Tag Archives: President

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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Boeing appoints Salil Gupte as India head, effective March 18, 2019

Boeing has named Salil Gupte as its India head, effective March 18, 2019. Gupte succeeds Prat Kumar, who was appointed Vice President and Program Manager of Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft programme in November last year.  He will be based in New Delhi and report to Marc Allen, President of Boeing International. Gupte will join as President of Boeing India from the aircraft maker’s wholly-owned subsidiary Boeing Capital Corporation, where he served as Vice President. In his new position, Gupte will advance the development and execution of Boeing’s strategy in India, integrate business activities across company’s commercial airplanes, Boeing defence, space and security, its global services, and lead the growth and productivity initiatives in India. He will also manage Boeing’s partnerships with the government and business stakeholders with a team of over 3,000 employees and joint venture personnel located across the country. His leadership will extend to cover Boeing’s large supply chain presence in India, its engineering and technology centre in Bengaluru, and Boeing joint venture with Tata in Hyderabad. “I’m thrilled to be joining my colleagues at Boeing India during such an exciting time, when the business is growing exponentially and we are building the future of global aircraft manufacturing, services, supply chain, engineering, technology and innovation, right here in India,” Gupte said. Besides Boeing, he has also worked with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs as an investment banker in the aviation and infrastructure sectors. Source: PTI

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Avalon Waterways launches river cruise on the Ganges

Avalon Waterways, one of the brands under the Globus family of brands, has launched its new river cruise on the Ganges. Scott Nisbet, President and CEO, Globus family of brands, announced this in Mumbai on his visit to India to meet the travel trade partners. He said, “We started a new river cruise on the Ganges early this week. It is our new Avalon Waterways product and a seven-day cruise, round-trip to Kolkata that goes up north to the little towns. It is a fascinating trip and guests can add to that and turn it into a 13-day, 15-day, and even an 18-day cruise by including the Golden Triangle or Varanasi. So these extensions would not be a river cruise, they would be a tour. We are primarily focusing that on Western markets like US, Canada, Australia and the UK but it is also a great option for Indians as well. It’s a 54-passenger luxury ship, all-inclusive which means all meals, drinks and all excursions. It is also perfect for a small incentive group. We have taken a number of sailing, 75 per cent sold already, agents can start selling now.”  

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Over 80 countries participate at 1st Global Aviation Summit in Mumbai

The first edition of Global Aviation Summit 2019 witnessed participation from more than 80 countries. Being organised from January 15-16, 2019 at Grand Hyatt Mumbai, the summit themed on ‘Flying for All’ is touted to be the first-of-its-kind that will cover a diverse range of topics – from domestic aviation market, drone policies, infrastructure investment, freight and cargo policies, aviation financing and much more. It has attendance from more than 100 global CEOs, 35 exhibitors and more than 1200 delegate participation. The inaugural session saw keynote speeches by Sandip Somany, President, FICCI; R N Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation; Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council, International Civil Aviation Organization; Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Civil Aviation and Commerce & Industry; Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra; and Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation.

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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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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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