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PAYBACK has announced its strategic partnership with Ezeego1.com to expand its offerings into online travel category. This is a critical addition to PAYBACK’s Partner network enabling real-time enrolment and redemption of loyalty points by customers booking through Ezeego1. Both companies have a customer first approach and this partnership further solidifies the opportunity to provide a rewarding experience to the customers.
Under this partnership, PAYBACK’s 110 million members will be able to use their PAYBACK Points when making flight, hotel and holiday bookings on Ezeego1.com. In addition, they will also be able to earn two PAYBACK Points for every 100 Rupees spent on the same transaction done on Ezeego1.com with real time enrolment and registration. The partnership is aimed at driving loyalty and stickiness at the Ezeego1 travel domain by offering members a chance to earn points on their spends as well create a rewarding experience for them through redemption opportunities.
Gautam Kaushik, CEO, PAYBACK India said, “At PAYBACK, we collaborate with new-age partners across spend categories to bring greater flexibility and wider choice to our members thereby building long-term engagement on our network. We are pleased to announce this new partnership with Ezeego1.com that can provide varied travel product choices to our members and an opportunity to create more rewarding experiences.”
Neelu Singh, CEO and Director, Ezeego1 said, “Creating memorable travel experiences and adding overall value to our customer’s travel process is at the core of our business. Our partnership with PAYBACK reiterates our commitment in providing customers best travel products as well as value- added benefits through reward points that can be redeemed on Ezeego1 for travel services around the world — from airlines to car rentals, hotels and cruises.”
Railways is the most popular means of transport in India that carries a daily ridership of 25+ million from across the country. Data from leading travel marketplace ixigo suggests, around 40 per cent of the highest user rated railway stations on the basis of cleanliness are in the South. This is followed by 20 per cent in central India and 20 per cent in the west. The stations rated, not so clean are from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.
Kozhikode was ranked the best station in the country by travellers with a 4.4 rating out of five while Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, which is one of the five main stations in Delhi, has been rated the lowest by ixigo users.
Other stations that made it to the ‘best’ list include - Hubli Junction, Davangere, Dhanbad Junction, Jabalpur, Bilaspur Junction, Vadodara Junction, Rajkot Junction, Falna and Vijayawada Junction. Some of the stations that received the lowest rating by travellers include Muzaffarpur Junction, Varanasi Junction, Ajmer Junction, Bhusaval Junction, Mathura Junction and Gaya Junction.
Aloke Bajpai, CEO and Co-Founder, ixigo said, “Indian railways has been growing by 6.58 per cent over the last couple of months in 2017 alone and with effective steps taken to modernize it across the board, the ridership has only gone up. We work closely with IRCTC to facilitate train ticket booking for over seven million users on the app and we are adding over two million new users every month. By aggregating data from our users we can provide rich and detailed insights across trains and railway stations. Although Railways has already been working towards improving the quality of train travel in terms of cleanliness and hygiene, there still remains ample scope to improve services across the board as seen in this study.”
Turkish Airlines is offering 15 per cent discount on its all domestic and international flights for passengers who download the latest version of the carrier' mobile app. The offer is valid for the purchase of tickets between January 18-20. The new app offers a much better user experience when planning trips, purchasing tickets and using Miles. Buying tickets, making reservations and seeing saved flights now much faster than ever with this redesigned mobile app.
It has been also added a host of payment options to the application to enable the passengers to choose the one which suits them. By this way, they can easily purchase their tickets, or save their credit cards, or use their device’s camera to scan their credit card details to be used at checkout.
Furthermore, using the app also offers a more comprehensive Miles&Smiles experience for the passengers as using Miles to buy award tickets, purchasing additional Miles, and transferring Miles to other members.
The Government of the State of Victoria is taking action to double the value of Victoria’s annual goods exports to India to almost US$ one billion over the next decade. Recognising India’s economy as the third-largest and fastest growing on earth – the Victorian Government believes that a close bond with India will be beneficial for both economies.
Premier Daniel Andrews has unveiled Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future ahead of his first official visit to India this week.
The strategy is an ambitious blueprint aimed at growing exports to India, attracting more international students to enrol at Victoria’s world-leading education providers and encouraging more people from India to experience for themselves the best of everything a visit to Victoria can offer.
The strategy includes; increasing the trade between the two economies to almost US$ one billion by 2027; increasing the number of Indian postgraduate research students in Victoria by 25 per cent and increasing the exchange between educational institutes of both communities; doubling the number of Victorian businesses engaged in India from 150 to 300; increasing the cultural exchanges between both India and Victoria; increasing the number of Indian visitors to Victoria
Victoria’s world-renowned expertise in fields such as health, sport, tourism and education combined with India’s appetite to innovate and grow presents enormous opportunities for both the economies
Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future is the result of hundreds of hours of consultation with more than 200 partners, including senior representatives from community organisations, business, government and academic groups within the Australian Indian community.
Andrews said, “This blueprint is all about creating a close bond between India and Victoria and strengthening both cultural and trade links that will benefit both economies. We have a plan and we’re getting it done. Our tourism, international education, sport and cultural and innovation offerings are the envy of the world. We want India to experience for themselves the best of everything Victoria produces. We’ve worked closely with leaders and industry experts from the Australian Indian community on ways we can make our state’s bond with India even stronger.”
Lufthansa InTouch, responsible for managing customer service across the Lufthansa Group, has again selected SITA to manage its service center communication network and key infrastructure elements, ensuring that more than 11-million customers are connected to service agents every year. SITA will continue to manage and maintain its service center communication network and key infrastructure to meet the airline group’s constantly evolving needs. SITA supports more than 500 local numbers in more than 90 markets, efficiently delivering traffic via a global IP network across seven service centers managed by a team of 2,230 staff speaking more than 30 languages.
The service provided by SITA has transformed how customer calls to Lufthansa Group airlines are handled. A close integration between SITA’s global voice network and Lufthansa InTouch’s Genesys contact center platform, ensures a caller – regardless of their location – is automatically and directly routed to a consultant best equipped to meet their specific requirements. These calls are allocated according to the routing policies defined by Lufthansa InTouch on their Genesys platform.
Erik Mosch, CEO, Lufthansa InTouch said, “Our customer service consultants at Lufthansa InTouch are the main point of contact for all our passengers across Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian airlines. They represent the airline and are there to assist passengers 24 hours a day – whether by phone, email, chat or social media. Supporting this fast-moving organisation requires a partner we can rely on. SITA is such a partner, ensuring that our customers are quickly connected to an agent that can assist them in their own language in every market we fly to.”
Sergio Colella, President for Europe, SITA said, “We have leveraged our global experience and footprint to provide a service that is able to meet the evolving needs of Lufthansa InTouch. We understand that technologies change, new destinations are added and passengers shift the way they communicate. Our strength is to meet those changes with the most efficient communication infrastructure that supports an effective interaction with each of their customers.”
Thailand will host the 37th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2018) between January 22-26, 2018, at the Chiang Mai Exhibition and Convention Centre (CMECC) under the theme “ASEAN-Sustainable Connectivity, Boundless Prosperity”. The event, the largest travel trade event of the ASEAN region, is rotated annually among the 10 ASEAN countries.
Thailand is hosting the event for the sixth time, but has relocated it for the first time to Chiang Mai as part of the policy to promote secondary destinations, create more jobs in rural areas, ensure a better distribution of tourism earnings and highlight Thailand’s linkages with the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries.
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “This year, we are proud to mark the first ATF after commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN in 2017. We are delighted to have participated strongly in the “Visit ASEAN@50” campaign with a series of carefully selected Thai products, tour packages and offers to bring memorable travel experiences.”
The week-long event includes meetings of the ASEAN Tourism Ministers and national tourism organisations, private sector groupings representing ASEAN hotels, restaurants, travel agents, tour operators and airlines.
There will also be bilateral meetings with dialogue partners such as, Russia, China, Japan, India and South Korea. This year, a ministerial meeting with China will also be held for the first time.
Alongside the travel trade show, known as TRAVEX, the individual NTOs will give detailed media briefings about last year's visitor arrivals and recent tourism-related developments in their country. Additional briefings are scheduled this year by King Power and the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office.
This year, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau will host an ASEAN MICE Conference and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports will also host an ASEAN Gastronomy Conference. PATA will host a Destination Marketing Forum 2018 and the UNWTO will launch an Open Thailand Tourism Story Book.
Hotel classification guidelines have been streamlined to make them simple, transparent and time bound. The application for classification and payments of fees has been made through digital platform only and the prevalent options of application by post and payment of fees by Demand Draft has been done away with, the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India said in a press statement. This has ensured the eradication of possibility of delay/manipulation caused by human interference.
Similarly, the time limit for ensuring compliances on deficiencies of a hotel, the prevalent system had an open ended scope without any prescribed time limit. The recent amendments have included a time limit of three months, thus removing any discretion in the matter. This will ensure a time bound compliance and speedy disposal of cases.
The amendments have made it clear that liquor shops/liquor stores in the premises of the hotel other than bars will not be considered for classification under star hotels "with alcohol" category, to remove any ambiguity.
It has been made mandatory for all the hotels classified under all categories to display their classification status prominently at the reception and on their websites under a separate icon on the opening page, which will display the order of classification issued by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India.
The amendments have included a detailed timeline within which the classification has to be completed. In every case where the required documents and procedures are fulfilled, the classification will be completed within 90 days. Event wise time limits (like inspection, uploading inspection report, submission of compliance in case of deficiencies, approval of Competent Authority and uploading of classification letter etc.) have been fixed to ensure that all the cases with no deficiency /compliance issues can be classified within 90 days of the date of application.
Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it has finalised shareholders agreement with the Government of Zambia for the re-launch of Zambia Airways. The Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55 per cent and Ethiopian will have 45 per cent stakes in the airline.
Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said, “In line with our Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, we are very happy that the discussions with the Zambian government have been crowned with success. The launching of Zambia Airways will enable the travelling public in Zambia and the Southern African region to enjoy greater connectivity options, thereby facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism, and contributing to the socio-economic growth of the country and the region. As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we firmly believe that it is only through partnerships among African carriers that the aviation industry of the continent will be able to get its fair share of the African market, currently heavily skewed in favour of non-African airlines, and play its rightful role in availing efficient air connectivity within Africa as well as with the rest of the world. ”
The airline is meant to initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.
Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has appointed Surajit Chatterjee as General Manager of Park Plaza Ludhiana. Surajit brings with him a hands-on experience in operation management, inventory management, quality- customer relationship management, team management & preopening hotels. His previous assignments include working with Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences & Novotel Ahmedabad, The Westin Mumbai Garden City, The Resort Mumbai, P&O Cruises UK, and The Ambassador Mumbai.
The Philippines recorded a growth of 19 per cent in visitor arrivals from India between January to November 2017. The Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippines, has confirmed recording 99,088 visitors from India until November 2017.
The Indian market continues to be one of the most important contributors of international visitors to the Philippines. India has jumped up to the 12th position for tourist arrivals in the Philippines and is consistently maintaining the position.
SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India, stated that with this growth rate, the DOT’s plan of achieving 100,000 Indian tourist arrivals by the end of 2017 will be easily achieved. He said that the double-digit growth in arrivals can also be attributed to major metros as well as feeder markets.
“Disposable income for leisure and travel-related pursuits amongst middle and affluent class travellers are the major reasons behind this remarkable growth. There has also been a steady increase in MICE movement as well as FITs and small groups travelling from India,” he added.
Over the last couple of years, DOT Philippines has been actively promoting the archipelago not only as a holiday destination but also for luxury, MICE, weddings and small group travel. Destinations such as Manila, Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan and Davao have been aggressively promoted in recent years.
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