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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas announced upcoming addition to the brand’s portfolio in Portugal. As part of Anantara’s strategic expansion across Europe, Anantara Royal Vila Viçosa will launch in 2024 as the second Anantara property in Portugal.

Located in the emerging tourism region of Alentejo, the property will feature 50 guest rooms, 10 suites and 16 residences. The project is a strategic partnership between the Portuguese Group Investaureum and Anantara, with the aim of transforming a former monastery in Vila Viçosa, which is an iconic and prestigious building from the 15th century, into a five-star luxury hotel. Anantara will be bringing its experience-led authentic luxury to this beautiful property.

The interior design will be led by the award-winning global architecture, urbanism and design studio Broadway Malyan with the aim of keeping the history of the existing building front of mind and respecting the vast history and heritage of Vila Viçosa, to create a truly relaxing and sophisticated retreat.

Dillip Rajakarier, Group CEO of Minor International and CEO of Minor Hotels, the parent company of Anantara, commented “We are delighted to continue the expansion of our luxury Anantara brand in Portugal in the historic town of Vila Viçosa. Located in Alentejo, an increasingly sought-after tourist destination, the upcoming Anantara Royal Vila Vicosa Resort promises unforgettable experiences that characterise the brand”.

Gonçalo Carrington, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Investaureum Group, commented, “The Investaureum Group is proud to partner with Minor Hotels and the Anantara brand. It is a real pleasure to embrace this project, not only due to the beauty of the property but also giving the opportunity to highlight Investaureum as a developer and promoter, where the refurbishment and legacy of heritage buildings, combined with the social responsibility and investment in regions of low population density, are the main drive.

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organized the 5th Global Film Tourism Conclave (GFTC) with the theme ‘Unleashing the Power of Cinematic Tourism’ on 1 July 2022 in Mumbai.

Inaugurating the Conclave, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Cabinet Minister for Minority Affairs, said, “It is a pronounced initiative to make India the most attractive filmmaking destination globally. India has everything that the industry needs to thrive: diversified landscape, resources and immense potential.”

 Films are an important pacesetter for the society, and they should have a local approach to reach out to local audiences easily; this could lead to a transformative and more acquainted society, Naqvi added.

He also urged the industry members and other stakeholders to work together with the government in this journey to build up a strong and resilient environment for Film Tourism to grow at a faster pace.

Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said that the Indian film industry is progressing dynamically with double-digit growth and producing more than 1200 films every year in multiple languages. The industry was valued at 183 billion rupees in the financial year 2020.

“In view of the above, Ministry of Tourism is placing great emphasis on the promotion of Film Tourism and is enabling the States to prepare suitable policies to facilitate shooting permissions with single-window clearances for film projects and provide necessary incentives to attract filmmakers. Ministry also recognizes such efforts through the National Tourism Award given each year under the category ‘Most Film Tourism Friendly State,” Singh added.

He also spoke about the importance of Indian films which has received international recognition and has played an active role to promote travel to India. “Today, many countries and their tourism boards are targeting Indian filmmakers to showcase their destinations and attract tourists. India also needs to step up its efforts to attract foreign filmmakers as it is an ideal destination to shoot movies with its diversity of locations, lower costs, skilled yet inexpensive manpower and plenty of local talent,” he said.

Renowned veterans of the Indian film industry and leading Filmmakers –Randhir Kapoor, Anees Bazmee and Rahul Rawail were felicitated during the programme for their contribution towards the Indian Cinema.

 Ravinder Bhakar, CEO, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) & Managing Director, National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) mentioned that films play an important role in the society. Contribution of the industry is immense in the country’s economic growth.

 “Permission is easily granted to both domestic & international filmmakers to make the shooting process easier. The government is working on incentives and packages for the film industry for increasing distribution bandwidth and promotion of tourism. The only concern is exploitation of the destination which should be treated more sensitively,” said Bhakar.

Dr. Sujit Kumar Dutta, Secretary, Animal Welfare Board of India, talked about the rules and regulations made to make process and shooting easier and convenient for the Filmmakers. “We have a committee for the same to support the industry to facilitate ease in film making. Movies have a great impact on society, so cruel and harsh scenes are avoided so that society is less impacted. Government is working in this direction by significant initiatives and schemes for the industry,” said Dutta. 

 

Several other Film and TV personalities –Manoj Joshi, Nandita Puri, Ranbir Pushp, Ruhan Kapoor, Mickey Singh Narula and Hasleen Kaur were felicitated during the programme.

 Mukesh Gupta, Chair – Entertainment, Media, Art & Culture Committee, PHDDCI, shared his perspective in promoting Film Tourism while having synergies between Production Houses, Film Commissions and Tourism Boards.

Rajan Sehgal, Co-Chair – Tourism & Hospitality Committee, PHDCCI, said, “Several destinations have gained in terms of tourist influx by being the location of popular domestic and international cinema. A major issue that Filmmakers face in India is non-availability of a single window clearance facility towards all filming permissions. A few Indian states have started a single window clearance system; however, all state governments must consider setting up of online portals for single window clearance facility.”

Panel Discussions for promotion of Film Tourism in India as well as in other countries were conducted during the Conclave. In parallel to the Panel Discussions, there was an Exhibition Platform for destinations and private organizations to showcase their locations, tax incentives and other services.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation today announced the opening of Hyatt Regency Jaipur Mansarovar. The 245-rrom property underlines Hyatt’s focus on strengthening its brand presence across urban and resort destinations in India.

The opening marks the third Hyatt hotel in one of India’s most sought-after tourist destinations. Spread across an area of approximately five acres, Hyatt Regency Jaipur Mansarovar is conveniently located in the scenic surroundings of Mansarovar in Jaipur.

"As one of the most preferred and culturally rich destinations for Indian and global travelers, we are extremely excited to welcome guests and World of Hyatt members to Hyatt Regency Jaipur Mansarovar,” said Nikhil Gandhi, General Manager Hyatt Regency Jaipur Mansarovar.

“With its opening, there are now three Hyatt hotels in Rajasthan, reiterating Hyatt’s focus on growing its brand presence in destinations where guests prefer to travel.”

The 245-room property is spread across two wings – the Royal Wing and the Tower Wing – and guests can enjoy accommodations across various room categories, including 34 suites. The Royal Wing brings 65 Royal rooms, 41 Regency Club rooms, nine Royal Deluxe rooms, and four categories of Suites - including Royal Majestic, Royal Prestige, Royal Diplomat and the Presidential Suite.  The Tower Wing offers 96 Standard Rooms and eight Regency Executive Suites.

With over 53,000 square feet (5,000 square meters) of function space, the hotel offers thematic indoor spaces for large and private gatherings and expansive outdoor locations with a magnificent backdrop of the hotel. 

Akasa Air today unveiled the first look of its airline crew uniform, featuring a youthful and contemporary design, and colours that reflect the warm, friendly and happy personality of Akasa Air. Keeping in mind ergonomics, aesthetics and comfort, Akasa Air is the first Indian airline to have introduced custom trousers, jackets, and comfortable sneakers for its airline in-flight crew.

The uniform is inspired by the company’s core beliefs of employee centricity and sustainability. The trouser and jacket fabric has been specially made for Akasa Air, using recycled polyester fabric which is made from pet bottle plastic salvaged from marine waste.

Given the mobile lifestyle of crew members and long hours spent standing, Vanilla Moon designed sneakers that are light, and contain extra cushioning from heel to toe to ensure better support.

In line with Akasa Air's approach towards sustainability, the sole of the sneakers is carved from recycled rubber and manufactured without any use of plastic.

Describing the inspiration behind the uniform, Belson Coutinho, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Experience Officer, Akasa Air, said, “Employee centricity and sustainability are going to be at the core of everything that we do at Akasa Air. We have designed a uniform in which our team feels both proud and comfortable as they direct their energy to ensure a warm, friendly, and efficient flying experience for all our passengers".

“These uniforms are a perfect amalgamation of style and sustainability and reflect Akasa Air's core values. From concept to the final outcome, it has been an exciting journey for me to work on these designs and present one of the most unique, sustainable and functional uniforms of our times,” said Rajesh Pratap Singh, who worked with Akasa Air to create the uniform.

Deepika Mehra, Founder, Vanilla Moon, added, “We are delighted to share this shoe design - which is sustainably produced, functional, comfortable, gender-neutral and contemporary. The design also reflects Akasa Air’s employee-centric culture to ensure their comfort."

Akasa Air received the delivery of its first Boeing 737 max aircraft in India on June 21. The airline is now gearing up for its commercial launch by the end of July. It will be conducting its proving flights in the first week of July to obtain the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) required for its commercial launch.

Genesys, a global cloud leader in customer experience orchestration, has collaborated with Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) to embark on a journey of digital transformation with IHCL’s Digital Omni-Channel Contact-Centre Solution (Project I-DOCS).

The project deploys Genesys Multicloud CXTM, a full-featured omnichannel solution, to re-explore IHCL’s contact centre strategy and enhance customer engagement.

Genesys Multicloud CX unifies voice and digital channels, self-service, and work items by moving the company’s contact centres to the cloud. It offers a seamless delivery system that enhances both, IHCL’s reservation team and customer engagement, using more proactive communication and efficiency tools to ensure the delivery of high-quality experience throughout the entire customer journey. The deployment of a centralised reservation network combined with a detailed reporting framework; real-time analytics; and integrated voice, chat and email channels help further enhance IHCL’s overall customer experience.

Speaking about the collaboration, Raja Lakshmipathy, Managing Director, India and SAARC, Genesys, said, “The customer journey comprises of many micro-moments that define CX. Genesys Multicloud CX provides an enhanced experience orchestration, which acts as a key differentiator for any brand in today’s digital-first era. Our collaboration with IHCL has allowed us to streamline customer engagement strategies and provide personalised and improved experiences. We are proud to partner with IHCL for this project.”

The implementation of the Genesys Multicloud CX, in close collaboration with its implementation partner CS Infocomm, has enabled IHCL to further elevate its next-generation customer experience (CX) quotient through multiple customer touchpoints and platforms by improving the customer service team’s efficiency.

Vinay Deshpande, Senior Vice President & Head of Digital & IT, IHCL said, “As a customer-centric organization, it is our endeavour to ensure the highest level of customer engagement across all our platforms. Project I-DOCS allows us to cater to the next-generation of digital-first customers. With the belief that great CX sits at the intersection of transformation and orchestration, our partnership with Genesys has helped us elevate our customer experience from the ground up.”

The implementation of I-DOCS supported by Genesys Multicloud CX has enabled IHCL to achieve faster response time, reduce call drop rates, meet any unexpected surges in call volume, and address a constantly evolving set of requirements and optimise agent resources while providing an enhanced and empathetic customer experience.

Renest Hotels & Resorts announced the opening of 74-keys Renest Haridwar. With this launch, the group has further consolidated its position in the spiritual segment. This is the group ‘s third property in the spiritual tourism sector, others being in Shirdi and Tirupati, and the hospitality chain’s tenth hotel in the country.

The property is spread over 60,000 square feet of the holy land, situated at the Rishikesh Highway adjoining Sridhar Ashram, Motichur Range in Uttarakhand, India.

 It is within comfortable driving distance to popular tourist attractions such as the Rajaji National Park, Chilla Tiger Reserve and is also in close proximity to Har ki Pauri and Bharat Mata Mandir. The hotel is well connected to major cities of the country via railways and airways.

Renest Hotels & Resorts, Rahul Rai, Executive Director, UMIL Hotels (Parent company of Renest Hotels and Resorts) said, “The company’s vision is to operate 100 hotels in the next five years and we as boutique hotels & resorts chain plan to offer experiential stays to the guests with our miscellaneous, layered portfolio, wherein we will have something exceptional for contemporary, prudent travellers who seek adventure, serenity and a holistic experience.”

Vishal Lonkar, General Manager, Brand Development at Renest Hotels and Resorts, while talking about the launch of their new boutique hotel in Haridwar said “We are pleased to announce the launch of Renest Haridwar as this will be one of the newest hotels situated at the Rishikesh Highway and our third venture into the spiritual segment. We hope with our diverse hotel portfolio, virtuous ambience and committed ground staff, we provide memorable and extravagant travel experiences to our patrons.”

Wonderla Holidays Ltd announced the signing of an agreement with Odisha government for the development of an amusement park project in Bhubaneshwar.

Wonderla has leased a 50.630-acre land for 90 years in the village of Kumarbasta, Khorda district in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. Wonderla is planning for a 115-crore investment project based on an asset -light business model.

"The Odisha Government had invited Wonderla Holidays to their state to set up a park in Bhubaneshwar and have been very helpful. They have been giving us a lot of favourable terms and a lot of incentives are being given for us to set up the park in Bhubaneshwar. The funding for the same will be a combination of internal accruals and some debts according to internal reports," said Mr. Arun K Chittilappilly, Managing Director, Wonderla Holidays.

Wonderla Holidays operates three Wonderla brand amusement parks in South India. The company opened its first park in Kochi in 2000, second one in 2005 at Bengaluru and third one in Hyderabad in 2016.

Club Mahindra, the flagship brand of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Limited, announced the launch of five new properties across the country to their portfolio.

These include RVR Sarovar Portico, Dindi on the Godavari Riverbank in Andhra Pradesh, and four new associate resorts, the Clarks Safari, in Pushkar, Rajasthan, The Driftwood Leh, the first one in Ladakh, Polo Towers, Shillong, Meghalaya and Devka Beach, Daman near Gujarat.

For more than 25 years, Club Mahindra has been one of the preferred choices for family holidays, and the company is constantly adding resorts to ‘Make Every Moment Magical’ for its members and guests. Through 80+ properties located across India, there is no one that covers India like Club Mahindra.

Choice Hotels in India will transition from a direct franchise market to a master franchise model from 1 July 2022,.

 

Under this arrangement, Suba Group of Hotels will assume responsibility as master franchise holder for the 58 Choice Hotels properties open and under development in India and hold the exclusive rights to develop the Clarion™, Quality™ and Comfort™ brands in market.

All franchised hotels will remain within the Choice Hotels network under brand, and will continue to benefit from the extensive marketing, distribution, and franchisee performance services currently in place.

Trent Fraser, CEO, Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific, said: “We’re incredibly excited to work with Suba Group of Hotels as we look to the next 15 years of portfolio growth for Choice Hotels in India.”

“Suba has an almost 30-year history in the region and has built a strong local offering in the midscale and upscale markets. Bringing the Clarion, Quality and Comfort brands to their portfolio is a natural fit, and we are delighted to welcome them to the Choice Hotels global network as a master franchisee.”

“The master franchise model has worked exceptionally well for Choice Hotels in other markets throughout Asia-Pacific, and indeed around the world. We’re confident in the collective value proposition this represents for current and prospective franchisees and are looking forward to welcoming many more properties to the Choice Hotels network in India through our collective efforts with the Suba team.”

Mansur Mehta, MD, Suba Group of Hotels, said: “We are delighted to acquire the exclusive master franchise rights to Choose Hotels’ Clarion, Quality and Comfort brands in India.

“Our dedicated team are excited by the opportunity to service and further develop these trusted and well-recognised brands as we look to aggressively expand within the region”.

Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) expresses its gratitude to the Finance Minister,  GST Council and the Chairman CBIC for favourably considering  two of its recommendations- removal of, GST on services provided outside India to foreign tourists if they take combined package of India and neighbouring countries and  secondly GST for the ferry service hired for transport of passengers including tourists used as public transport from point to point transport in Andaman & Nicobar Islands,  in the GST Council meeting held in Chandigarh.

“We have been recommending to the Ministry of Finance for the last couple of years in our budget recommendations to remove GST on services provided outside India to foreign tourists if they take a combined package of India and outside India. We thank the government for considering our request favourably and giving a clarification that “Service provided by Indian Tour operator to a foreign resident for a tour partially in India and partially outside India is to be subject to tax proportionate to the tour conducted in India for such foreign tourist subject to conditions that this concession does not exceed half of tour duration,” Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO, said.  

IATO had also requested in its budget recommendation for exemption or reducing GST on private ferry tickets at Andaman considering that these transport ferries operating in Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not luxury / tourism ferries or cruise, but they are used as means of transport and is only source of connectivity between small islands and Port Blair. The government has considered this too favourably and clarified that there would be no GST for the ferry service hired for transport of passengers including tourists used as public transport from point-to-point transport including in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

While IATO expresses its sincere thanks for the relief provided, it also urges government to remove cascading effect of GST on tour operators and GST on tour operators be charged on deemed value as in the case of Air Travel Agents, where a deemed value of 10% of gross billing of the tour operator may be considered as the taxable value on deemed basis whereas it is being charged on gross value for tour operators.

Besides this there is a small correction needed in CGST Notification No. 11/2017-CT(R) dated 28.6.2017 (as amended), where a word “and” is required to be replaced by the word “or”.

 

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