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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) – operator of Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport) – is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company, to establish a Joint Innovation Center (JIC) that will drive the development and adoption of digital solutions in aviation.

The JIC will also enable startups to accelerate innovation in aviation, smart infrastructure, utilities, and mobility by providing comprehensive program offerings and a technical platform that helps customers innovate quickly utilizing AWS technology. This is the first JIC by AWS established outside of China and its first JIC dedicated to advancing the aviation industry.

The JIC is expected to open at BLR Airport in 2022 and will focus on driving digital innovation for the airport, enhancing passenger experience, and creating positive impact for the community where the airport operates.

It will help strengthen BIAL’s digital roadmap and develop custom solutions for BLR Airport using a combination of technologies including cloud computing, Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and augmented and virtual reality (AR/ VR).

The JIC will support BIAL’s intent to be at the forefront of technology innovation in India’s commercial aviation and create a digitised and intuitive airport for travellers. It will focus on developing technology solutions to enhance the passenger experience across retail, dining, and entertainment at the airport, and achieving operational efficiencies for BIAL. Once implemented, these efficiencies can be scaled to other airports in India and globally.

“We are thrilled to extend our relationship with AWS to power two of our important focus areas – strengthen our digital roadmap towards making BLR Airport the best destination airport for travellers by leveraging the power of cloud computing and digital technologies and create an environment for startups to innovate and advance in aviation and related domains,” said Hari Marar, MD & CEO, BIAL. “The new Joint Innovation Center between BIAL and AWS will enable us to develop modular, scalable, innovative digital solutions that can benefit all stakeholders in the aviation domain and help reimagine air travel in India.”

“Modern air travel has been disrupted by the pandemic and is ripe for innovation. We are excited to strengthen our engagement with BIAL to help them explore new possibilities with digital technologies, develop enhanced experiences for travelers, and realize the vision of a digitalized and smart airport,” said Rahul Sharma, President, Public Sector – AISPL#, AWS India and South Asia. “With Startup Valley, our combined vision is to enable startups to transition successfully and faster in their experimentation, development, and scaling phases, help them commercialize their solutions, and accelerate the adoption of innovative digital solutions in the country.”

SOTC Travel recently inaugurated its new franchise outlet at Mico Circle, Nashik. Located at the heart of the city, the new outlet will also cater to nearby areas of Sinnar, Devaly & Ozar.

Daniel D’souza President & Country Head - Holidays, SOTC Travel said, “Nashik is strongly emerging as a viable source market for SOTC. Maharashtra contributes a significant 35% to our overall SOTC holiday business and customers from Nashik have displayed over 2x growth in demand since the pandemic. To inspire the evolving travellers of Nashik take their much needed holiday, our new outlet in the heart of the city at Mico Circle was chosen to leverage its significant catchment across millennial, multigenerational families, couples, Gen S and business owners. We have introduced a host of special offers and products that are dedicated to cater to this market and its discerning travellers.”

He added, “We are delighted to associate with Mr. Aditya Shekhar Patil as our franchise partner for our Nashik outlet. Being a travel enthusiast and having an extensive network in the region, he will assist SOTC to further strengthen our presence in this growing market and thereby assist our customers plan a perfect holiday. We extend a warm welcome to our Nashik based customers and our in-store experts look forward to co-curate and plan a memorable holiday for the upcoming summers.”

Conrad Pune has appointed Deepali Singhal as the Director of Human Resources. In her role, she will be spearheading the HR department and will be responsible for key operations like employee development, consulting management on strategic staffing plans, and implementing new HR policies.

With her enriching experience of over 15 years, Deepali comes with a deep understanding of this department and will be eminent in overseeing the entire HR and training functions.

Radisson Hotel Group has unveiled plans to more than double its Indian footprint, with 148 hotels and resorts to be added by 2025. These will be in addition to over 140 properties Radisson Hotel Group currently has in operation or under development nationwide. 

The Group also launches a new lifestyle brand extension, Radisson Individuals Retreats, which has been specifically tailored for the Indian market. Radisson Individuals Retreats, a collection of upper-upscale and luxury lifestyle retreats, will deliver exclusive experiences.

Each retreat property will be in unique leisure destinations including, Goa, Kashmir, Coorg and Kabini or offbeat locations such as the mountain ranges of Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, the hills of Karnataka or the historical lands of Rajasthan.

“We are delighted to announce our continued expansion in India and the launch of Radisson Individuals Retreats. We are fully committed to bringing more exceptional experiences to our domestic and international guests in all parts of the country, from major tier one cities to up-and-coming destinations. Our announcement today represents another important milestone in our journey towards becoming the hotel provider of choice for Indian guests and developers alike,” said Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and Vice President of Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group.

“Radisson Individuals Retreats exemplifies the future of hospitality, where stays are authentic, sustainable and offer experiences that reflect the essence of their destination. This makes it a great addition to the Radisson Hotel Group portfolio in India. It also highlights the strength and underlying confidence in our brands, which we have worked diligently to build and maintain over many years. We look forward to establishing an exciting new era of mutual prosperity in India,” said Katerina Giannouka, President, Asia Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group.

Radisson Individuals Retreats is an extension of Radisson Individuals, the soft brand concept that made its debut in South Asia in 2021. At present, Radisson Hotel Group operates 106 hotels and resorts in India, covering 7 of its industry-leading brands in all parts of the country.

TripMoney, MakeMyTrip’s fintech arm, has acquired a majority stake in BookMyForex, India’s leading online Foreign Currency Exchange services provider, in its endeavour to become a one-stop solution for all forex needs of the Indian traveller. 

With this investment, BookMyForex’s suite of services, including currency exchange that offers real-time exchange rate, multi-currency prepaid forex cards, cross border remittances as well as other ancillary products, will be rolled out soon for the benefit of MakeMyTrip and Goibibo customers.

The company will leverage the extensive network of BookMyForex’s partners including select banks and reputed exchange companies to fulfil forex requirements of customers in multiple cities across India.

“The acquisition of majority stake in BookMyForex is in line with our strategic vision to build a travel super app offering complete suite of services for the discerning traveller,” said, Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and Group CEO, MakeMyTrip Limited.

“We look forward to working closely with the leadership of BookMyForex to help accelerate growth of outbound travellers buying forex online by offering the services to millions of visitors on MakeMyTrip and Goibibo booking platforms. Consumers’ trust on our brands along with BookMyForex’s best in class offering with complete transparency and best available pricing will help in driving growth of this new product line for the group”.

Leading private equity firm Faering Capital as well as founders and promoters - Nitin Motwani and Sudarshan Motwani will continue to stay invested in BookMyForex.

Commenting on the development, Sudarshan Motwani, CEO of BookMyForex, said, “Having introduced the idea of buying or selling retail forex products online at real-time forex rates to the end consumer, BookMyForex has come a long way to becoming India’s preferred online forex platform. This journey would not have been possible without unwavering support from Faering Capital. The investment from TripMoney comes at an opportune time, as the world warms up to international travel. We will leverage the strength of MakeMyTrip and Goibibo to scale new heights by gaining deeper geographic penetration; and launch industry leading products for the benefit of the consumers.”

“We are delighted to welcome MakeMyTrip as a shareholder in the company.  BookMyForex has established itself as the leading online foreign exchange platform in India and the partnership with MMT will offer customers a superior user experience with a full range of services from ticket booking to forex. We are excited to work with MakeMyTrip and the team at BookMyForex for the next leg of the company’s growth journey,” said, Aditya Parekh, Managing Director at Faering Capital.

Sterling Holiday Resorts announced the appointment of Mr. Vikram Lalvani as the new Managing Director and CEO of the company with effect from 1st April 2022. 

After seven years of overseeing various strategic responsibilities at Sterling, which included, Customer Engagement, Revenue maximization, Hotel Sales and Resort Operations, Lalvani will be taking on the role of Managing Director of Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd, a post which was effectively held by Ramesh Ramanathan since 2011, who will now continue to guide the company as its Chairman.

As CMD for Sterling, Ramesh Ramanathan has been instrumental in steering the company’s turn-around and making it profitable and establishing the Sterling Brand in the Leisure Holiday space. During his time, he has also transformed the company from being a major player only in the time-share segment to a strong Leisure Hospitality player across all customer segments. Over the past decade, Sterling has expanded its footprint from 10 resorts to over 38 resorts with over 2,500 rooms, spread across hills, beaches, jungles, rivers, heritage, pilgrimage and drive-to locations, pan-India.

Continuing to serve the company as the Chairman, Ramanathan, said, “I am extremely pleased on the appointment of Vikram as Managing Director & CEO, to lead Sterling towards newer avenues. I look forward to working with him towards our common vision of making Sterling the No. 1 Leisure Hospitality brand in India.   On behalf of the board and the team, we are confident that Vikram’s vast experience in the hospitality industry will be a huge advantage for us.”

Commenting on his new role, Lalvani said, “I am honored to be given this responsibility. We will continue on the growth path set for us and drive to double our inventory and footprint to over 5,000+ rooms by 2025. With focus on Digitization, we will bring innovation in services for our guests and create a unique place for Sterling in the leisure space. I look forward to further strengthening the brand and building market leadership in the coming years.”

Tek Travels DMCC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TBO Tek Limited (TBO) has acquired 51% shareholding of BookaBed AG (BookaBed). Investment in BookaBed will enable TBO to scale up its business’s services and offerings.

Gaurav Bhatnagar, Co-Founder and Joint Managing Director of TBO, commented on the news and said: "We are excited to welcome everyone at BookaBed to the TBO family. BookaBed allows TBO’s entry into the Irish market and strengthens our UK presence. Both TBO and BookaBed have a significant opportunity to leverage each other's strengths and further expand our presence in current and future markets. What really makes this truly promising is our shared core values. There are synergies in our business models and vision, but the core values we share are vital when building for the long term. Under Karl’s continued leadership, we look forward to strengthening BookaBed’s business."

Karl Tyrrell, CEO of BookaBed, added: “We are very excited to partner with TBO and delighted to join the TBO family. As the world returns to travel, BookaBed looks forward to leveraging TBO's technology and content. This combined with BookaBed’s deep distribution reach and market position in Ireland and the UK creates an even more compelling value for BookaBed customer partners.”

He added, “We will continue to service our customers as we currently do and promote and operate the BookaBed brand that is so well known in these markets. There will be no change to our management, sales or support teams.”

TBO is one of the leading global travel distribution platforms connecting over 100,000 travel buyers across more than 110 countries with millions of travel suppliers, as of October 31, 2021.

BookaBed AG, based in Switzerland, is also a B2B accommodation provider to the Irish and UK travel industries. BookaBed intends to increase its market share in Ireland and the UK by leveraging TBO’s global API business, and TBO Academy that trains and educates travel agents and travel trade partners.

IndiGo has announced the appointment of Vinay Malhotra, Former Group COO at VFS Global, as Head of International Sales. Vinay will report to Sanjay Kumar, Chief Strategy & Revenue Officer of IndiGo.

Also, IndiGo’s Chief Commercial Officer Willy Boulter has decided to leave the airline in July this year.

Sanjay will now additionally head its abroad enterprise.

Novotel Goa Candolim and Novotel Resort and Spa have roped in Uday Bhatnagar as the Director of Revenue Management.

In his role, Uday will be supervising the revenue management and distribution strategy of the hotel along with managing day to day yield operations. Uday has been previously attached to Ibis Goa in 2008.

His last assignment was in the role of a revenue management consultant at AAPC India office.

With Indian outbound travel market getting ready to reopen and travel around the world again, Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) New Delhi, Shinhan Bank and Utazzo Travel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote a one of its kind savings cum deposit plan called “Let’s Go Korea” for Indian travellers to plan their holiday to South Korea. The plan allows travellers to invest for their future trip to Korea and receive exclusive offers on their Korea travel bookings from Utazzo Travel.

The customers can invest in monthly instalments ranging between INR 2,000 to INR 100,000 with Shinhan Bank for a duration of up to 1 year. The Shinhan bank offers an attractive rate of interest of 5.75% per annum that can be availed at the end of the deposit period. The buyers of this monthly saving cum recurring deposit plan are entitled for exclusive discounts and money back offers provided by Utazzo travel.

As the exclusive travel agency partner, Utazzo Travel will curate multiple packages at attractive rates, valid till December 31, 2023. The buyers will be provided with a special 10% discount and 5% cash back on the South Korea package cost & a voucher worth INR 25,000 for other future bookings.

Not just this the package buyers will receive an exclusive photo shoot in South Korea. The customers need to enroll for the Let’s Go Korea plan with Shinhan bank and fill a Google form to avail these exclusive offers. One lucky winner from the package Korea package buyers will also receive a free stay for two at a 5 star hotel in India.

The list does not end here, Korea Tourism Organization will also be providing a special early bird prize to the first 300 customers who enroll for this savings plan. The box is specially curated for travel lovers with premium travel accessories and Korean experience items.

Talking about this unique collaboration Young Geul Choi, Director, KTO, New Delhi said, “Let’s Go Korea is a unique product that will give Indian travelers a big reason to put Korea on their travel plans this year. This is a win-win proposition for value-conscious Indian travelers as they not just earn interest on their money but can also avail other benefits. Thanks to our partners Shinhan Bank and Utazzo Travel who have come together for this special collaboration.”

“Korea is fast-emerging as the hot destination of choice for young Indian travelers and we are delighted to partner Shinhan Bank and KTO to promote this unique offering. For customers, a long international holiday typically means saving money, average accommodation quality and several other things that one might have to compromise on. Let’s Go Korea allows you to book one of our multiple travel packages at special prices, pay in premiums and to top it up, you earn interest. This truly is a stellar deal to bag.” Said Ashutosh Dwivedi, Founder and CEO, Utazzo Travel.

Bongkyun Seo, CEO, Shinhan Bank added, “Let’s Go Korea is in line with our larger mission to build a better world through the power of finance. We have always been seeking new approaches and offer products and services that keep in pace with the changing times. Travel in this post-pandemic world has just started picking up and we are delighted to be the partner of choice to travel enthusiasts looking at visiting South Korea this year.”

Starting from 1st April 2022, South Korea will welcome visitors who have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations will be exempt from mandatory quarantine.

 

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