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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Etihad Airways has today announced the extension of its flights between Abu Dhabi and Zanzibar to 14 January 2023.

The service will continue to be operated at the current schedule of three times weekly until 26 November, when a fourth weekly flight will be introduced for the end of year holidays.

The flights will be operated on modern Airbus A320 aircraft, providing travellers with a range of travel options to the popular Indian Ocean archipelago throughout the week.

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Global Sales & Cargo, said: “Zanzibar is an incredible destination and Etihad looks forward to welcoming more travellers on their way to experience the natural splendour of its islands.

“Our seasonal Zanzibar flights have proven extremely popular with guests from the UAE and across Europe, especially Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy, and Etihad is on track the pass the 10,000-passenger milestone over the next few weeks.”

Etihad’s seasonal Zanzibar service this year was launched on 17 June and initially scheduled to operate until 18 September before being extended throughout 2022.

ITA Airways will launch non-stop services between India and Italy from 4 December 2022. The new flight will be operated with Airbus A330 with three weekly frequencies every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The flight from Rome Fiumicino instead foresees departure at 14.10 and landing in New Delhi at 2.00am, local time. The new route launch will provide the most convenient connections from New Delhi to Rome and beyond to key destinations within Italy, Europe, North America & South America.

DEX GROUP, one of the leading GSA Groups in India, will represent ITA Airways as their General Sales Agent (GSA) in India. “We are confident that DEX Group will support ITA Airways to establish a strong sale and marketing network across India to achieve our commercial goals from the Indian market” said Fabio Bigotti, the recently appointed ITA Airways Country Manager for India.

The recently launched ‘The Westin Goa’ appointed Devidyuti Ghosh as their Director of Operations. Devidyuti has 14 years of expertise in the hospitality sector and has translated strategic vision into quantifiable results at several hotels.

Devidyuti will be in charge of leading the hotel’s operations and ensuring that high standards of customer satisfaction are always met. She will also be leading operations for Food & Beverage, Culinary, Engineering. Front office, Housekeeping, Recreation, Spa & Health Club as well liaison with Revenue and Sales & Marketing to identify areas of incremental revenue and implementing strategies across operations.

She was a part of the Asia Pacific team responsible for integration of Legacy Starwood Hotel. Her prior stints with Marriott include Director of Rooms at The Westin Goa and Front Office Manager and Director of Rooms at JW Marriott Kolkata and JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu. She is a hospitality graduate Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata and was a podium finisher for all academic years.

Accor and InterGlobe Hotels launch their new hotel - ibis Bengaluru Hebbal. Strategically located opposite Manyata Tech Park, ibis Hebbal Bengaluru is straddled between the IT Hubs of Outer Ring Road-Whitefield and the Bengaluru Airport.

This 21st ibis hotel in India reflects vibrant interiors, lively ambience and new-generation design. The 8-floor ibis Bengaluru Hebbal features 154 rooms with large windows and the much loved ‘Sweet Bed’ by ibis.

The new-age rooms are designed to ensure comfort, featuring a couch that can be used as a third bed, a

JB Singh, President & CEO, InterGlobe Hotels, said, “We are delighted with the opening of our brand-new ibis hotel in Hebbal, Bengaluru. This is the fourth ibis hotel in the city and our designers have done an exceptional job of curating this unique lifestyle product to match the needs and demands of the new age travellers. With every new hotel, we strive to provide our guests with unique experiences through innovative design, best in class amenities, and our commitment to providing the highest level of service. ibis Bengaluru Hebbal has been designed with our ‘New Generation’ theme, which features highly dynamic, colourful and lively public areas as well as a uniquely crafted authentic dining experience. The rooms are specifically designed to reflect the history, culture and heritage of the city. With the launch of our most recent properties, ibis Bengaluru Hebbal and ibis Mumbai Vikhroli, we are elated to say that we have raised the bar for quality accommodation in the country. We will continue to further push our design boundaries by bringing in global experiences to appeal to the discerning, design-conscious youth of today.”

Commenting on the opening, Puneet Dhawan, Senior Vice President – Operations, Accor India & South Asia said, "The 21st ibis property in India, located in Hebbal, Bengaluru, has begun operations, demonstrating the brand's robust growth and popularity in the country. With an exciting pipeline, our select service portfolio is also driving momentum for growth in the region. ibis Bengaluru Hebbal is a perfect blend of custom designs and user-friendly technology. Located in the Silicon Valley of India, the aim with the new ibis is to meet the evolving needs of travellers with our renewed lifestyle approach & loyalty programs. The city is known to attract both business and leisure travellers, and this launch will provide them with a comfortable stay with a dynamic atmosphere to suit a globetrotter's tastes. We are excited to offer the best in the segment option to cater to our consumers planning to visit Hebbal.”

Speaking on the launch, Irfan Khatry, General Manager, ibis Bengaluru Hebbal said, “Bengaluru is expanding at a fast pace and with ibis Bengaluru Hebbal, we aim to cover another micro-market in the city. To cash in on this growth trend, we are pleased to announce the launch of the fourth ibis in Bangalore to attract business travellers in the area. We ensure to offer all the contemporary amenities and fascinating hospitality experiences that will make every guest’s stay a memorable experience.”

Espire Hospitality Group unveils its new resort, ‘ZANA Lake Resort, Udaipur’ on the scenic Udai Sagar Lake. This is group’s first resort under their newest brand, ‘ZANA - Luxury Escapes’.

Named after the rare purple lily, ‘ZANA’ experience is an escape from the ordinary into a world of indulgence and exclusivity.

“We are extremely delighted to debut our new brand ‘ZANA - Luxury Escapes’ in the historic city of Udaipur that displays a robust demand for high-end hospitality from affluent travellers, from around the globe. This opening marks a significant milestone for our group’s expansion in India” said Akhil Arora, Chief Operating Officer, Espire Hospitality Group.

For ‘ZANA - Luxury Escapes’, we aim to create experiences that will be new to the Indian hospitality landscape. The brand concept has been planned after extensive research on what the Indian market currently has to offer and how we can develop a distinctive luxury experience. We are certain that the ZANA experience will give our guests many stories to tell and reasons to return,” he added.

Leading B2B online DMC has announced an incentive in the shape of ESOPs (Employee Stock Option Plan) to reward the company’s 14 key employees on the eve of the 12th Foundation Day.

These 14 employees have been handpicked based on their long-term association, contribution and commitment to the company’s growth and vision. The recognition has been through the rank and file, ranging from frontline executives to HOD's.

This is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the travel and tourism industry, where ESOPs are being issued & wealth is shared with employees by a self-funded Private Limited company.

According to the scheme, employees of TravelBullz will be able to vest their ESOPs after a period of 2 years. The grant of ESOP shall generate wealth for the ESOP holders in line with the company's valuation in 2 years.

K. D. Singh, Founder & President of TravelBullz, said “We owe our growth in the last 12 years to our people and their dedication. We wish to reward their complete ownership, their unflinching support through the pandemic and their outstanding performance. I wish that in the coming years' everyone working with TravelBullz should have ESOPs so that they could align their growth to the company's growth.”

Shalini Nair, Founding Member, TravelBullz, added, “Our employees are our most valuable asset, and their devotion and hard work have allowed us to expand significantly in the last year. This ESOPs is our method of expressing our gratitude in a very humble way to our employees and, as a result, making them stakeholders in our success.”

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the week-long Onam celebrations, setting the stage for presenting before a wider audience a variety of classical, folk, ethnic and popular art forms in multiple venues in the state capital and districts across the state in the next seven days.

Opening the state-wide celebrations organised by the Kerala Tourism Department at a grand function at Nishagandhi, Kanakakkunnu Palace grounds here, he described Onam as an enduring symbol of hope, resilience and resurgence which has an added significance this time as humanity is recovering from the disruptions caused by the Covid-19.

“Onam this time comes with promise and hope. In the last two years, humanity had passed through an unprecedented situation that curbed festivals and get-togethers. As the pandemic is receding, the festive spirit and the happiness that get-togethers bring are back in our lives. However, Covid has not completely vanished, and we have to continue our vigil against its return and spread,” Vijayan added.

Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, who presided over the function, said Onam spreads the message of equality, which has a great relevance in this era.  

Minister for General Education and Labour V Sivankutty, in his welcome address, said post Covid, people have swiftly embraced the real spirit of Onam with overwhelming enthusiasm.  

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies GR Anil; Minister for Transport Antony Raju; Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP; A A Rahim, MP; IB Satheesh, MLA; Kadakampally Surendran, MLA; VK Prasanth, MLA; D Suresh Kumar, President, District Panchayat; KS Sreenivas, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism; and PB Nooh, Director, Kerala Tourism, were present on the occasion. 

Aparna Balamurali, who won the national award for best actress, and actor Dulquer Salmaan were the Chief Guests. 

Noting that Onam is his favourite festival, Dulquer Salmaan lauded the efforts of Kerala Tourism for magnificently conducting Onam celebrations. 

Balamurali said it’s heartening to see the vibrancy and ecstasy of the people in capital city for the Onam celebrations. Heralding the festival ahead of the inaugural ceremony, Ilanjithara Melam, led by Kalamandalam Sivadas, was performed at Nishagandhi auditorium.

The festival will feature over 8,000 artistes, half of whom are from traditional streams. The cultural extravaganza will conclude on September 12 with colourful pageantries in the state capital and other centres.

As part of the Onam celebrations, special illumination has turned the capital city into glittering zones from Kaudiar to East Fort and from Vellayambalam to Sasthamangalam.

The festival has, over the years, become one of the most popular cultural events that enthrals both tourists visiting the Kerala during the season and the local communities as well.

In the capital district alone, programmes will be staged in as many as 32 venues.

Research by ICICI Lombard states an increase of 76 % in India’s travel insurance on international travels post-pandemic compared to 50% before pandemic, as 94 percent of those planning to travel overseas will subsequently purchase travel insurance for their trip. Additionally, digital adoption is high for travel insurance purchases, as almost 1/3rd of customers looking for travel insurance visit the insurance company websites to purchase the travel insurance, while the other 30% purchase from online aggregators and online travel platforms.

ICICI Lombard, to understand customer perceptions towards travel insurance conducted the survey to understand traveler’s purchasing behaviors The survey also helps to understand the difference in perception between leisure and business travel, willingness to purchase insurance & the importance of travel insurance in current scenarios & awareness on COVID-related coverage. The study also highlights that international travel post-pandemic is more purpose-driven, i.e., for business/work and medical reasons.

The survey points out the impetus of pandemic driving travel insurance from being just a commodity to a necessity as post-pandemic, awareness and adoption of travel insurance increased significantly. COVID coverage is the key benefit travelers seek while looking for travel insurance, not just medical coverage as more than 1/4th of customers bought travel insurance policies due to a COVID medical cover. Also, an increase in post-pandemic trips to USA/ Canada (1.6x) and Europe (1.4x) similar to Asia and Australia was observed.

Commenting on the research Mr. Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard said, “Our research indicates that the outbreak has raised awareness of the importance of travel insurance. Before the pandemic, only 50% of international travelers purchased travel insurance, but after the pandemic, that number has risen to 76%. Customers are increasingly cautious and seek adequate medical cover, including COVID-19 cover for overseas trips. The bulk of travel purchases always took place digitally, with the numbers now only increasing. Once perceived to be not so important, travel insurance is now a necessity. With ‘revenge travel ‘ now back in vogue, we see a huge opportunity and are delighted to note that one-third of respondents chose ICICI Lombard as the preferred partner of choice.”

Travelport and American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) announced they have renewed their strategic relationship with a multi-year agreement which includes the use of Travelport’s next generation selling platform, Travelport+. Enhancements in Travelport+ are targeted to improve access to content, providing more retailing capabilities and enhancing productivity for travel counselors.

“We value our relationship with Amex GBT which has lasted more than 40 years. Deepening our collaboration by using Travelport+ will benefit both Amex GBT and its business customers,” said Jason Toothman, Chief Commercial Officer - Agency at Travelport. “Combining Amex GBT’s expertise with our modern travel retailing tools will ultimately improve how corporate travel is managed. The introduction of Travelport+ servicing capabilities and retailing improvements will ensure continued focus on delivering customer, traveler and supplier value to Amex GBT’s marketplace,” he added.

“Our agreement with Travelport remains focused on innovation and ensuring our customers have access to the broadest set of content while continuing to deliver best-in-class servicing,” said John Bukowski, Vice President, Content and Strategic Sourcing. “Our planned upgrade to Travelport+ and shared vision to advance travel retailing with modern technology and process simplification will help the Amex GBT marketplace deliver on its promise and fuel our mission to drive progress through travel,” he added.

Sandeep Dwivedi, COO at InterGlobe Technology Quotient, says, “This relationship holds immense importance for us, and we are elated to announce this agreement renewal. With our innovative travel technology solutions backing Amex GBT’s marketplace, we look forward to establishing a lasting partnership.”

Club Mahindra, the flagship brand of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, launched its newest digital campaign starring the ‘Mast Mast’ actor Raveena Tandon. An extension of the campaign, ‘We Cover India. You Discover India’, the film was launched this week. The campaign is based on the insight that if holidays feel like a breeze, it's because of all the little things that moms plan on a trip for their family and loved ones. From decoding holiday moods to sensing food cravings, our #FamilyKiSuperWoman go out of their way to ensure family holidays are fun.

Sharing his thoughts on the campaign with Raveena Tandon, Pratik Mazumder, Chief Marketing Officer, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited, says, "Club Mahindra has been providing great holiday experiences across India to our member families for more than 25 years. This year, we wanted to highlight the softer & emotional aspect of a Caring Family Brand that understands Family & its needs more than the “Mother of the Household”. A mother who goes out of the way to balance the different needs of family members while deciding on a holiday destination; makes everything feel like a breeze. Through this campaign, we wish to acknowledge the small things that our #FamilyKiSuperWoman plans for her family and loved ones”.



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