in Goa

Set to redefine the luxury hospitality scenario, ‘The Postcard Hotel’ has been launched by its Founder and CEO, Kapil Chopra, at a press conference held in Delhi. The Postcard Hotel is a brand of unique, intimate luxury hotels in India and the world. Transformative experiences and local community are at the heart of The Postcard Hotel’s offering. “What I wanted to do with The Postcard Hotel, is make luxury hotels for the modern audience but bring back the romance and charm of holidays. We wanted it to be rich in its experience but also wanted it to be simple. We believe guests want to stay in a place where the hotel does the thinking for them, where they get the simple things right, yet offer fantastic spaces for them to relax, meet like-minded people and experience local culture. This is why, we handpick our locations and our hotels, so that guests have a different experience whether they are in Goa or overlooking the snow-clad Himalayas,” stated Chopra. In an unprecedented move, The Postcard Hotel has announced the opening of three luxury hotels on the opening day, ready to receive guests that are spread across unique neighbourhoods in Goa – The Postcard Moira, nestled in one of the four heritage villages of Goal; The Postcard Velha, surrounded by 300 acres of virgin coconut plantations in old Goa; and further south, The Postcard Cuelim, that houses a 350-year-old chapel. The brand is committed to building and operating 50 hotels in the next five years. In the next 12 to 18 months, the brand will be present in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Dhauladhar Mountain Range, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Sundarbans and Kanha.  

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GoAir begins Kannur ops with direct daily flights connecting Bengaluru, Hyderabad & Chennai

GoAir has announced the launch of flight operations from Kannur with the launch of the newly commissioned international airport at Kannur. The Kannur schedule introduces direct daily flights connecting Bengaluru six times weekly,  Hyderabad four times weekly and Chennai thrice weekly. With this launch, GoAir will now operate more than 1600 weekly flights by the end of December. The airline plans to also commence its international operations from Kannur shortly post regulatory approvals. On the occasion of the launch, the airline is also operating a special flight between Delhi to Kannur to facilitate guest movement of Kannur International Airport. Cornelis Vrieswijk, CEO, GoAir said “Kannur is a key market and a significant base for business and tourism in the region. Adding Kannur with its ideal geographical location, we reinforce our commitment towards enhancing connectivity across the country. It is our constant endeavor to provide flexibility of choice to our customers along with on time, convenient and affordable flying experience.” Tickets for the new flights can be booked through the company website or online travel portals, GoAir Call Centre, airport ticketing offices, through travel agents and the GoAir mobile app that is available on both Apple iOS and Google Android. Passengers will be required to download the latest version of the App to be able to make the bookings.

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PATA Destination Marketing Forum 2018 opens in Khon Kaen with 300 delegates

The PATA Destination Marketing Forum (PDMF), themed on ‘Growth with Goals’, welcomed 290 delegates from 25 destinations. The event, hosted by Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), with the support of Khon Kaen Province, brought together delegates from the public and private sectors for insightful discussions on some of the major issues in marketing and managing tourism growth to lesser-known destinations. Dr Mario Hardy, PATA, CEO said, “This event stems from the need to help secondary and tertiary areas grow and develop into widely recognised, bucket-listed tourism destinations. Aligning with our advocacy theme of tourism dispersal, the forum shines the spotlight on new and emerging destinations, introducing delegates to lesser-known yet attractive corners of the world. It is designed to assist communities economically in these destinations by encouraging dispersion of tourists to new frontiers.” Delegates will hear from experienced industry professionals during the conference on major topics like ‘Status of Destination Management Around the World’, ‘Role of Local Experiences in Destination Marketing’, ‘Managing the Disconnect between Destination Organisations and Communities’, ‘Transborder Marketing. Case Studies of GMS’, ‘Fighting Undertourism Through Innovative Storytelling’, ‘Calculating our Impact as Destinations’ and ‘Leveraging Technology to Revolutionise the Travel Space’.

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IHG strengthens footprint in Chennai with Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the opening of Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam. This marks the opening of the third Holiday Inn Express hotel in India this year, adding to the brand’s accelerated growth in the country. Strategically set amidst the city’s commercial hub, Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam is located along the Old Mahabalipuram Road, within 3-5 kms distance from major technology parks and dedicated Special Economic Zones. Featuring 149 keys, Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam offers well designed, contemporary rooms with a range of in-room amenities and a great service culture, promising unparalleled comfort, and convenience to the guests. For an enhanced experience, the hotel is equipped with complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi access in all rooms, hot breakfast with a wide offering (included in the rate), an on-site self-laundry facility and a meeting room for business requirements. Commenting on the announcement, Vivek Bhalla, Regional Vice President, SWA, IHG said, “We are delighted to announce the opening of Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam under our partnership with SAMHI. Chennai is one of the leading business and leisure hubs in Southern India and therefore an important market for us. We have a strong presence in Chennai across our brands, and this latest addition to our portfolio will further strengthen our offering to the travellers visiting the city.” Ashish Jakhanwala, MD and CEO, SAMHI added, “With its excellent location, design, and a great service culture that the brand is known for, we are confident that Holiday Inn Express Chennai OMR Thoraipakkam will emerge as a popular choice amongst the business and leisure travellers alike.”    

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MakeMyTrip appoints Vipul Prakash as COO

MakeMyTrip has announced the appointment of Vipul Prakash as Chief Operating Officer for MakeMyTrip and Goibibo. In this role, Prakash will be responsible for developing and executing  strategic direction and priorities of the company. He joins MakeMyTrip from PepsiCo where he was last serving as Senior Vice President–Beverage Category for PepsiCo India region. Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and CEO–India, MakeMyTrip, said, “We are excited to welcome Vipul to our leadership team. His rich experience of two decades at PepsiCo spanning geographies, deep understanding of consumer market and expertise in industry leading operational practices are truly invaluable. We are confident that his proven track record and extensive experience will extend MakeMyTrip’s upward trajectory.” Speaking about his new role, Prakash said, “MakeMyTrip is an iconic brand that has played a defining role in shaping the online travel space in India. I have been truly impressed with the company’s institutional expertise and relentless focus on serving customers better. I look forward to drive the next phase of innovation and growth through operational excellence.” Prior to joining MakeMyTrip, Vipul was associated with PepsiCo for 20 years. In his previous role, he was responsible for delivering revenue growth, share and brand equity for PepsiCo’s beverage portfolio of five brands. Vipul joined PepsiCo in 1998 and held various positions in marketing and franchise, at sector and global levels. In 2007, he relocated to the US, where he spent three years on the International Beverages Marketing team and moved to Dubai in 2010 to head the Foods and Beverages Innovation department for PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa before moving back to India.

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PATA Travel Mart 2019 to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is set to organise PATA Travel Mart 2019 in Astana, Kazakhstan in September. The event will be hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kazakh Tourism National Company JSC. “As the destination stands at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, it is the perfect venue to organise the association’s signature travel trade exhibition in a uniquely transformational city that blends various cultures and heritages of both the East and West,” said Dr Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA. Yerlan Kozhagapanov, Vice Minister of Culture And Sport, Republic of Kazakhstan, said, “We are honoured to be the bid winner and are grateful for the opportunity to host PATA Travel Mart 2019. We are positioning Astana as a MiCE hub for Central Asia and looking forward to welcoming PATA members, hosted buyers and visitors at PATA Travel Mart 2019.” According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Kazakhstan received a total of over 7.7 million total visitors in 2017. Special discounts are available for sellers located within Central Asia, while early bird discounts are available for those registering before December 31, 2018.  

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