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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) continues continues to recover with over 45% growth in domestic travel and about 136% growth in international travel in FY 2022 as compared to FY 2021.

BLR Airport welcomed 16.28 million passengers in FY 2022 versus 10.91 million passengers in FY 2021. Traffic recovery was 54% of FY 2020 levels - domestic recovery was at 55%, while international passenger traffic recovery was at 24%.

“Our focus on driving operational efficiencies coupled with a resilient ecosystem has enabled us to end FY 2022 on a record high both in terms of cargo and passenger volumes. It reflects our commitment to serving the industry and our customers through sustained innovations and technological advancements,” said Hari Marar, MD & CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited.

With restrictions easing up, corporate traffic is gradually reviving both in domestic and international sectors. This is influenced by higher vaccination penetration, lower infection rates, relaxation of travel restrictions, cross border regulations, and increased economic activities.

The number of domestic destinations served directly from BLR Airport has grown to 76 compared to 54 last year, and this has been possible due to enhanced connectivity to Tier II/III cities. Share of non-metro traffic to / from BLR Airport increased from 45% pre-Covid (Apr’19-Feb’20) to 60% in FY 2022, signifying growing penetration of non-metro connectivity. As a result, the transfer traffic share at BLR Airport has increased to 18% in FY 2022, compared to 10% pre-covid. With this sustained growth, the Airport has established itself as the most preferred transit destination in South India. Top domestic routes in FY 2022 were Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Goa, with these sectors contributing 40% to the traffic.

BLR Airport served 20 international destinations in FY 2022 with Dubai, Male, Doha, London, and Frankfurt being the top cities contributing 67% to the traffic. Growth in the international segment is expected to increase as more airlines reinstate operations to and from BLR Airport during the coming months.

Booking.com has announces a new and improved flight-booking service in India, in time with the complete resumption of regular international flights in India. The in-house branded flight service will create a whole new way to book and experience air travel that’s convenient, intuitive and ultimately more traveler friendly.

This new advancement will help deliver a more personalised and convenient solution to travelers to help make their overall planning and travel experience smoother and more enjoyable.  Through this new and improved seamless flight experience, travelers can search, book and pay for their flight without leaving the Booking.com app or platform. 

Ritu Mehrotra, Commercial Director, APAC, China & Oceania at Booking.com said, “With more and more travel restrictions being lifted and the world slowly opening up again, summer 2022 seems to mark the return of travel for Indian travelers who are ready to get back out there and make the most of their summer holidays. To make it easier for everyone to experience the world, we are now offering a new and improved flight experience to customers in India, allowing them to seamlessly browse and book flights to anywhere in the world. These new flights booking service will ease the complexities of travel planning by empowering our customers to book their flights and stay easily and directly on Booking.com.”

Türkiye capital İstanbul joins the Michelin Guide family. The Michelin Guide will announce the selection of Gastrocity İstanbul on October 11, 2022.   

 

İstanbul, among the world’s leading centres for gastronomic tourism, offers diners an ancient food culture shaped by a unique cultural heritage reflected in the city’s fine dining establishments.

Speaking at a meeting for İstanbul to join the Michelin Guide, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Türkiye, noted noted that activities to position İstanbul – one of the most visited cities in the world – as a ‘gastrocity’ will attract tourists interested in good food and exceptional flavours to Türkiye.

He added, “This interest of the MICHELIN Guide in the İstanbul food and drink sector demonstrates that Türkiye is also at the forefront of gastronomy tourism. The MICHELIN Guide will move our businesses, which stand out with their originality, diversity, sustainability and creativity, to the global stage with an entirely new perspective.”

Expressing his satisfaction with İstanbul’s addition to the Michelin family, Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides, observed that İstanbul has fascinated the world for centuries with its history, culture and intercultural identity. Poullennec said that “the MICHELIN Guide’s selection for İstanbul will present the city to gourmets around the world. Fuelled by ancient traditions and young, open-minded and creative talents that shape an original taste identity, İstanbul's culinary scene amazed our team.”

 

Radisson Hotel Group has announced the appointment of Vikram Berry, Director Commercial, South Asia. Based in Gurgaon, India, Vikram will lead the implementation of commercial initiatives across our portfolio in South Asia and focus on revenue optimization for our hotels in the region.

Prior to this, Vikram was with Taj Group of Hotels as a General Manager of Taj View Agra – An IHCL SeleQtions.

In the past, Vikram has also worked with Estee Lauder Corporation, Accor Hotels and Jet Airways.

This is Vikram’s second stint with Radisson Hotel Group. Previously, he was the Director of Sales and Marketing at Radisson Blu New Delhi Dwarka.

The Zuri Hotels & Resorts recently announced the operational handover of their inhouse onshore casino in Goa to Delta Corp Ltd., owner of India’s largest luxury gaming and entertainment brand ‘Deltin’.

Being the only land casino in the entire South Goa, would be a boon and blessing for the hospitality and tourism sector in this coastal part of Goa.

Speaking on the handover, Rajendran Menon, GM of ‘The Zuri White Sands Goa Resort & Casino’ said, “We are happy to be associated with ‘Deltin’, which is India’s leading brand in luxury gaming and hospitality, and we are sure that our patrons will find the new experience more thrilling and exciting. The Zuri is the personification of a premium, luxury lifestyle and we are happy that we share our brand ethos with Deltin. Deltin as a brand is known for its signature experience which is mix of thrill, excitement, entertainment and great service”.

The casino at ‘The Zuri White Sands Goa’, which is yet to be named, will be Deltin’s fourth land-based casino after Deltin Suites-Goa, Deltin Denzong-Gangtok and Deltin Casino International-Kathmandu. The company also owns Asia’s 2 most iconic offshore casinos ‘Deltin Royale’ and ‘Deltin Jaqk’ in Goa.

Pride Group of Hotels has announced the signing of ‘Pride Biznotel Aurangabad’. Conveniently located adjacent to Aurangabad airport, the hotel is easily accessible to prominent tourist destinations Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Panchakki, and Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Daulatabad fort among others.

 

Pride Biznotel brand is a moderately priced, upscale, full-service hotel that meets the discerning needs of a business, adventure and leisure traveler.

“We are extremely delighted to expand our footprints in Aurangabad, the tourism capital of Maharashtra. The city is recognized worldwide for its architectural marvels, world heritage sites, historical museums, handicrafts and cuisine. Apart from its historic and cultural significance, Aurangabad is one of the fastest developing cities for business and industry.  It would be a pleasure to offer the signature Pride Hotel hospitality to our esteemed guests in Aurangabad,” Atul Upadhyay, Vice President, Pride Group of Hotels, said.

Strong pent-up demand for leisure travel, opening up of international and corporate travel, and wide vaccination coverage should catapult the revenue of the Indian hotel industry by 45% from a decadal low last fiscal, and almost match the pre-pandemic (fiscal 2020) levels.

The rebound in revenue and leaner cost structures can drive up operating profitability by 200-400 basis points this fiscal, compared with fiscal 2020, a CRISIL Ratings analysis1 of hotels with an aggregate 30,000 rooms across categories indicates as much.

Says Nitesh Jain, Director, CRISIL Ratings, “After the second wave of Covid-19, the average room rent (ARR) had reached 85-90% and occupancy 80-85% of the pre-pandemic levels, before the third wave impaired the last quarter. To be sure, Covid-19 cases are sprouting again, but with no strict lockdowns and significant — and widening — vaccination coverage, both ARR and occupancy should recover from this quarter. But the pace of recovery will vary by the category of hotels.”

For properties in tourist destinations such as Udaipur and Goa, which lean towards leisure travel, ARR and occupancy had surpassed the pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of last fiscal itself, on demand for staycations and the wedding season. While international flights have commenced, the flow of inbound tourists — a key user segment — may be slow to pick up. But high pent-up demand from domestic travellers would provide an offset.

The mid-premium and budget segment hotels, with ARR of Rs 3,000-5,000, benefited from upgrades by small and medium enterprise (SME) clients due to hygiene concerns amid the pandemic. This segment saw both, ARR and occupancy recovering to 80-85% of the pre-pandemic levels and should rebound fully in the first half of this fiscal. Luxury business hotels, which were slower to track back because of their high dependence on corporate travel, should also pick up pace now with offices reopening.

Says Rakshit Kachhal, Associate Director, CRISIL Ratings, “Hotels had pruned fixed costs over the past two years by reducing headcount per room, increasing the use of technology in areas such as room service, and cutting down on expenses such as power, sales and promotions, and commissions and discounts. While the rebound in occupancy will mean an increase in some of these costs, hotels will likely hold on to cost efficiency, and the leaner cost structure should help them serve a sharp recovery in profitability. The ability to maintain service standards with leaner cost structures will be a monitorable.”

Improving profitability, along with government support by way of low-cost borrowing facility under the Emergency Line of Credit Guarantee Scheme, will see interest coverage return nearly to the pre-pandemic level of 2.0-2.2 times this fiscal.

However, the debt-to-equity ratio will remain weak at 1.2 times (0.8 time before the pandemic) as companies loaded up debt and incurred losses during the pandemic.

We expect a sustained recovery will result in a gradual improvement in the sector’s financial leverage over the medium term. While there is a rise in cases of a new variant of Covid-19, the sector remains resilient given people seem more confident of outdoors, especially because of wide vaccination coverage. Any constrains on the economic activity or movement of people will bear watching.

Fortune Hotels, a member of ITC’s hotel group announced the opening of its third hotel on the vibrant side of Ahmedabad, in the heart of the city’s booming business district. Branded as Fortune Select SG Highway Ahmedabad, the upscale hotel is set to further strengthen Fortune Hotels’ robust portfolio in Gujarat. This modern hotel will be the chain’s eighth hotel in the state of Gujarat, and the first under the ‘Fortune Select’ brand.

Fortune Select SG Highway Ahmedabad offers 91 rooms and suites.The hotel will soon have a new wellness wing which will feature a new fully equipped fitness center and a restful spa.  

Speaking on the occasion, Samir MC, Managing Director, Fortune Park Hotels Limited, said, “We are delighted to add a third hotel to our growing portfolio in Ahmedabad. A very demand-driven market with immense business potential, Ahmedabad not only attracts because of its vibrant culture but also is an urban center of importance for us. We hold seven other strategic alliances in the state, indicative of our deep-rooted imprint, brand popularity, and commitment to the State of Gujarat. Ahmedabad continues to attract business and leisure travellers throughout the year, and we are all set to welcome guests to experience the Fortune Select Advantage we bring with us.”  

Further expressing his gratitude to the Owning Partners, he said: “We thank the investors for showing confidence in brand Fortune and for trusting us with their second property in the city. With the Fortune Advantage by our side, we look forward to many such fruitful associations in the future."

With this new opening, Fortune Hotels now holds 8 hotels with a cumulative inventory of ~700 rooms in Gujarat.

PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organized its flagship event – 11th International Heritage Tourism Conclave with the theme ‘Heritage as a key driver of Sustainability’ on 22 April 2022 at WelcomHeritage Elysium Resort & Spa, Shimla.

 Building on the previous 10 editions, the Conclave deliberated on how tourism and culture sectors can work together more collaboratively and increase public-private partnerships to ensure the protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage while extending benefits to local communities.

Inaugurating the Conclave, Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Governor, Government of Himachal Pradesh, said, “Himachal Pradesh is a rightly chosen destination for heritage conclave. He mentioned that he has himself explored some scenic and picturesque destinations in the state and said that every place he visited has potential to be the heritage site. He said heritage does not exist only in buildings, but also rivers, lakes, forests, temples and culture.

He further added, “For promoting tourism in the state, the idea of bird festival should be started in Himachal Pradesh which will invite bird watchers, bird photographers and bird lovers not only from India but worldwide. To solve the problem of rough terrain and connectivity, sustainable infrastructure development is an important element. Not only sustainable infrastructure but also environment friendly practices and activities are required to support sustainable tourism. We must preserve our environment, our real heritage for sustainable future.”

In his presidential address, Pradeep Multani, President, PHDCCI, said, “PHDCCI stands committed towards strengthening the Tourism sector in India, especially Heritage Tourism. The idea of Heritage Tourism Conclave was conceived in the year 2011. With our collective efforts and your constant support, we continued the series successfully, year after year. Past 10 Heritage Tourism Conclaves held in different parts of the country speak volumes about our commitment to boost the sector.”

PHDCCI and its Knowledge Partner – ORG India jointly released a Knowledge Report titled ‘Heritage as a key driver of Sustainability’. The report gives a holistic view on heritage tourism across the world and in the country. The report provides ample scope and opportunities towards preservation of world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Dhian Chand, Managing Director, Kufri Hotels, said, “Tourism creates immense opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development through job creation, regeneration of rural and urban areas and appreciation and protection of natural and cultural heritage. Heritage Tourism in India is a real treasure as there are numerous cultural, historical and natural resources. Some cities have become famous due to the presence of these heritage sites.”

Rajan Sehgal, Co-Chair – Tourism & Hospitality Committee, PHDCCI, said, “A great deal of tourism relies on places with natural, indigenous and historic significance which tourism products are based. In order to respect the cultural significance of the destination, people involve in tourism industry need to be sensitive to cultural groups who have a special interest in them and they need to be directly involve in the planning and promotion of the destination.”

With little more than a week to go for the commencement of Chardham Yatra, the number of online registrations has picked up in the state. Over a lakh registration have taken place so far for the period 3 - 31 May.

For the first time, registrations for the Chardham Yatra have been made mandatory for all the pilgrims coming to visit the shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and Shri Hemkund Sahib.

The registration facility is available both online and offline. Those going for advance registration can avail the online facility while those arriving without registration will have to do on the spot registration at different registration counters on the Chardham routes. However, since start of online facility, number of registrations are picking up steadily. 

The Chardham Yatra this year begins on 3rd May with the opening of Gangotri and Yamunotri dhams. This will be followed by the opening of the portals of Badrinath and Kedarnath Shrines on 6th & 8th May respectively and Hemkund Sahib on 22nd May.

The total registrations have crossed the one lakh mark with a total of 102,508 registrations so far. Of these 15,829 registrations have been confirmed for Yamunotri , 16,804 for Gangotri, 41,107 for Kedarnath and 29,488 registrations for Badrinath.

Tourism authorities are sharing the data with the concerned districts and police authorities. Besides online, authorities in the districts where the Chardhams are located are making available on the spot offline registration facility for the pilgrims.

A control room has also been set up in Dehradun which is providing all relevant information to the pilgrims. Toll free no 1364 and helpline numbers 0135-1364, 0135-2559898, 0135-2552627 and 0135-3520100 have also been released for the purpose. An average of 400 to 500 calls per day are received in the control room. Those manning the control room are also well versed in multiple languages for the ease of pilgrims who do not know Hindi or English.

This year, for the first time, a vehicle tracking mechanism has also been introduced. Cameras have been installed at various locations on the Chardham routes that will keep a track of the vehicular movement. Cameras have been installed at Rishikesh, Badkot, Bhatwari, Joshimath and other routes leading to Chardham. Yatra Mitras have been deployed at over hundred kiosks to assist with on-the-spot registration of arriving pilgrims.

 

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