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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC Travel, have launched an extensive range of cruise holidays across international and domestic destinations, The companies intend to tap into the leisure market, special occasions, B-leisure, MICE and weddings.

Post pandemic, the companies have emerged as top sellers of India cruises (Cordelia), with over 4000 customers booked in this short span. With rapid easing of international health protocols/restrictions, the Companies’ data reflects a significant 35-40% month-on-month uptick for cruise holidays; key demand drivers being families: 41%; young professionals/millennials: 29%; couples/honeymooners: 24%. Thomas Cook and SOTC’s new Cruise Holidays aims to maximise on this strong and growing potential – with its seacations, river cruises and sustainable blue tourism programs.

Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said “Cruise holidays offer the perfect combination of entertainment and relaxation, be it for multi-generational families, young professionals/millennials and couples. What is noteworthy is that Indians are opting for sea-cations to celebrate a special occasion or a milestone – be it a cruise to nowhere for 2 nights to a luxurious sailing of 30 days! We are seeing growing preference for higher categories like ocean-view cabins and suites, reflecting clear appetite for higher spend. Our extensive portfolio of Cruise Holidays offers a delightful array of cruise experiences from favourites to new and exotic locales. And to accelerate demand, we have launched a range of unbeatable offers like Buy One-Get One Free and early bird specials on select cruise lines.”  

Daniel D’Souza, President & Country Head - Holidays, SOTC Travel, said “Cruise Holidays offer the perfect opportunity to our customers to have a diversity of fascinating experiences onboard a luxurious floating hotel. Our customers look forward to having a memorable journey by indulging themselves on the cruise with out-of-the-world gastronomic experiences, rejuvenating wellness and spa options, duty-free shopping, entertainment and adventure activities for all age groups.

Moscow City Tourism Committee will hold its roadshow in India as part of an ongoing initiative to promote Moscow as a leading tourism and business destination. The roadshow will take place in Delhi on September 9, 2022 at The Leela Palace, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. This will be the second event of Moscow City Tourism Committee in India. The others will be held in Bengaluru and Mumbai.

The Moscow Tourism Committee will bring over 10 local companies such as representatives of DMCs, hotels, and places of interest to India. The Roadshow will bring together different aspect of Moscow tourism such as cultural heritage, nature, adventure, gastronomy and many more.

According to Moscow City Tourism Committee, the capital of Russia with its diverse range of products is fast emerging as one of the most interesting and productive cities for the travel-trade, both for leisure and business travel. Post-pandemic, these Roadshow activities will be an excellent occasion for our stakeholders to renew contacts with the travel trade across India.

The Moscow City Tourism Committee is the official organization that promotes Moscow as a tourist destination around the world.

SriLankan Airlines recently took top travel agents and elite sports influencers from India to watch the first match of the test series between Sri Lanka and Australia, which was held at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka.

The visit also served an opportunity to the influencers and agents to witness normalcy in the country and how inbound tourism is flourishing across the island.

In order to inspire travellers across India which is the Airline’s single largest source market and also to reassure that Sri Lanka is welcoming and safe, the Airline took this initiative whereby inviting the tourists arriving in Sri Lanka to make the most of this much sought-after tourist paradise – with high exchange rates and great travel offers.

Ever since the easing of travel restrictions following the global pandemic, SriLankan Airlines has steered an extensive content creator campaign #NamastefromSriLanka, in order to build advocacy and familiarity to the brand SriLankan Airlines and destination Sri Lanka. Under this programme, SriLankan has welcomed over 60 elite content creators/social influencers from India so far, and the agents’ fam tour is another extension of this initiative.

SriLankan Airlines, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nuttall met the group at a fellowship and dinner where he spoke his sentiments; “We believe that Sri Lanka holds a timeless appeal to the discerning Indian traveller; whether you are travelling solo or with family; or whether you are a seasoned repeater or a first-timer. During these challenging times, I firmly believe that the India Market will be largely helpful in our bounce back efforts. I am confident that our long-standing affinity with the Indian travel trade partners will pave the way for fruitful results in the days to come.”

The Fam tour included a memorable opening day of the first test between Sri Lanka and Australia played in honour of the legend the late Shane Warne, at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, a city tour of Colombo and experiencing a range of luxury hospitality properties in Colombo and the Southern Coast of the island. The Airline also offered them a memorable flying experience inclusive of a Business Class service.

Indians were glued to their television screens to watch Indian athletes win medals across disciplines at the recently concluded XXII Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. There is a renewed enthusiasm amongst Indians to follow their countrymen/women competing in global sports.

This trend has been observed for a few years and this has prompted the travel industry to target this niche of travellers who travel across the world to either follow their favourite athletes or just soak in the atmosphere at the big event.

A series of important sporting events are around the corner, beginning with the Asia Cup to be held in Dubai later this month, the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and the most important sporting event of the year, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

This provides a unique opportunity to tour operators to tie up with partners who have the rights to the games to provide Indian sports enthusiasts with an opportunity to be part of this extravaganza. This will also help tour operators to diversify their product portfolio.

Sports Tourism is big business. The last edition of the FIFA World Cup that was held in Russia attracted over 5 million tourists out of which 2.9 million were foreign tourists. This indicates the level of movement of people enabling host countries to reap the benefits of tourism numbers.

Qatar Tourism and the football organizing committee have been holding roadshows across India as they see India as a huge growth opportunity. It is the first time ever that the FIFA World Cup is being held in the Middle East and India is just two or three hours away from the destination. The direct connectivity of flights will act as an impetus for Indian fans to travel to Qatar.

Similarly, for the upcoming Asia Cup in Dubai. Cricket has been more of a religion for Indians and the early figures point out to a large number of them already packing their bags to travel to the desert kingdom.

Likewise, Tourism Australia has renewed its marketing push and is enticing Indian fans to travel to Australia for the ICC T20 World Cup. Australia is a destination with diverse offerings and Indians are being wooed to take that long pending vacation.

One should not forget that India recently hosted the World Chess Championship in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, which attracted participants from over 180 countries.

All this points to the immense opportunity that sports tourism can offer to the travel industry. Indian corporates structure their incentive meets around these international sporting events and this is the first time that events of such scale are being organized post the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Indian travel industry should work closely with such organisers to tap the vast potential that this stream of business has to offer as the new generation of Indian travellers are open to experimentation and are seeking new ways to enjoy their holiday.

IndiGo, India’s leading carrier, becomes a signatory in the Clear Skies for Tomorrow, India Coalition campaign, spearheaded by the World Economic Forum. IndiGo’s commitment to deployment of sustainable initiatives will help in achieving a significant scale for SAF to gain a critical mass and bring in cost-efficiency for widespread adoption in India. 

IndiGo has been focused on sustainable operations for a few years and launched its first ESG report – IndiGo Green in 2021. Earlier this year, IndiGo operated its brand new A320 NEO flight from Toulouse, France to New Delhi on 18 Feb 2022 with 10% blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) under the IndiGo Green initiative.

On the occasion, Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer and Wholetime Director, IndiGo said, “We are pleased to announce that we have joined the Clear Skies for Tomorrow, India Coalition campaign in-line with our commitment towards sustainable operations. Accepting this call to action is critical to reduce the impact of operations on the environment and provide a better future for generations to come. We also believe it is important for us to contribute back to the community we serve and provide our signature on-time, courteous and hassle-free service at affordable fares, onboard our lean clean flying machines.”

Lauren Uppink Calderwood, Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries said, “Sustainable Aviation Fuels are one of the key technologies available to government and industry in decarbonizing aviation. But development and production are currently limited due to high capital costs and its reliance on technology that is yet to be proven at scale. Still, we are encouraged by the progress made by industry commitments, including IndiGo committing to sustainable flying. Together, we can build pathways and solutions in our commitment to net zero in aviation.”

Clean Skies for Tomorrow, launched in January 2019, has grown from 8 founding members to a global coalition of 80+.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) and LFV Air Navigation Services of Sweden (LUFTFARTSVERKET) signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week at the Corporate Headquarters of AAI in New Delhi. 

The agreement brings together two air navigation service providers, India and Sweden, with demonstrated capabilities in building and operationalizing the next generation of sustainable aviation technology, to explore smart aviation solutions. This MoU shall pave the way for bi-lateral exchange of aviation expertise and technology between the two countries. It will allow the Indian companies to accelerate growth while leveraging Swedish innovation and expertise. Under the aegis of the MoU, the companies can collaborate in areas of mutual interest.

The MoU was signed by M. Suresh, Member (Air Navigation Services), AAI and Magnus Corell, Deputy Director General, LFV Sweden. The event was attended by Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman, AAI; Malin Cederfeldt Östberg, State Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure, Government of Sweden, Klas Molin, the Ambassador of Sweden to India and Tanmaya Lal, the Ambassador of India to Sweden. The event was attended by senior officials from AAI, LFV, Embassy of Sweden, New Delhi, and Business Sweden –The Swedish Trade & Invest council.

Acknowledging the pressing need for rapid development concerning next-generation smart airports and the necessity to build sustainable transport systems, both parties consented to the following elements of the MoU:

·         Exchange of aviation knowledge and technical transfer program

·         Promote close and friendly relations between the two agencies

·         Aim to expand technical cooperation in airports

·         Support the development of a safe, secure, sustainable, and efficient aviation sector

·         Positive contributions in promoting bilateral and international trade

Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman, Airports Authority of India, congratulated the Govt of India and the Govt of Sweden for taking this initiative of a collaborative effort towards strengthening India’s efforts for the development of an efficient, safe, secure and sustainable aviation sector. He expressed confidence that the mutual exchange in civil aviation between AAI and LFV Sweden will go a long way in building and operationalization of next generation of smart and sustainable aviation technology.

Klas Molin, Ambassador of Sweden to India, talked about the long-standing collaboration between India and Sweden. “We are looking forward to this addition to the already expansive India-Sweden collaboration, which already include sustainability, health, innovation, energy, and will now extend to civil aviation. I’m looking forward to seeing how the MoU can foster more opportunities for Sweden and India to explore climate-smart solutions within the aviation sector.”

While delivering his address, Tanmaya Lal, Ambassador of India to Sweden mentioned that “India Sweden partnership is on the upswing.  This MoU covers one more new ground and will facilitate technology collaborations to improve safety, sustainability and efficiency in the aviation sector.  This is an important development also in the context of the booming regional air connectivity in India.”

A Joint Working Group shall be organized to prioritize interest areas and drive collaboration between the two countries. This MoU will play a crucial role in furthering government-to-government engagements between India and Sweden in the Aviation sector in addition to other existing engagements such as sustainability, healthcare, innovation, energy, and infrastructure etc.

Akasa Air has reported a temporary technical configuration error related to our login and sign-up service was reported to us on Thursday August 25, 2022.  

As a result of this configuration error, some Akasa Air registered user information limited to names, gender, email addresses and phone numbers may have been viewed by unauthorized individuals. We can confirm that aside from the above details, no travel-related information, travel records or payment information was compromised.

The newly launched airline has taken the following steps to mitigate risks for current and future scenarios:

1.  On being made aware of this, we immediately stopped this unauthorised access by completely shutting down the associated functional elements of our system. Subsequently, having added additional controls to address this situation, we have resumed our login and sign-up services.

2.  We self-reported the incident to CERT-In (which is the Government authorised nodal agency tasked to deal with incidents of this nature).

3.  We have also notified the affected users of the above, have informed such users that this matter has been reported to CERT-In (which is the Government authorised nodal agency tasked to deal with incidents of this nature) and have advised users to be conscious of possible phishing attempts.

We would like to clarify that basis our records there was no intentional hacking attempt, but that the situation was reported by a research expert through a journalist for which we are grateful. As a part of our commitment to be always transparent, we proactively shared this information with our customers who could have been potentially impacted.

“At Akasa Air, system security and protection of customer information is paramount, and our focus is to always provide a secure and reliable customer experience. While extensive protocols are in place to prevent incidents of such nature, we have undertaken additional measures to ensure that the security of all our systems is even further enhanced. We will continue to maintain our robust security protocols, engaging wherever applicable, with partners, researchers, and security experts from whom we can benefit to strengthen our systems,” Anand Srinivasan, Co-Founder and Chief Information Officer, Akasa Air, said.

Cathay Pacific, for the first time, will take to the Bengaluru skies. Starting 11 October 2022, Cathay Pacific will operate two non-stop weekly flights from Bengaluru. The introduction of Cathay Pacific in the city will enhance India’s direct connectivity with Hong Kong and connect customers to popular destinations such as the USA, Australia, Japan, the Philippines and more.

Customers can also connect seamlessly on the airline’s interline partners from other Indian cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata to Hong Kong and beyond via Cathay Pacific’s Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi flights. All flights from Bengaluru will depart from Kempegowda International Airport and customers can book their tickets on Cathay Pacific’s website or through their agency partners.

Rakesh Raicar, Regional General Manager, South Asia, Middle East and Africa said, “We are delighted to once again serve the residents of Bengaluru. As a group, we have had a long-standing history with the city and now we will be taking to the skies from the third-largest airport in India – Kempegowda International Airport on 11 October with Cathay Pacific.”

“A wide-body aircraft on this route will not only cater to the travel needs of corporate and leisure travellers but provide each segment with a cabin of choice and allow them to travel with enhanced comfort to Hong Kong and beyond. Moreover, launching Cathay Pacific in the city also gives us an opportunity to service our customers and partners, whilst providing them with a comfortable and a premium experience on our world-class products.”

“Hong Kong is a key business and leisure destination and BLR Airport being the ‘New Gateway to India’, is delighted to have the Cathay Pacific group once again connecting Bengaluru to Hong Kong and beyond. It gives us immense pleasure to welcome their wide-body Boeing 777-300 aircraft that offers premium connectivity for passengers and cargo to multiple destinations in the Far East. It’s always been our endeavour to explore new partnerships and establish enhanced connectivity. With Cathay Pacific, we hope to grow stronger as a preferred hub for One World alliance partners with eight carriers choosing Bengaluru as their Southern India gateway,” said Satyaki Raghunath, Chief Strategy and Development Officer, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL).

Nobu Hospitality, the globally iconic and fastest growing luxury lifestyle brand, and Asset World Corp Public Company Limited (AWC), Thailand's leading integrated lifestyle real estate group are delighted to announce the exclusive Thailand-wide development agreement, and the commencement of two exciting projects in Bangkok.

As part of the development agreement the two partners have committed to an exclusive collaboration to develop multiple Nobu Hotels and restaurants in Thailand.   The parties are exploring further development locations in Thailand's most compelling destinations.

The location of the signed Nobu Hotel in Bangkok will soon be announced with a completely unique and distinct program and experience being collaboratively planned by AWC and Nobu Hospitality.

Trevor Horwell, CEO of Nobu Hospitality, states, "It is an honor to be partnering with the visionary Wallapa Traisorat and the powerbase that she has carefully built with Asset World Corp Public Company Limited.  Our strategy is to work with regional development partners in Asia who embrace our unique business model and share the same passion for luxury and high-quality products. With Wallapa Traisorat and AWC, we have a dynamic relationship and partnership built on the foundations of trust and respect, with a vision to enact an exciting and differentiated hospitality offering.   We are excited to move forward with the first phase of this partnership in Bangkok whilst carefully planning further developments together."

Wallapa Traisorat, Chief Executive Officer and President of AWC, said that "It is our great pleasure and honor to sign the development agreement for an exclusive collaboration to develop multiple Nobu Hotels and Restaurants in Thailand. The parties are exploring further development locations in Thailand's most compelling destinations. We are delighted to continue our long-term partnership with Nobu Hospitality on this exciting project at the best location in Bangkok.”

Management Company Silk Road Samarkand is set to announce the first official event to inaugurate Central Asia's largest tourist complex. High-ranking local and foreign officials, diplomats, academicians and cultural dignitaries attended the ceremony, with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev officiating.

The official launch took place in the more than 17-hectare Eternal City, centrepiece of the complex covering a total area of over 260 hectares.

The Eternal City - created and curated by famous modern Uzbek artist Bobur Ismoilov - will offer guests a rare opportunity to explore a combination of Hellenistic and Islamic cultures constituting the diversity of Uzbekistan's ancient heritage. The area hosts art galleries and workshops of artisans from across Uzbekistan - with more than 100 masters currently residing in the Eternal City.

Eight world-class hotels are scheduled to open after September 20, 2022, including two five-star and two four-star facilities. Samarkand Regency Amir Temur (5*) hotel will mark the opening of Central Asia's first member hotel of the prestigious LHW Association.

The specially designed Eco Village combines sustainable wooden architecture with modern luxury and will be available to visitors as accommodation. The facilities include swimming pools and first-class kitchen equipment.

Pedestrian and bicycle paths, roads, canals, bridges, parks, the biggest in Central Asia congress centre, recreational & wellness areas and medical facilities will enable an unprecedented experience for both leisure and business tourists.

The entirety of the complex impressively showcases Samarkand's role as ascending tourism capital of Central Asia, further aided by the new international airport terminal opened earlier this year.

Artyom Yegikyan, General Director of the management company, Silk Road Samarkand, said: "Three years on from the commencement of works, with trepidation and pride, we are now on the threshold of the opening of the Silk Road Samarkand tourist centre. I am sure this unique tourist complex will become a model of world-class hospitality for the entire Central Asia. The opening of Silk Road Samarkand is a significant event not only for the people involved in its creation, but also for the country in general."

Enter Engineering, the general contractor for the project, oversaw construction, electrical installation works and landscaping of the territory. The company installed 46,000 km of cables, built 2,700 tons of steel and 384,000 m3 of concrete structures, erected 12 bridges, cleaned, and scaled up 46 hectares of artificial canals, including a 2,215m rowing canal, and laid over 20km of roads.

More than 10,000 specialists were involved in the design and construction of the US$580 million project, of which more than 2,000 were foreign.

Ulugbek Usmanov, General Director of Enter Engineering, said: "The construction of the Samarkand Tourist Centre is a major milestone for our company. I am sure that today, looking at all this splendour, for the thousands of builders who worked on the construction of the complex, their hearts are filled with pride. As a company, the project gave us incomparable experience, which I'm certain will be applicable in future."



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