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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has announced the launch and implementation of I-ZEST: IHCL’s Zero-Touch Service Transformation – a suite of digital solutions across its hotels under its brands – Taj, Vivanta and SeleQtions.

From zero-touch check-in’s and check-out’s, digital invoicing, online payment options and QR codes to digital menus in restaurants, I-ZEST’s digital features will further ensure social distancing for both, guests and associates, while maintaining secure and seamless services. These digital initiatives come on the back of Company’s latest foray into the food delivery service from its iconic restaurants via a dedicated mobile app. 

“Harnessing the power of digital has become even more crucial in times like this. We are leveraging technologies in a meaningful way to ensure minimal contact while offering the sincere care, warmth and guest-centric service that we are synonymous with, with the same zest and dedication as always. With I-ZEST, we have built an enhanced digital layer over our existing systems for the safety of both, our guests and associates,” Vinay Deshpande, Senior Vice President and Head of Digital & IT, IHCL says.

I-ZEST’s new digital features allows guests to interact and engage with IHCL hotels by minimizing the physical touch, but maximising quality of service.

Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC) virtually inaugurated the “Thenzawl Golf Resort” project implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the presence of Tourism Minister of Mizoram Robert Romawia Royte and Commissioner and Secretary for Tourism Department of Government of Mizoram Esther Lal Ruatkimi in New Delhi yesterday.

The project was sanctioned under the Integrated Development of New Eco Tourism under Swadesh Darshan- North East Circuit at Thenzawl & South Zote, District Serchhip and Reiek, Mizoram with a sanctioned amount of Rs.92.25 Crore out of which an amount of Rs.64.48 Crore was sanctioned for various components at Thenzawl including the Golf Course.

The Golf Course at Thenzawl is designed by Graham Cooke and Associates, one of the top-ranked Canada based Golf Course architectural firm. The total site area is 105 acres and the play area is 75 acres - 18 Hole Golf Course with Sharing Fairway and automated sprinkler irrigation system by Rain Bird, USA. It is designed to have facilities of international standards. There are 30 Eco-Log Huts, Cafeteria, Open Air Food Court, Reception area and Waiting Lounge etc, all constructed with Siberian Pinewood and fully furnished with world class furniture and fixtures.

As part of its Mission Begin Again, the Indian Government has announced that it will permit cruise ships to commence sailing from October 1. In the light of this major development, Jalesh Cruises announces the commencement of its cruise MV Karnika from Friday November 6, 2020.

In line with its commitment to its valued passengers to offer an enjoyable, safe and secure holiday in your home (away from home) on the sea, Jalesh Cruises will offer all passengers FREE rapid Covid19 and all other flu related testing at the time of embarkation! Passengers will receive their test results in 15 minutes, board the ship without any fears or worries and set sail into the blue sea and the bright horizon.

Jalesh Cruises invites Indians to hop on board its premium cruise Karnika and have a wonderful vacation without any fear. Karnika is a home away from home with the best in class amenities and offers the option of discovering the beauty of one’s own country India while sailing in the lap of comfort. 

Jurgen Bailom, President and CEO, Jalesh Cruises said, “The announcement by the Indian Government to permit sailing by cruise companies comes as a fresh breath of air to all of us. We have been waiting to set sail with passengers and we eagerly await November. The health and safety of our passengers and our crew has been and will always be our priority. I would like to reassure our valued guests that they would not find a safer and cleaner ship than Karnika. We eagerly wait to welcome guests on board Karnika with open arms and promise them an experience that will wipe away the gloom of the last few months. Our guests will return home invigorated, refreshed and all charged up after their oceanic voyage.”

In addition to excellent accommodation, dining, entertainment and leisure offerings, Karnika is proud of its first-rate hygiene and security practices. MV Karnika has been in Mumbai, India since 12 March 2020 and has been in India ever since.

Union Tourism Ministry of Tourism recently presented the fascinating and diverse heritage of Gujarat under ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ webinar series.

Presented by Ranjit Sinh Parmar, Secretary-Heritage Tourism Association, Gujarat and Anil Mulchandani, Author, Travel Writer and Food critic, the webinar showcased the varied tourism products of Gujarat like its beautiful Forts, Palaces, Havelis, and other historical properties that have been converted into heritage hotels or opened as homestays. 

The presenters recounted how being on West coast of India with approx. 1600 kms of coastline Gujarat had attracted traders, travellers, migrants and refugees from time immemorial.   The presenters highlighted the tangible and intangible heritage of Gujarat as well as the cache of heritage hotels, homestays, museums, lifestyle event venues and film shooting locations that the State has to offer. Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series is an effort to showcase India’s rich diversity under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat and it is continuously spreading spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat through virtual platform.

The state encompasses some sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, such as Lothal, Dholavira and GolaDhoro. Lothal is believed to be one of the world's first seaports. Gujarat's coastal cities, chiefly Bharuch and Khambhat, served as ports and trading centres in the Maurya and Gupta empires, and during the succession of royal Saka dynasties from the Western Satraps era. 

The webinar gave a virtual view of different aspects of Gujarat starting with the architectural trail in North Gujarat bordering the state of Rajasthan, showcasing the beautiful stepwells, lakes, Harvesting structure, Rani ki vav, Pathan, Kumbariya Jain temple etc.  Raniki Vav is an 11th century stepwell and has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.  

Sabre Corporation has renewed its long-term, worldwide distribution agreement with Air New Zealand. Under the renewed agreement, Sabre will continue to distribute global Air New Zealand content to hundreds of thousands of travel agents and thousands of corporations globally through its extensive travel marketplace. The agreement also includes an opt-in content program in New Zealand and Australia, which provides agencies with access to Air New Zealand’s preferential content through the Sabre marketplace.  

“The eyes of the world have watched New Zealand’s exemplary handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and we’re excited to announce our renewed agreement with Air New Zealand and to continue to support their digital customer and retailing strategy.,” said Rakesh Narayanan, Vice President, Regional General Manager, Asia and Pacific, Travel Solutions, Airline Sales.

“We’re delighted to renew our distribution agreement with Sabre” said Andrew Dale, Regional General Manager Sales & Alliances, Air New Zealand. “As we look to further ramp up domestic and eventually international operations, it’s vital that customers have choice and flexibility in booking through their preferred channel. The value of our travel agency partners cannot be underestimated in helping travellers to make the best choices and regain trust in travel during this time, and we’re thrilled to be able to connect to them through Sabre’s Global Distribution System (GDS).”

Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board Launched #BufferMeinSafar campaign for all the wildlife lovers. The campaign aims to attract more tourists to the National Parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Madhya Pradesh. The National Parks holds such a fierce, unshakable fascination that they are ready to host the tourist with all the safety guideline.

During the monsoon months from July to September the core area of the forests are closed but the buffer areas of the forest remains open for exploration. The campaign title #BufferMeinSafar itself highlights that the wildlife of Madhya Pradesh will offer activities in its buffer areas including Wildlife Safaris, Bird Watching etc. Besides the thrill of spotting various species in the buffer zones, the different hues of green cover is a feast to the eyes. These activities enthrall the tourist towards the beautiful wildlife of Madhya Pradesh.

MP Tourism looks forward to boost morale and bring back the confidence in the tourism sector by offering tour packages to the tourists that are specially designed keeping in mind safe travel, stay, and excursion for prevention during pandemic. In order to facilitate smooth travel, the board has come up with short road itineraries mainly for 2 -3 nights and solves the boredom of a weekend from the neighbouring states with all safety measures that are required at the destination.

Madhya Pradesh has numerous wildlife destinations with 6 Tiger reserves- Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Pench, Panna, Satpura and Sanjay Dubri, 11 National parks & 24 Wildlife sanctuaries such as Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary and Chambal Ghadiyal Sanctuary. Madhya Pradesh has re-gained the tag of being “The Tiger State of the Country” by having maximum Tiger count (526) in the state.

To assure tourists that Sharjah’s travel and tourism establishments are looking after their health and safety, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) has launched the ‘Sharjah Safe for Tourism’ stamp, a mark of assurance given to all establishments in Sharjah which fully adhere to the public health protocols and guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. The stamp follows the measures set out by the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) ‘Safe Travels’ stamp, the world’s first global safety and hygiene stamp for travel and tourism.

SCTDA, in collaboration with Sharjah Health Authority (SHA), has commenced inspecting various establishments in the emirate to ensure compliance with the required health and safety measures. This latest move is in line with Sharjah’s gradual easing of restrictions to reopen public and private facilities in the tourism sector such as hotels, restaurants, shops, malls, leisure and recreation destinations, including beaches, swimming pools, and golf courses, among others, enabling services to be provided while reassuring visitors of their safety during their visit.

Residents and tourists visiting the emirate can look for the ‘Safety Assured’ stamp displayed in the establishment prior to making a booking or upon entry. The stamp is a visual symbol which gives instant recognition of the establishment’s compliance to the precautionary measures being implemented by the government, reassuring consumers of the safety of the location.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, SCTDA, said, “Sharjah has always maintained the emirate as a safe destination for tourists and we continue to keep these standards high especially amidst global efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Our main priority is the health and safety of residents and visitors alike, which led to the development of the ‘Safety Assured’ stamp, employing the protocols set by the World Travel and Tourism Council under their ‘Safe Travels’ stamp programme to assure tourists of a secure and relaxing experience at every stage of their journey and stay in Sharjah.”

He further added, “We have outlined the precautionary measures for all hotels to ensure their guests can enjoy the establishment’s facilities with full confidence. SCTDA continuously monitors premises to ensure compliance with precautionary measures to make sure they are fully prepared to receive guests with the highest standards of hygiene and safety.”

Abdulla Ali Al Mahyan, Chairman, Sharjah Health Authority (SHA), said, "Sharjah has always remained keen on applying the latest in international standards and best practices, particularly in the field of health and safety to ensure that the emirate’s citizens, residents and visitors are well protected. In line with this, the Sharjah Health Authority is working in close partnership with the SCTDA to implement the required preventive measures ensuring public health and health security. We are confident that the 'Sharjah Safe for Tourism' stamp will serve as an incentive and visible symbol of reassurance. We call on all establishments and individuals in the emirate to adhere to the comprehensive preventive and precautionary measures to help prevent and eliminate this pandemic."

SCTDA will exclusively grant the stamp to organizations which comply with the international health protocols as well as local guidelines. The establishment may display the stamp on their websites, marketing collaterals and other platforms that are visible to the public. There are several guidelines being implemented, including the use of thermal scanners and cameras at entrances and restaurants enforcing two-meter social distancing between tables.

Sharjah has received the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from WTTC, which is testament to the city’s efforts to implement safety protocols in line with international standards. The ‘Safe Travels’ stamp is a self-assessment guideline and is not a certification. It is a mark of confirmation that the countries, destination authorities and companies that have achieved the stamp, have implemented, and will ensure ongoing compliance with the ‘Safe Travels’ protocols.

Insight Vacations, the worldwide leader in premium guided holidays, has announced its brand new launch of small, private group journeys for 12+ guests that are typically part of its Autumn, Winter, Spring (AWS) itineraries to Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and North America. Guests can now create their own travel bubble on their selected AWS journey with the new Private Group Option for an added benefit to their premium journey and select from 38 specific itineraries included in the 2020/2021 AWS collection of journeys*.

The new offering was developed as the brand innovates in the industry, keeping guests’ well-being and comfort in mind while truly understanding the current traveller’s needs around re-connecting with their families and friends in a post-COVID-19 world. The new Small Private Group Option will be available in destinations that are expected to make a strong comeback in countries like Switzerland, Morocco, Israel and Jordan. Further, guests can change their travel plans up to 30 days before the departure of their journey as part of Insight’s flexibility promise.

Anthony Lim, Managing Director for Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, said, “We’re seeing travel starting to make a comeback and in 2021, we anticipate the rise of multi-generational travel as more people seek to reconnect with their loved ones and extended family members and friends. To help our guests travel in the most comfortable way possible, we wanted to introduce the Private Group Option for smaller and more intimate group travel. We’ll also be able to tailor-make trips for clients who would like enhanced personalization and specific experiences where we take care of all the details."

In addition to the added value for guests with the Small Private Group option, Insight will continue prioritising its guests’ well-being and peace of mind in a post-COVID-19 world. The award-winning brand has put numerous new measures in place to elevate its hygiene standards and protocols to adapt to the new world. Furthermore, The Travel Corporation’s specific Peace of Mind promise is outlined here and indicates the comfort guests are offered by knowing that the company, under which Insight Vacations operates, is financially secure and highly solvent. To ensure guests can take their dearest friends and family on a private journey with utmost reassurance, clients will have team members available throughout the experience to guarantee well-being protocols are being met. This will include a passionate Travel Director as well as the experienced driver of Insight’s motorcoach where guests will be physically distanced with ample personal space and comfort thanks to Insight Vacations’ uniquely customized motorcoaches. 

Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), operator of Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, (KIAB/ BLR Airport), has embarked upon a journey to make BLR Airport a one-stop location for exotic, endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna. BIAL has imported the exotic Mediterranean trees and plants from Spain and Italy. This includes world-renowned Dragon Trees (Dracaena Draco) and Cupressus varieties.

After a 10-week voyage from Europe, followed by a two-day road trip from Mumbai, the trees and plants, packed in temperature-controlled containers, arrived in Bengaluru in good health. All the plants and trees will be kept in a greenhouse for 10 weeks to acclimatise to the local weather and soil conditions, before they are moved to their respective locations. The arrival of this consignment marks the beginning of the process of acquiring exotic, rare, endangered and threatened flora and fauna from across the world.

Prasannamurti Desai, Head – Landscaping, BIAL said, “BIAL has always focused on maintaining aesthetic green spaces – right from the inception of BLR Airport. The gardens at the Airport are one of our most outstanding features, and passengers have now come to expect this natural beauty when they pass through the Airport. In keeping with Bengaluru’s image as the Garden City of India, BIAL is working to reflect this image at the Airport by creating world-class landscapes. This will ensure that our landscape endorses the building of biodiversity and sustainability, in keeping with the garden-themed Terminal 2.”

Kerala will work in tandem with Tourism Boards of other states to revitalize domestic tourism that has suffered a huge beating from the COVID-19 pandemic and would promote Ayurveda, eco-tourism and adventure tourism in a major way to get the tourism sector back on its feet. 

“Kerala Tourism will work together with other state tourism departments so that a tourist travelling from one state to another has a hassle-free experience. We expect to welcome guests in the next one or two months,” Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister, Kerala, said.

Surendran was speaking at the valedictory session of the two-day Tourism E-Conclave, ‘Travel & Hospitality: What’s Next?’, which concluded on Thursday.

“We are starting off by reviving domestic tourism, first within our own state, followed by other states. An action plan for the revival of the tourism sector is being drawn up and several support schemes are under the consideration of the Kerala Government, including assistance to tourism stakeholders and employees,” Surendran said.  

Kerala Tourism is looking forward to collaborating with other State Tourism Boards as well as the Union Ministry of Tourism for the promotion of domestic tourism, he told the e-conclave, organised by FICCI.

Further, Ayurveda would be promoted in a major way, considering the importance of healing and wellness in the current COVID scenario. Plans are also afoot to promote eco-tourism and adventure tourism among domestic tourists.

The minister also assured to fully support the unified guidelines and protocols chalked out by the Union Ministry of Tourism, saying these would serve as a road map for the states to revitalize domestic tourism and reinstate India’s position as a high value destination.

Asserting that Kerala would also be making its presence felt on the Incredible India digital platform by providing relevant content, the minister revealed that plans are afoot to prepare itineraries that include destinations in the neighbouring states as well.  

Surendran said the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled life around the world. “It has shattered economies, and travel and tourism is one of the major sectors that has been badly hit. It's an unprecedented crisis and Kerala Tourism is slowly finding its feet. We have a long way to go, but we are on the right path,” he added. 

Observing that the crisis management experience gained from the 2018 floods and the Nipah outbreak has also helped Kerala to combat the coronavirus effectively, he said Kerala Tourism stands in solidarity with the travel trade across the world and is doing all it can to minimize the impact on travel as well as trade.

 “We are sure we’ll defeat all odds and make a remarkable comeback. The strong synergy between the private and public sector will be a key driving force on our road to recovery,” he said. 

 

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