Tag Archives: President

Job development via adventure tourism neglected: ATOAI

Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President, ATOAI, claims that they had high hopes from the government this time, but budget again disappoints. Nothing in there especially for the tourism industry. From our end, we have been having a lot of meetings with the government, and had also submitted a wishlist, but nothing has come of it. Adventure tourism is the future of job generation in India with many adventure activities possible in all parts of India, may that be the Himalayas, deserts or coastlines. It’s unfortunate that this has not been considered. The impetus on last mile connectivity through building 1.25 lakh kilometers of roads under PM Gram Sadak Yojna is a positive move. The only news in the tourism front stressed on development of 17 iconic tourism sites to be upgraded to world class levels to attract domestic as well as foreign tourists. The Prime Minister had identified that out of the Five pillars (Five Ts), ‘Tourism’ is one of the most important, and, in India, it aims to achieve greater heights and new milestones. But that is missing in this budget.

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Taxation remains ambiguous: ADTOI

PP Khanna, President, ADTOI, says that while a lot of focus has been given to infrastructure in the Budget, not much has been done on tourism apart from development of 17 iconic sites. At the same time, I must appreciate the focus on railways which connects most of India domestically and that should really help boost domestic tourism, especially with the involvement of private players. Even the progress in Swachch Bharat Abhiyan is commendable and initiatives there are appreciated. The last mile connectivity gets a further boost with the upgradation of roads with an investment of 802.5 billion rupees. However, the safety part of adventure tourism for domestic tourists should have been looked into and enhancement of such facilities should happen. Taxation also needs to be looked into since not much clarity has been given to GST.

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Tourism’s potential disregarded once again: OTOAI

Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI, is disappointed with the Budget. He says, “It is very disappointing that this year’s Budget has not looked at the tourism industry in any area in spite of it being a subject very dear to the heart of our Prime Minister and in spite of the fact that the tourism industry is among the top five industries/sectors that contributes to the growth of the country’s GDP, creates employment, and generates foreign exchange. Truly, very sad and disappointing.”

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Tourism not given its due, industry requests ignored: IATO

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, shared that there was again no focus on tourism in Union Budget 2019-20, except that the government re-emphasised on 17 iconic sites being developed into world-class tourist destinations, which has been taken forward from the last Budget. “However, we welcome the mentioning of simplifying of GST process and absorbing of charges on digital transactions, which will encourage digital transactions. We also welcome the government’s plan to restructure the national highways programme to create a network of highways for better connectivity, upgradation of 125,000 km of roads in next 5 years at a cost of 802.5 billion rupee, more focus on Swachh Bharat mission and expansion of Railway suburban networks which will boost tourism as with increased infrastructure, better road connectivity and clean India, foreign tourists will be attracted.” He added, “We have been requesting the Government  for rationalizing of GST on tourism and hospitality, exemption of GST on foreign exchange earnings by the tour operators and treating tourism industry as deemed exporters and extending all benefits to the tourism industry as are being given to physical exports of goods and reduction, in Tourists Visa Fee so that we can compete with our neighbouring countries on foreign tourists arrivals, which will not only help bring in more foreign exchange but also create new jobs. However, this all remains pending and we hope our requests will be considered by the GST Council and Finance Ministry will consider the importance of tourism industry in employment generation and contribution in economic growth of the country.”

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Japan Airlines and Travelport to form joint venture to operate GDS for Japanese agents

Japan Airlines and Travelport have agreed to form a joint venture to take ownership of Travelport Japan K K (Travelport Japan) and JAL’s 100 per cent owned subsidiary, Axess International Network. Under the unified Travelport Axess brand, the joint venture will operate a Global Distribution System (GDS) tailored to the needs of the Japanese travel industry. The proposed joint venture, which will operate under the brand name Travelport Axess, will combine Axess’ expertise in Japan and Travelport’s global technology leadership. Yoriyuki Kashiwagi, Executive Officer of International Passenger Sales, Japan Airlines, said, “We believe that the future of travel will be transformed by technological innovation. I am confident that Travelport Axess will be able to help Japanese travel agents to respond to growing global demands by offering services based on state-of-the-art technology.” Travelport Axess will continue to offer travel agents services through Axess’ GDS platform, and enable access to Travelport’s GDS platforms, Apollo and Galileo. The proposed joint venture will provide online, mobile and corporate travel propositions including global booking and expense management tools as well as access to New Distribution Capability (NDC) content, offering Japanese travel agencies and their customers the best of locally developed products with best-in-class global connectivity and capabilities. Gordon Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Travelport, commented, “This announcement and our ongoing partnership with Japan Airlines is a significant advance in the provision of state-of-the-art technology for the Japanese travel industry.” Under the planned agreement, Travelport will hold a majority stake in Travelport Axess, with JAL controlling the remaining stake and playing an active role in the joint venture. Following the signing of a definitive agreement between Travelport and JAL, the new joint venture is expected to …

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Best Western Hotels & Resorts acquires WorldHotels to enhance its portfolio of offerings

Best Western Hotels & Resorts has acquired renowned global hotel brand, WorldHotels representing a collection of approximately 300 unique and special hotels and resorts in premier destinations around the world. The WorldHotels brand will play a critical role in enhancing Best Western’s portfolio of offerings to include the upper upscale and luxury segments. “There is tremendous synergy between Best Western and WorldHotels. By joining forces in this new partnership, we will create competitive advantages for both companies,” said David Kong, President and CEO, Best Western Hotels & Resorts. WorldHotels will maintain its distinctive personality and individuality while benefiting from Best Western’s robust and scalable e-commerce platform, strong partnerships, award-winning loyalty programme, effective sales and marketing support, global distribution network and powerful revenue engines. “As we join forces, the combined power of our brands sets the stage for a bright future for both Best Western and WorldHotels. Through its established senior leadership team and regional presence in each market, Best Western brings a new level of expertise that will undoubtedly help grow the WorldHotels brand in key markets,” said Geoff Andrew, CEO, WorldHotels. In the last year alone, Best Western was named one of the world’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, expanded its portfolio to 13 dynamic brands reaching new guests in new segments, and won a record number of industry awards and accolades. The acquisition is a testament to Best Western’s commitment to growth, modernisation and continued progression, bolstering the company’s position as a trusted leader in the global hospitality industry.

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‘Avalon is Globus’ fastest-growing brand in India’: Globus CEO

The Globus family of brands is witnessing huge growth for its Avalon Waterways brand for river cruising from the India market. “Avalon Waterways is our fastest-growing brand in the Indian market,” claimed Scott Nisbet, President and CEO, Globus family of brands. He was in India recently who visited Bengaluru and Mumbai to meet and thank the company’s trade partners for another great year. “The numbers are still relatively small but it has massive potential in India. When we ask our past travellers if they are interested in river cruising, 61 per cent of them said yes. We see this as a very good sign and we have developed a number of river cruises that are shorter – not the seven or 14-night cruises but three, four and five-nights which is perfect for those who just want a taste of what a river cruise is like and maybe add something around it to make it a part of a bigger trip. This will be our focus for 2019 and 2020,” Nisbet said.  

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400 hotels in Mysuru boycott Go-MMT and OYO

In a latest development, the Hotel Owners’ Association (HOA) of Mysuru has decided that 400 of its hotel members will block their inventory to Goibibo and MakeMyTrip (Go-MMT) unless the OTAs agree to the terms put forth by the association. The association had recently convened a meeting of its members in the city to regulate terms of operation with the OTAs and hotel aggregators and put an end to exorbitant commissioning and deep discounting tactics. Last month, hotels in Sikkim under the Sikkim Hotels & Restaurants Association (SHRA) terminated their contracts with Go-MMT after the OTAs did not meet the terms outlined by the association. Since December of 2018, several hotels across the country have voiced concerns and in some cases stopped conducting business with the erring Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs) and OYO. “The OTAs and OYO are destroying the very fabric of hospitality under the guise of disruption. They are literally bullying hoteliers, flexing their muscles with seemingly unlimited funds, access to technology and consumer data. Hotels took their bait of increased revenues and rates which today has given them a free hand at employing predatory pricing policies. The indiscriminate discounts offered to customers, outlandish commissions and Performance Linked Bonuses (PLBs) demanded from hotels, hijacking their online and offline brand and business resources, misrepresenting the actual rate received from guests, pitting one hotel against another and other below the belt tactics have left many hoteliers desolate,” says Sooryah P, President, Association of Indian Hotels and Serviced Apartments, Bangalore. Hotels have alleged that the OTAs as well as OYO have no regard for a hotel’s operations, outgoing costs and sustenance. HOA has stated that the OTAs do not factor in the high …

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Ebix acquires 80% stake in travel technology provider Zillious

Ebix has announced that one of its subsidiaries in India has acquired an 80 per cent controlling stake in India-based Zillious Solutions. Zillious is an on-demand SaaS travel technology solution with market leadership in the corporate travel segment in India. The Zillious Exchange processes over 8 million travel bookings annually, which conducting Gross Merchandise value of approximately $1.4 billion per annum. Ebix is funding the transaction in cash, using its internal cash reserves. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Ebix earnings immediately. Robin Raina, President and CEO, Ebix Chairman of the Board, said, “Ebix has a successful track history of two decades in terms of providing non-aligned technology solutions, with Ebix bullet proofing its clients from data privacy or data sharing or any alignment concerns. We have been in the business of setting up technology airports to power transactions, without taking any sides for decades now. Thus, this acquisition was a natural one for us as it allowed us to do the same in India’s fast-growing travel industry.” Ebix intends to keep Zillious as a non-aligned technology platform, that it intends to promote internationally in key markets like the Middle East, US and Asia besides further establishing it as a pure-play on-demand travel technology exchange within India. Towards that extent, Ebix has retained both the Promoter founders of Zillious – Harsh Azad and Rohit Gaddi along with all their domain intensive staff, while empowering them to continue to lead Zillious in its mission of non-aligned technology play. Accordingly, the Zillious platform will continued to be offered to the entire travel industry with a glass wall protection for the client base.  

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India and Maldives to liberalise visa norms from March 11, 2019

India and Maldives exchanged diplomatic notes for the implementation of the visa facilitation agreement with an aim to boost people-to-people ties between the two countries. The agreement provides a very liberal visa regime for Maldivian nationals to visit India for tourism, business, education and medical purposes. It will be effective from March 11 after all formalities including information being provided to all immigration offices, border points and customs authorities have been completed. The agreement was signed during Maldivian President Ibrahim Solih’s visit to India on December 17 last year. The exchange of diplomatic notes follows the signature of the agreement by President Ram Nath Kovind after the Union Cabinet had given its approval, read a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Relations between New Delhi and Male came under strain during former President Abdulla Yameen’s five-year rule, which saw him cosying up with China for various development projects, cracking down on dissent and imposing a state of emergency by jailing opposition leaders. Moreover, there were several diplomatic issues under the Yameen government with many Indian nationals being reportedly denied visas. Solih’s surprise victory in the Maldives presidential elections in last September came as a major diplomatic victory for India, after New Delhi repeatedly warned the Yameen government to respect democratic institutions and free the jailed opposition leaders.    

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