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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Puskar Singh Dhami has asserted that he is expecting a boom in the Char Dham Yatra this season and called upon all the stakeholders to be prepared for a record footfall this season.
The Chief Minister addressed the inaugural Uttarakhand Tourism and Hospitality Conference 2022 organised by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board in Dehradun today. The conference was witness to the launch of short commercial films “Apnatey Hai Dil Khol Ke”. The films by UTDB based on themes of overall tourism, wellness tourism and Homestays and meant to promote tourism in the state.
Dhami said interest in Char Dham was back on track after two years of pandemic challenge and pilgrims and tourists in big numbers are expected to arrive in the state. “Last two years, Char Dham was not smooth due to pandemic and the subsequent restrictions due to it. But now this year we are expecting a record footfall,” Dhami pointed out.
Referring to better connectivity, Chief Minister asserted that the day was not far when travel time between Delhi and Dehradun will be just two hours. “Elevated road is coming up that will provide faster and smoother connectivity between Delhi and Dehradun, and people would then prefer travelling by road than taking a flight,” he added.
Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj stressed on promoting caravan and camping tourism. “It’s like “Room on Wheels”. Our state has lot of opportunities on that count. What we need is to develop camp ground with toilets and cafeteria on it,” Maharaj said. He called upon the stakeholders to become service provider emphasizing that tourist are bread and butter for the state.
Maharaj also referred to the importance of winter tourism besides Char Dham Yatra. “Char Dham is in summer season, we need to promote skiing and other linked activities to promote winter tourism too’, he added. He also reminded of assistance provided to the tourism stakeholders during the trying times of pandemic.
Earlier, Tourism Secretary Dilip Jawalkar said that the state in last two decades has made a place for itself in the tourism world and was today an all-weather destinations. Referring to commercial films launch, Jawalkar said the films were meant to promote tourism in Uttarakhand.
Additional Director Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board Vivek Singh Chauhan accorded the vote of thanks. Col Ashwin Pundhir, Additional Chief Executive Officer (Adventure) was present on the occasion.
IHG Hotels & Resorts has rebranded voco Doha West Bay Suites – the first voco property in Qatar and is introducing guests to new and refreshed dining and stay experiences in the coming months. As one of IHG’s newest hotel brands, voco combines the reassurance of a global brand with the informality and charm of an individual hotel.
West Bay, voco Doha West Bay Suites offers modern, stylish and unstuffy hotel experience for guests. The 46 floors will continue to offer 396 rooms and suites well-loved restaurant and lounges.
The property offers a selection of studios, one, two, and three-bedroom fully serviced suites spread over 46 floors which embody the characteristics of voco with exclusive features and distinctive hallmarks, setting it apart for a memorable stay.
All deluxe rooms, suites and studios are well-appointed with separate living and dining areas, as well as an accompanying modern kitchenette. All suites are complete with complimentary Wi-Fi access, 24/7 reception, and concierge services.
Commenting on the hotel opening, Liezl Meier, General Manager, voco Doha West Bay Suites, said: “We are thrilled to open Qatar’s first voco hotel in Doha’s most vibrant, upscale destination. The hotel benefits from the brand’s bold and distinctive identity, bringing warmth and a modern touch to our guests.”
She added: "With an excellent location, boasting upscale facilities and amenities and a unique brand experience, voco Doha West Bay Suites is set to be a preferred destination for guests visiting Doha as well as for residents.”
Sabre Corporation announced a new agreement with Japan-specific luxury travel platform and business-to-business membership portal Bear Luxe Japan, to better connect its hoteliers to global markets while creating elevated experiences for travellers.
The new relationship will further cement Sabre’s growing footprint in Japan, while opening up further access for Bear Luxe member hoteliers - primarily consisting of independent Japanese luxury hotels - through the Sabre SynXis hospitality platform and Bear Luxe Japan’s international reach of the luxury travel market, to the markets and channels high-end travellers use to book their luxury trips to Japan.
“The absence of connectivity with the international luxury travel market has long been an industry-wide dilemma for Japanese luxury hotels. The anticipated partnership will be a game changer in bridging the market gap,” said Hiro Miyatake, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bear Luxe.
With this agreement, Bear Luxe hospitality members will be linked to hundreds of thousands of travel agents across the world through the Global Distribution System (GDS) connectivity solutions powered by Sabre SynXis, ensuring they can reach domestic and international travellers; strategically targeting markets which are able to travel, or have a desire to travel once borders re-open.
The new alliance will also enable the Bear Luxe platform to drive direct bookings, increase engagement and trigger conversions through the deep retail focus of the Sabre SynXis Booking Engine. Sabre’s corporate booking tools will provide Bear Luxe with the ability to connect with corporate travel buyers.
Meanwhile, SynXis Voice Agent will elevate the call centre experience for potential guests, equipping Bear Luxe agents with the tools they need to minimize call handling times while increasing opportunities for ancillary sales.
“We’re thrilled that Bear Luxe has selected Sabre as its trusted, strategic technology partner in Japan,” said Frank Trampert, Global Managing Director, Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “We look forward to supporting them in their endeavours to open up further domestic, regional and international markets to Japanese hoteliers while helping visitors to experience the unique characteristics Japanese destinations have to offer.”
Bear Luxe Japan is a global network of luxury travel designers, and leading Japanese luxury hotels in Japan.
Spanish hotel chain Palladium Hotel Group, represented by Global Destinations in India, recently hosted exclusive evenings for their top 50 priority travel and trade partners and media in Mumbai and Delhi.
The evenings were graced by the Consul General of Spain Fernando Heredia Noguer along with the Director of the Tourism Office of Spain in India Elisa Robles in Mumbai, while Delhi saw the presence of the Deputy Head of Mission, the Embassy of Spain Montserrat Momán Pampillo and Incharge of Consular Section, Embassy of Spain Helana Escorial Lopez in attendance.
Sandra Polo Canudas, Asia & ME Commercial Director of Palladium Hotel Group presented insights on Palladium’s hospitality and newly established regulations for hassle-free travel for Indian visitors.
She touched upon Spain re-opening borders, all ready to welcome Indians back. The guests were acquainted with the gamut of brands under the Palladium Hotel Group and were informed about the upcoming projects & developments in Spain.
The events presented an opportunity to reconnect with travel & trade partners in India to showcase the diverse brand portfolio the hotel group has to offer.
Canudas said, “After 2 years of meeting virtually it is delightful to meet our key Stakeholders in-person. India continues to be one of our focus markets for Outbound travel. We look forward, to continue increasing our footprint in India and to further our brand presence. With international travel now open, we are ready to spoil our Indian visitors with an array of experiences, fantastic cuisine, and stunning vistas!”
Global visa service provider VFS Global reopened its visa application centre (VAC) at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) ahead of the peak summer season and anticipated demand. The BKC facility is the second VFS Global VAC in Mumbai in addition to its current operational one in Mahalakshmi. The visa service provider operates a network of 567 VACs across 17 Indian cities.
The BKC VAC at Trade Centre would cater to visa customers bound to Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Norway, Slovakia, and Sweden. It would also cater to customers seeking attestation services.
For UK-bound travellers, additional visa application counters would be available at the BKC facility and the visa application centre in Mahalakshmi. The facility will also cater to France visa applications from April-end.
“With the reopening of the BKC visa application centre in Mumbai, we want to ensure an enhanced visa experience for our customers. With more countries easing travel restrictions and resumption of regular international flights operations from India, we expect an increase in overseas travel this year, particularly from India. We also have some optional premium services such as Visa at Your Doorstep (VAYD) for customers who prefer personalised assistance such as completing the entire visa application process from a location of their choice.” said Pranav Sinha, Head South Asia, VFS Global.
Spread across more than 36000 sq. ft, the BKC VAC is a large facility comprising 62 customer counters and other facilities.
With traveler confidence taking yet another hit amid the rising cost-of-living across Europe, Turkey will emerge as the destination of choice for budget-conscious travelers in 2022, finds GlobalData, the leading data and analytics company.
Research from GlobalData’s Traveler Spending Patterns database shows that in-destination spending is relatively low in Turkey, despite the average stay for inbound tourists (9.7 days) being the second-longest in Europe in 2021.
Compared to average inbound expenditure in popular leisure destinations such as Spain and Portugal, travelers could potentially save anywhere between $230 and $770 per trip if they travel to Turkey instead of these destinations.
Craig Bradley, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Turkey’s market position is likely to strengthen due to current consumer sentiment. In a GlobalData Q3 2021 Global Consumer Survey, 58% of respondents said cost was a key influencing factor when booking a trip, making it the leading incentive to book a holiday.”
Bradley adds: “Many travelers this year will be feeling the financial pinch due to cost-of-living surges as well as high fuel and energy prices. However, according to several of Europe's leading tour operators, pent-up demand in the travel industry continues to grow. As a result, travel companies appear to be more confident in Turkey than they have been at any point during the pandemic, with some tour operators reporting similar capacity levels to 2019.”
Choice Hotels now makes a foray into Burhar with Comfort Inn Vilasa, the first internationally branded hotel in Burhar, Shadol district Madhya Pradesh.
Offering a wide range of guest services, Comfort Inn Vilasa is a full-service hotel with proximity to the railway station. Nestled amidst famous pilgrimage sites including Teerthraj – The king of pilgrimages and major mining hubs, the hotel attracts both business and leisure travelers.
Vilas Pawar, CEO of Choice Hotels India commented, “We are delighted to expand our reach in Madhya Pradesh with Comfort Inn Vilasa, Burhar. With growing opportunities in this region, this hotel will cater to fast-emerging commercial requirements with the brand promise of a comfortable stay”.
Rajesh Chamariya, Managing Director of Comfort Inn Vilasa, Burhar commented, “We are extremely proud to partner with Choice Hotels, and we are set to offer exemplary services to our guests. The location of the hotel and magnificent interiors set us apart from other players in the region. The hotel is a preferred choice for social gatherings amongst the locals.”
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) announced it will sail into the Metaverse with the launch of the cruise industry’s first collection of NFTs, adding to the Brand’s legacy of pioneering firsts.
NCL will open for auction and sale a collection of six NFTs to celebrate the launch of the company’s cutting-edge Norwegian Prima Class on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 on NCL’s soon to launch online NFT marketplace.
The NFT art pieces were created by Manuel Di Rita, widely known as “Peeta,” the Italian artist who designed the hull art on the record-breaking Norwegian Prima and her sister vessel Norwegian Viva.
The first of the six art pieces will be auctioned at the starting rate of USD$2,500, with the remaining NFTs sold for prices beginning at USD$250. The winner of the auction will also be awarded a balcony stateroom on one of Norwegian Prima’s U.S. inaugural voyages, setting sail from NCL’s beautiful new PortMiami terminal located in Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World.
“We are so excited to partner with Peeta on this first for our brand and for the industry,” said NCL President and CEO Harry Sommer. “Peeta is a talented artist who has brought the magic and beauty of the ocean to our ships, so we are happy to share this with our guests and to donate the proceeds of this new venture to Teach For America, an organization and a cause very near and dear to our hearts.”
“We strive to adopt the most cutting-edge technology at Norwegian Cruise Line and strongly believe that providing our guests the opportunity to own digital assets that connect them with an unforgettable cruise experience is an essential step forward,” says Scott Piccolo, Chief Digital Experience Officer at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH). “We are incredibly proud to work with Peeta on the cruise industry’s first ever NFT collection.”
Launching August 2022, Norwegian Prima’s Christening voyage will depart from Reykjavík, Iceland and will feature a performance from newly announced godmother, global popstar Katy Perry. Norwegian Prima will offer voyages to Northern Europe from Amsterdam; and Copenhagen, Denmark beginning Sept. 3; and Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, Texas, Miami and Orlando, Fla. beginning Oct. 27.
Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has decided to postpone its 66th Convention & Exhibition, scheduled to be held from 19-22 April 2022, in Colombo Sri Lanka.
Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI states that, “We had an overwhelming response to the convention registrations which had crossed the 500-registration mark. Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), along with Sri Lankan Airlines and, the Hotels in Colombo, were eager to host us for the convention, as was TAAI.
The current economic and political situation in the island nation, whereby there is a shortage of fuel, power, gas, the daily consumer needs along with the political unrest and treason in parts of the country, has compelled us to postpone the convention in Colombo. Tourism is always the first to be hit at the outset of any crisis, but we continue to stand strong & committed to our counterparts in Sri Lanka to revive tourism as soon as the opportunity arises by rescheduling the convention, she added.
We received numerous calls, and communications from our member delegates, invitees & stakeholders that the sentiment to travel to Sri Lanka at this time would not only burden our Sri Lankan friends but also on the uncertainty on the hosting of the convention in Colombo, added Jay Bhatia, Vice President, TAAI.
TAAI is in constant touch with the stakeholder partners and the hosts in Sri Lanka who continue to assuring their fullest support to hold the 66th Convention.
Bettaiah Lokesh, HSG, TAAI stated that “as per the feedback and suggestions received, the Managing Committee of TAAI has decided to postpone the 66th Convention, which was to be held from 19th-22nd April 2022 in Colombo Sri Lanka, to a future date, which shall be communicated to all in due course, once the situation in Sri Lanka regularises.”
With the resumption of international flights operations in India ahead of the upcoming summer vacation season, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is excited to welcome Indian travellers and offer them a high-quality airport experience.
With seamless access, thoughtful amenities, sustainable design and inspiring artwork and exhibits, SFO is well-equipped to cater to the needs and interests of its guests and ensure safety and hygiene.
SFO has an eclectic mix of bookstores, gift shops, travel outfitters, designer brands and luxury boutiques. Many retailers are local, featuring authentic San Francisco souvenirs and merchandise.
San Francisco and the Bay Area are world-famous for local, fresh cuisine.
The works of art at SFO are made possible through two distinct programs: SFO Museum and the San Francisco Arts Commission. SFO Museum, a division of SFO, presents a series of rotating exhibitions displayed in the terminal galleries, as well as the San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum located in the International Terminal. The San Francisco Arts Commission, an agency of the City and County of San Francisco, curates the collection of permanent art displayed throughout the airport.
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