Tag Archives: Chairman

Kashmir records lowest footfall in 7 years

In 2018, Kashmir reportedly witnessed the lowest ever tourist footfall in the last seven years, recording only 8.5 lakh domestic and foreign tourists visiting the valley in total. This was a decline of about 23 per cent from 2017, which saw around 11 lakh tourists visitors to Kashmir. Zahoor Qari, Chairman—TAAI, J&K Chapter, said that the figures are by and far correct, and blamed the decline to negative media coverage about the state on electronic channels. “The decline in the number of tourists to Kashmir is because of the uncertainty projected by electronic media around the country. The smallest of incidents in the remotest part of the state is being highlighted in the media, which is not even close to the tourist sites in the valley. This works against the tourism in the state.” Despite actively participating in multiple travel trade shows around the country and abroad, the state witnessed the low visitor numbers. The tourism department also undertook many promotional initiatives in 2018 to boost the numbers. Qari said, “We even arranged a Fam trip for the media to Kashmir, but that also did not work. Instead, there was negative coverage on mainstream channels about Kashmir.”

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Lemon Tree Hotels & Warburg Pincus enter into JV to form a co-living platform for millennials

Lemon Tree Hotels has formed a joint venture (JV) with an affiliate of Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing, to create a co-living platform. The JV marks Lemon Tree Hotel’s entry into a new business segment focusing on the development of institutional-grade rental housing accommodation serving both students and young working professionals across major educational clusters and key office markets in India. Following Warburg Pincus’ successful partnerships in China and Hong Kong, this investment represents the first co-living platform which the firm has backed in India. An affiliate of Warburg Pincus and Lemon Tree Hotels will hold 68 per cent and 30 per cent stake, respectively in the JV, with the balance 2 per cent to be held by Patanjali Keswani. The JV partners will initially invest Rs 1,500 crore in equity over a period of time followed by an additional infusion of Rs 1,500 crore in equity at the option of the partners, to develop rental housing projects through a combination of greenfield purpose-built properties, refurbishment of existing under-managed/stressed commercial and residential assets taken on lease/acquisition basis as well as management of existing for-rent accommodation projects. The platform aims to provide affordable and conveniently located co-living spaces for students and young professionals, who are increasingly looking to be part of a vibrant community with like-minded individuals. Patanjali (Patu) Keswani, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Lemon Tree Hotels, said, “We are delighted to once again partner with Warburg Pincus at an early stage of this exciting new business opportunity, which will allow Lemon Tree Hotels to move into a segment which is nascent but closely aligned to our existing target customers and which is expected to …

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MoCA and AAI launch mobile application for Global Aviation Summit 2019

Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, has launched the official mobile application ‘GAS 2019’, for Global Aviation Summit 2019, to be held on January 15-16, 2019 at Grand Hyatt Mumbai.  The application was launched in the presence of Rajiv Nayan Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA); Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI); Dr Shefali Juneja, Joint Secretary, MoCA and other officials of the AAI. Available on play store and iOS, GAS 2019 provides a holistic glimpse of the summit and can be used to access latest updates about the mega event. The application enables users to interact with the co-delegates and speakers. It would be an excellent platform for networking through personal and group chats. With the who’s who of the global aviation fraternity set to grace the event, the summit is a promising platform for constructive discussions, collaborations and meeting of minds to explore the future of global aviation. The esteemed guest-list for the summit includes Transport & Civil Aviation ministers from Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal and Jamaica, Civil Aviation authorities and Directorate Generals of Civil Aviation (DGCAs) from 22 countries. The future of aviation – drones and seaplanes, airport privatisation, digital travel and holistic development of global aviation ecosystem are the key areas to push the envelope both on regulations and on industry structure. This platform will enable the industry leaders to prepare a policy roadmap that will certainly provide a strong impetus to all players in the aviation ecosystem. The summit will entail B2G, B2B and G2G meetings.    

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Yogendra Tripathy to replace Rashmi Verma as Tourism Secretary

Yogendra Tripathy, Chairman and Managing Director, Food Corporation of India (FCI), has been appointed as Secretary—Tourism, Government of India, on retirement of Rashmi Verma at the end of November, according to recent appointments of senior officials by the government. Tripathy has been associated with FCI since July 30, 2015. He is a 1985 batch IAS officer of Karnataka cadre.

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Satyajeet Rajan launches ‘Association for Rural Tourism in India’

In an attempt to bring  all organisations and individuals engaged in the rural tourism space under one umbrella, the Association for Rural Tourism in India (ARTI) has been unveiled during the International Conference on Rural Tourism Development held at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. Satyajeet Rajan, Founding Member and Director General (Tourism), Government of India, launched the association amidst stalwarts and pioneers of rural tourism world over. On the occasion, Steve Borgia, Founding member and CMD, INDeco Hotels said that ARTI will unite all hoteliers, NGOs and individuals working in the space of rural tourism. “As a task long due, this association is not only meant to hand-hold the tourism initiative, but also share and sustain the efforts. It is also now very important  that we influence our governments at both the centre and the state along with NGOs to use rural tourism as a tool to mend the ailing backbone of our villages,” he said. Other founding members present at the occasion include SK Misra, Chairman, Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development and Former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India; Sujit Banarjee, Secretary General, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC); MP Bezbaruah, Former Secretary, Ministry for Tourism and Honorary Permanent Representative, UNWTO; Jose Dominic ,CEO, CGH Earth Group; Supratim Raj Basu, Founder & Director, Help Tourism.  

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Manipur Sangai Festival 2018 to be held from November 21-30

Manipur Tourism recently organised a curtain-raiser of the upcoming Manipur Sangai Festival at Select Citywalk in Delhi. Officials from Manipur Tourism along with its stakeholders shared updates on the ongoing preparations for the largest tourism festival of the state scheduled to be held from November 21-30. Famous personalities from the state including Mary Kom, MP, Rajya Sabha and Padma Bhushan Awardee; Sarita Laishram, former World Boxing Champion; and P Kenedy Singh, former Indian Football Captain promoted the event in the city. Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh, Chairman, Tourism Corporation of Manipur stated that the festival will be inaugurated in Imphal on November 21, while two other districts Bishnupur and Senapati will also play host to the festival and have a line-up of events ranging from half-marathon, water sports and trekking to other adventure activities. The festival takes its name from the state’s unique, shy and gentle brow-antlered Sangai Deer. The Sangai Deer is found only in Manipur’s floating Keibul Lamjao National Park at Loktak lake.

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India’s first engine-less train to replace Shatabdi Express unveiled in Chennai

The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) has unveiled India’s first engine-less, semi-high speed train in Chennai. Called ‘Train 18’, the special train will replace Shatabdi Express in the coming months after being inducted in the Indian Railways and undergoing mandatory safety checks. Flagging off the special train, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani said Train 18 will be a game changer for the Indian Railways. The fully-air-conditioned 16-coach train can clock up to 160kmph compared to the 30-year old Shatabdi Express and can save travel time up to 15 per cent.

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160-room DoubleTree by Hilton opens in Panaji, Goa

Hilton has expanded its footprint in the country by launching DoubleTree by Hilton in Goa – Panaji. A unit of Goldfinch Hotels and managed by Hilton, the hotel reiterates Hilton’s aim to double its presence in the country over the next few years. Navjit Ahluwalia, Senior Vice President and Country Head, Hilton India, said, “This property has a number of standout amenities that could offer all our guests unmatched experiences. We are committed to India for the long-term and will continue to make significant investments to expand our presence and further enrich our operational and management capabilities.” Prakash Shetty, Chairman, MRG Group, says, “This resort is testimony to my vision to bring world-class hospitality to Goa by partnering with Hilton. We have augmented a number of products and services across the property to deliver bespoke guest experiences to cater to the needs of global citizens. This resort will also be the first in Goa to offer Mangalorean cuisine at its specialty restaurant Feliz.” With 160 guestrooms including nine suites, equipped with signature DoubleTree by Hilton amenities, the resort features environmentally friendly smart lighting. DoubleTree by Hilton Goa – Panaji offers indoor and outdoor venues for conferences and events – a grand ballroom, two boardrooms and sunset lawns along with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.

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Piyush Goyal launches ‘Rail Heritage Digitisation Project’ to showcase India’s rail heritage

Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal has launched ‘Rail Heritage Digitisation Project’ of Indian Railways in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture through video conferencing. The project is a landmark effort to showcase the country’s rail heritage to national and international audience in an online story-telling platform. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board; Rajan Anandan, Vice President—South East Asia and India, Google; Amit Sood, Director, Google Cultural Institute, among other dignitaries and UNESCO representatives were among those present on the occasion. Goyal said, “As a 165 year old organisation, the Railways has a lot of material which we need to preserve and leave behind for posterity. Mumbai has a special place in the Railways, being the first railway line to be set up in India. We will be setting up 22 digital screens across different locations in India for showcasing this historic project. This partnership between the Railways and Google also has the dimension of the Wi-Fi, which we have proliferated to over 400 stations in India.” Lohani said that collaboration with Google Art & Culture has enabled Indian Railways to digitise National Rail Museum, Rewari Steam Centre, three World Heritage Railways, CSMT Mumbai building and other prominent aspects of country’s rail heritage.

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IATO brainstorms on key issues on the first day

With a day stacked with business sessions focusing on imperative issues and state presentations, the audience was treated with intense discussions on day one of the two-day convention in Vishakhapatnam. The day started with the conventional IATO Run for Responsible Tourism in the morning. The first session of the day aimed to highlighted the challenges of touching the ambitious milestone of 20 million foreign tourist arrivals within the next few years. The panelists also touched upon the ways in which this can be achieved. The second session brought together members of key hotel companies face to face with tour operators to discuss what both industries can do to help the other since it is getting harder and harder to do business, whether it is the hotels or the travel trade.  The following session had an all-women panel who spoke about their personal experiences that are evidence that India is a safe country. However, they did present ways in which the safety of women travellers could improve. The final panel discussion, moderated by Rajesh Mudgill, MD, Planet India Travels, deliberated on how to change one’s business to adapt to the changing mindset of today’s travellers. In between the state presentations and panel discussions, the audience also took advantage of individual presentations made by Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH; an informative session on how travel agents can use digital marketing by Avijit Arya, Founder, Internet Mogul.  

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