Tourism Breaking News

TAFI files writ plea to Supreme Court for airline refunds

Pradip Lulla, President, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has revealed that the association has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a petition concerning the refund of air tickets bought for travel during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The primary plea was moved by the NGO Pravasi Legal Cell on April 27, 2020. He says, “This was done on May 6, 2020 through NGO Pravasi Legal on behalf of TAFI. But this is for all air ticket issuing agents in India. I estimate that the total volume of refunds would come to around Rs 800-Rs 900 crore as bookings were made not just for the summer holidays but also for student travel. This is for bookings made for all airlines – Indian as well as international. While we have approached the concerned authorities in the past through FAITH, the airlines have said that they will give refunds only after three months.” crucial funds remain blocked with the airlines for travel not undergone and which, in fact, has been cancelled. Lulla adds that some airlines have divided their bookings as per zones where Zone 1 is US, Zone 2 is Europe, and Zone 3 is South East Asia and for these they are giving refunds, but not for India that comes under Zone 4. “In Zone 4, they are changing penalty for cash refunds even when flight schedules are cancelled. We hope to hear from the Supreme Court on this issue soon,” Lulla adds on a positive note.    

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Sense of ‘near normalcy’ to return in Q4 2020: Leela COO

Anuraag Bhatnagar, COO, Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, believes in the resilience of the hospitality industry. He says, “We are very lucky to be working in a country like India where we have extremely robust domestic economy. People in India fundamentally like to travel, experience new destinations and go to new resorts. They probably would want to ‘unlock’ themselves after this lockdown. We will see some business coming in July and August, we see a sense of ‘near normalcy’ coming in in Q4 (OCT-DEC).

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Domestic travel, key growth driver for our business in India: Pascal Gauvin, IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a management agreement to bring the Crowne Plaza brand to the historic city of Lucknow, in northern India. Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, explains, “The signing underscores confidence in the industry despite challenging times. In India, the sector is primarily driven by the domestic travel, which is expected to recover first once the crisis is behind us and it is safe to travel again. Domestic travel has remained a key growth driver for our business in India and we will continue to expand our presence meaningfully to cater to the needs of our guests in the country.”

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MOT to provide incentives under CSS Scheme for promoting M!CE Tourism in India

In order to give a boost to M!CE Tourism and attract more M!CE events to the country, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has decided to extend the benefits to M!CE organisers in the form of certain incentives under the Champion Sector in Services Scheme (CSSS). For this purpose, a M!CE fund has been set up under CSSS. Under this initiative to encourage M!CE operators to bring more conferences/meetings/seminars to India, they will be entitled to avail certain financial incentives in the form of GST reimbursement. The incentive would be made available for a period of three years. A prior approval from MOT will be required to avail incentives under the scheme along with a NOC from the concerned travel trade association. MOT has made India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB) as the nodal agency for steering and promoting the scheme who in turn would motivate Indian Travel Planners / Societies / Associations towards publicising the scheme.

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Over 60% hotels are preparing to reopen post lockdown: HVS ANAROCK GMs Survey

In its latest General Manager’s Sentiment Survey, HVS ANAROCK has reported that over 60 per cent of the General Managers (GMs) are preparing to open their hotels as soon as the lockdown is lifted this month. The survey suggested that upscale business properties are expected to open sooner than others. The anonymous online survey captured responses of 160 GMs across branded hotels PAN India. 74 per cent of the responding GMs were from the business hotels while rest 26 per cent represent leisure hotels.

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Government and industry need to collaborate to rethink & redesign aviation: CAPA India

`In its latest analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry, CAPA India has said that the government and industry will need to collaborate to rethink and redesign aviation sector to emerge from the crisis and move towards a sustainable future. The report explains, “The current crisis should be used to initiate structural changes for the long-term viability of the sector. The industry will need to make some hard choices. Airlines will need to restructure their businesses to become leaner and reduce costs, whilst also increasing the strategic deployment of technology and analytics to enhance revenue and improve efficiency.”

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States & hotels should do joint promotions with agents to boost domestic tourism: PP Khanna

PP Khanna, President, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) during the 2nd TravTalk Digital Tourism Conclave said that it is important for states, hotels and travel agents to come together and do joint promotions for domestic tourism and boost it further. “Both states and hotels should look towards doing joint promotions with the travel agents to boost domestic tourism in India. M!CE is a big segment and according to 2018-19 data, this segment earned a revenue of Rs25,000 crore. With new ventures like banquet halls, trade fairs and facilities in cities like Delhi coming up, it is expected that by 2022, this revenue could double to the tune of Rs40,000-50,000 crore. All the states should consider opening new M!CE facilities.”

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FAITH doubles its tourism loss estimates from Rs 5 lakh crore to Rs 10 lakh crore

Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) has revised upwards its loss estimation to Indian tourism. In a meeting, the association informed that it would like to revisit and double its earlier guidance. The earlier guidance which was calculated in March 2020 had put tourism’s economic value at risk at almost Rs 5 lakh crores from this pandemic. FAITH believes this value at risk could go as high as Rs 10 lakh crores given the way tourism supply chains are breaking down in India across all its key inbound, domestic & outbound markets. The direct and indirect economic impact of the tourism industry in India is approximately estimated at ~ 10% of India’s GDP.  This roughly puts the full-year economic multiplier value of tourism in India at almost ~ Rs 20 lakh crores. This value covers the whole tourism value chain across airlines, travel agents, hotels, tour operators, tourism destinations restaurants, tourist transporters, tourist guides etc. These are across all the segments of tourism be they leisure ( inbound, outbound, domestic) corporate travel, heritage, adventure, meetings incentives, exhibitions & events, religious and spiritual tourism and in upcoming high-value niche tourism products such as sea & river cruises, camping, rafting, golf & film tourism, jungle tourism, agritourism and many more. Tourism has one of the largest economic multipliers. FAITH based upon its industry estimates believes, that in India given its globally unique natural and cultural heritage which is spread across the Indian hinterlands, each rupee spent on tourism could have an economic multiplier of between 2.5 – 3 times. While this is India’s global competitive advantage in tourism, this can also quickly translate into a competitive disadvantage due to …

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Any product that is safe, reliable, and on time is luxury: Sanjay Kumar, IndiGo

With more than two decades of experience in aviation industry, Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy & Revenue Officer, IndiGo, has a different take on what luxury would mean in terms of air travel. “We believe that any product which is safe, reliable, on time, and affordable is luxury. If we can scratch even a two to three per cent of the total domestic market, and make air travel a part of their journey that would be great. Right now, these travellers are taking their own transportation, or trains, or buses. But if we can create an ecosystem for them which is cost-effective and efficient, that can help them travel the way they want to travel, then I think that can be called luxury too. Traveling by air itself is luxury. They have graduated from ground to air and if you have a network aligned to that in every state or tourist point, it makes for a great opportunity,” Kumar says, adding that Indigo has 63 destinations across the network of which 25-30 destinations have been launched in the last two years.

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Tourism likely to undergo radical changes; domestic travel key in driving demand: Amitabh Kant, NITI Aayog

Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog has said that tourism as a product is likely to undergo radical changes and the revival of domestic tourism, with necessary safety protocols, will be key in driving demand for future. Kant made this statement during the Empowered Group 6 meeting with representatives from tourism and travel industry to discuss the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic and way forward for the sector post COVID-19. Along with FAITH, its 10-member association representatives attended the meeting along with WTTC.

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