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This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
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Emirates has expanded its insurance coverage on top of its current COVID-19 cover. This new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover will automatically apply to all Emirates tickets purchased from 1 December and extends to Emirates codeshare flights operated by partner airlines, as long as the ticket number starts with 176.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Chairman and Chief Executive said: “Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID-19 cover for travelers back in July, and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging. We’ve not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We’re very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, which is another industry first, to all our customers.
“We see a strong appetite for travel around the world, especially heading into the winter holidays as people seek warmer climates and family destinations like Dubai. By launching this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, we aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021.”
“We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Emirates, and we are excited to work with them to tailor this product to meet the needs of Emirates customers worldwide,” said Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel. “Our hope is to help alleviate some of the concerns travelers may have when planning travel during this time.”
Like other multi-risk travel insurance products, Emirates’ generous cover also has provisions for personal accidents during travel, winter sports cover, loss of personal belongings, and trip disruptions due to unexpected air space closure, travel recommendations or advisories.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that it is in the final development phase of the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders. Governments are beginning to use testing as a means of limiting the risks of COVID-19 importation when re-opening their borders to travelers without quarantine measures. IATA Travel Pass will manage and verify the secure flow of necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, laboratories and travelers.
“Today borders are double locked. Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of IATA Travel Pass. We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“Our main priority is to get people traveling again safely. In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both. And we have built it using a modular approach based on open source standards to facilitate interoperability. It can be used in combination with other providers or as a standalone end-to-end solution. The most important thing is that it is responsive to industry’s needs while enabling a competitive market,” said Nick Careen, IATA's Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.
The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for later this year and the launch slated for quarter one 2021.
Accor has added India and Turkey to its Middle East & Africa region. The newly expended region will now comprise of a portfolio of more than 84,000 rooms across 400 hotels.
With the industry’s most dynamic portfolio of brands, covering every market segment from economy to luxury and comprising innovative lifestyle concepts, branded residences and extended-stay models, the Group is taking a leading role in the hospitality landscape.
This regional expansion brings an increased pipeline of over 112 properties, scheduled to open in the coming 24 months, bringing the overall number of keys close to 110,000 rooms, making it the largest international hospitality operator in the region.
Mark Willis, Chief Executive Officer, Turkey, India, Middle East & Africa, Accor, said, “Our expanded portfolio of more than 35 brands across the entire market spectrum – economy, midscale, upscale, and luxury – is a catalyst for growth in the region; it means we have a range of hospitality options for every project in every destination. The addition of Turkey and India to our already diverse region means that we will be able to consolidate the existing relationship and work that has been accomplished over the years and centralize it into a collective effort. It is in a strategic but natural move that we are integrating India and Turkey to our portfolio with long term plans in sight for the future of the region.”
The group’s portfolio in India features some of Accor’s key mid and economy hotel brands, such as ibis and Novotel, but also the iconic Fairmont Jaipur and Sofitel BKC in Mumbai from the luxury segment. In the beginning of 2021, the group will be introducing the Raffles brand into the country with the first Raffles in Udaipur. The property will be located in the western state of Rajasthan, also known as the “Venice of the East” and famous for its lakes, temples and palaces.
Accor’s development in India has strategically evolved to locate its properties in the most sought after cities, business hubs and touristic attractions. In Mumbai, travellers can choose to stay at the iconic Sofitel Mumbai BKC Hotel and find themselves immersed in luxury 5-star service, celebrating a perfect mélange of the French way of life and warm Indian hospitality. Strategically located in the central business district of the city – The Bandra Kurla Complex, Sofitel Mumbai is designed specifically for the global traveler, offering multifaceted experiences in cuisine, entertainment and relaxation. During their stay, visitors will enjoy a traditional meal at Jyran restaurant or at the Pondichery Café to indulge in a range of delicacies serving the best of world cuisines.
In New Delhi, guests traveling for business can choose to stay at three of Accor’s properties strategically located near the international Delhi airport. At Pullman New Delhi Aerocity can find themselves located only 200 meters away from the Delhi Aerocity metro station and immerse in a hotel featuring six restaurants and bars, a full service spa and salon, and an outdoor swimming pool. At Novotel New Delhi Aerocity, guests will find themselves near the business hubs of Gurgaon, New Delhi and Cyber city. ibis New Delhi Aerocity is a smart economy hotel which promises modernity, comfort and service at the best price. Accor is the largest hotel operator in the Aerocity precinct.
For families travelling to India and looking for adventure, Novotel Imagicaa Khopoli offers a unique combination of premium facilities and strategic location next to India’s most exciting amusement park, Imagica Theme Park. The hotel features 287 rooms, four Food & Beverage outlets and a large pillar less ballroom where guests can enjoy family holiday, a business event, a romantic getaway or a wedding.
Mark Willis, CEO Turkey, India, Middle East & Africa, said, “The integration of India into our region is a great opportunity to contribute to the group’s strategic development in the country, more specifically, with the expansion of our luxury portfolio. With the introduction of landmarks such as Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel in the pipeline, combined with the rich cultural and historical heritage offered by the country, travelers will certainly find their fit whether traveling for leisure or business.”
In Turkey, Accor is looking to strengthen its existing portfolio of 54 properties in the country with 10 properties in the pipeline. When visiting the country, travelers can choose from the diverse properties strategically located across the country, including Rixos Premium Belek, set on the stunning shore of the Mediterranean Sea where guests can relax by the pool or discover the rural beauties from the Tauras Mountains to ancient ruins and national parks.
When visiting Istanbul, guests can choose to stay at the luxurious Raffles Istanbul located at the Zorlu center to enjoy the exclusive shopping or at the iconic Swissôtel Istanbul The Bosphorus, located in the center of Istanbul on the European Banks of the Bosphorus with the promise of an exquisite experience.
Since joining forces with Turkish grown brand Rixos in 2017, it has been a priority for Accor to work together to take on new opportunities to strengthen the brand’s footprint in the Middle East and wider region. With the integration of Turkey, the region will see an addition of 11 Rixos properties to its footprint, which already counts with 8 hotels and resorts across the UAE and Egypt.
“We have seen Turkey becoming an increasingly popular destination for UAE residents and citizens, as well as other Gulf nationals”, said Mark Willis. The country’s proximity combined with easy visa formalities makes it attractive for in and outbound travel in the region”.
In its “Where to Go” survey of 1050 CheckMyTrip users across Asia Pacific, Amadeus finds that travelers are looking to take holidays. “27% of APAC travelers expressed a strong desire to travel immediately when travel restrictions lift, with 37% planning their next trip one to three months after they lift. While there is a strong preference to go farther from home, 70% of APAC travelers are ready to travel domestically,” Amadeus said in its recent report.
Reconnecting with family and friends is the predominant reason for 55% of APAC travelers planning their next leisure trip in the coming months. At the same time, travelers are also seeking a sense of adventure to satisfy their pent-up wanderlust, with 34% opting to explore unfamiliar destinations for ‘new travel experiences’ and 32% desiring to ‘reconnect with the outdoors’.
Ramona Bohwongprasert, Senior Vice President, Retail in Travel Channels, Asia Pacific, Amadeus said: “The data tells us that travel demand is there. Across Asia Pacific, travelers are energized and ready to holiday within their own shores this festive season, to reunite with family and friends or explore new destinations that offer outdoor getaway experiences. However, their behaviors have changed, with travelers not willing to commit to holiday plans too far in advance and COVID-19 factors such as onsite cleanliness and testing measures now weigh in when travelers evaluate accommodation and transit options. Travel sellers and operators will need to cover new ground to provide the experience that domestic tourists are seeking this coming holiday season.”
Customized travel experiences win out over pre-packaged leisure travel options, with 70% of APAC travelers preferring to curate their own holidays and/or with the help of a travel agent. Group and guided tour packages have dramatically declined in popularity, with only 8% of APAC travelers considering a holiday package cruise of more than 50 people.
Gaurav Bhatnagar, Director, Travel Boutique Online said, “To help travelers rediscover their cities, and regions and support local tourism experiences, travel agents will need to get creative on ‘what to sell’. The domestic travel market will be highly competitive this holiday season, so offers must be eye catching and personalized. Travel agents will need to reimagine how they sell and package domestic travel experiences by adding flexibility and identifying new segments that are less explored.”
Convincing travelers that it is safe to travel via airlines will be a priority for travel sellers, with APAC travelers more likely to say they are ‘less than comfortable with flying but will continue to do so’. New features such as touchless kiosks that use QR codes and mobile boarding passes, combined with new policies such as mask compliance and removing middle seats, could help to boost confidence.
Rajeev Kumar, CEO & Managing Director, Mystifly said, “This holiday season travelers will be wary of the risks and need to be fully convinced that it’s safe for themselves and their families to fly. Technology as an enabler will play an important role in driving demand – by rethinking their products and services to be seamless, efficient and touchless, airlines can create experiences that reinforce trust and value.”
Insurance is now an integral part of the travel purchase, with 47% of APAC travelers likely to purchase travel insurance for every trip, where once it was an afterthought. Another important factor to the traveler journey this holiday season is the travel agent. One fifth of APAC travelers expect to lean on travel agents for their next domestic trip, for recommendations, problem solving and support.
GMJ Thampy, CMD, Riya Travel & Tours, said: ““The easing of lockdown restrictions will lead to a gradual recovery in leisure travel across India. With India still closed to international tourism, travel during the December-January season will be driven by our strong domestic market. We expect to see a shift in traveler trends this year, with a preference for shorter trips to meet family members, travelling in their own vehicles and destinations with COVID-19 measures such as mandatory testing. Highlighting new hygiene and safety measures will help to ensure we can welcome back tourists with greater care and safety.”
In interviews conducted by Amadeus with travel agency executives across Asia Pacific including Australia, India and the Philippines, 38% believe the way they sell travel will change this year. Travel agents are looking to get ‘more creative’ in their selling strategy, to shape and tailor travel offers to specific traveler personas, as well as highlight added flexibility and insurance coverage.
Kit Sananwathananont, Managing Director of G.M. Tour & Travel, said, “Travelers will demand a higher level of personalisation, reassurance and empathy this holiday season. Travel agents that combine technology with a ‘human touch’ can deliver excellent customer service that will have a positive impact on travelers’ trust and loyalty, and ultimately help jump-start the travel industry for 2021.”
Taking the next stride in boosting regional aerial connectivity in India under RCS-UDAN of the Government of India, the second direct flight commenced operations today from Hyderabad, Telangana to Nashik, Maharashtra.
Post the successful launch of flight operations by Alliance Air on the Hyderabad – Nashik route, SpiceJet has become the second airline to commence direct flight operations on this route. SpiceJet was awarded the Hyderabad – Nashik route under the RCS-UDAN-2 bidding process. The airline is being provided Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the UDAN scheme to keep the fares affordable & accessible for the common people. The airline will be operating four weekly flights and will deploy its 78-seater Q400 aircraft. Nashik is the 14th destination to be connected under UDAN by SpiceJet
The Hyderabad – Nashik route received a massive demand from the passengers owing to the trade and tourism opportunities possessed by the Nashik city.
Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) India has recently launched the Macao Specialist Program for travel agents. COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global economy on a standstill, with the travel and hospitality industry being hit the hardest. In such times, to continue staying connected with travel agents and keep them abreast about the developments in Macao, MGTO decided to introduce its first E-learning destination specialist program in India
The special training program aims to educate and upskill the expertise of the travel trade agents & tour operators across the country about Macao’s offerings and points of appeal as an outbound destination. Each varied module in the program is designed to ensure that the agents are well equipped with accurate information to promote Macao as an ideal destination for Indian travellers and will be able to provide them with interesting itineraries.
Post completing and passing each module in the specialist programme, the participants will be certified as a Macao Specialist.
Shillong, the capital city of the North Eastern state of Megahlaya, is all set to be connected to Delhi next month. The development was disclosed during a meeting between Megahlaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (IC) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space.
Singh appreciated the decision to start direct air flight for Shillong from Delhi from next month. He said that this was a long pending demand.
A direct flight to Shillong from Delhi, said the DoNER Minister, will not only bring ease of travel but also promote tourism in the State. He said, with some of the tourist resorts in Northeast, including in Meghalaya, of late becoming much sought after because of the relatively lesser effect of COVID pandemic, this decision will certainly serve as a boost in more ways than one for different sectors.
Singh told Sangma that special impetus is being given to improve connectivity and transport through new airports, air flights in different sectors, double-gauge rail track across the region, network of roads and new Inland Waterways.
Industry Federation FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality) has submitted its pre- budget recommendations to the Union Budget FY 21 -22 for the tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India. Their vision is Tourism - Made in India. India should aim to become one of the most preferred Tourism destinations both for domestic and international tourists offering best in class tourism experiences, infrastructure & services and to enable Indian tourism entrepreneurs to create value for all their stakeholders.
In line with this vision, FAITH has proposed the following Budgetary themes for Indian Tourism for Union Budget FY 21 - 22: One India, One Tourism; Export Competitiveness; Domestic Leadership; Capital Formation and Removing inefficiencies. T3 carries here the detailed proposals of FAITH:
1. National Tourism Council is required since Tourism encompasses multiple ministries and takes place in and within states. National Tourism Council must be chaired by the PM and co-chaired by the Tourism Minister and composed of Chief Ministers of all states and cabinet ministers of Government of India and must be a legislative body on the lines of GST council.
2. The Concurrent Industry Status is required for Hotels & tourism across all states as unlike commercial establishments tourism & hospitality doesn’t just retail but creates and produce high quality service. Power and water utility rates and levies must be at industrial rates effectively. All existing licenses, permits, permissions will be thoroughly examined for redundancies and standardized at a national level. There must be a level playing field in terms of compliances and entry requirements among all sub segments of conventional and alternate tourism organise the travel industry and protect it from fly by night operations.
3. Export Status is critical to double India’s share of inbound tourism to 2.5% in 5 years. It is key to Treat at par foreign exchange earning members of tourism, travel and hospitality under export and deemed export status to promote forex earnings. It is important to make available the deduction in respect of earnings in convertible foreign exchange to all the tourism & hospitality units earning. Tourism forex earnings should be effectively zero rated for GST.
4. Accordingly SEIS duty credit needs to be made available to tourism industry against their foreign exchange earnings and the rate must be pegged at 10% for both tour operators and hotels category and is made applicable on gross foreign exchange earnings for the policy period of the FTP 2020-25
5. Global Mice Bidding Fund is required to be setup of ₹ 500 crs to double mice share to 2.5% of the global mice size of $ 800 bn. In the global international congress associations rankings, this will also enable to meet the goal will be to take India’s rank to the top 10 in the world from 28 where we are currently.
6. To create structured global awareness of multiple Indian tourism verticals Corpus of least ₹ 2500 crores is required for global branding budget Sub Branding of three Tourism segments Indian MICE, Indian adventure, Indian Heritage under the Incredible India main brand. This will involve comprehensive global focus on creating segment brand ambassadors, country wise customised content, mass and social media buying and significant creatives.
7. In the post-COVID normal, each of the Indian missions abroad in each country should be activated with tourism resources for enhancing Indian tourism brand and sales distribution in all countries and also host India tourism evenings in each of the top 100 cities of the world.
8. India’s size of domestic tourism must be doubled to almost 4 bn domestic tourism visits in 5 years post normal and as such there needs to be made an income tax exemption on travelling within India income tax credits for upto ₹ 1.5 lakhs when spending with GST registered domestic tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers and transporters anywhere within the country. It is also needed to incentive Indian corporates to undertake domestic mice (meetings, incentives, conferences & events) by offering a 200% weighted income tax expense benefit to Indian companies which are undertaking mice events in India.
9. A Natural & Cultural Heritage Restoration Fund must be set up with a corpus of at least ₹ 2000 crores which encourages sustainable and responsible development around each vertical of natural & cultural heritage tourism be it in Mountaineering, cruising, trekking, wild life & reserve forests based activities , snorkelling, para gliding, whitewater rafting, conservatories, para gliding, ballooning, desert safaris in natural heritage or our palaces & forts, our monuments & museums, our food, arts & crafts & our historical sites for our cultural heritage
10. To increase the intensity of high-quality hotel accommodation in India which is currently low which has a direct correlation to low global tourism share. To increase classified quality hotel infrastructure, that would imply a mammoth capital expenditure which can only come from private sector and that requires a long term favourable low interest rate regime as Hotels are projects with long breakeven period. Hotels thus require to be declared as an infrastructure sector so that long term funds are accessible at suitable interest rates to attract private capital hospitality, to create all India jobs and build quality accommodation supply.
11. To enable tapping of hotel land across states, a national hotel SPV is recommended on a tripartite model which enables state governments & PSUs to pool their land assets which can enable PPP based on lease structures and not sale. This will drive immense hospitality capital into India.
12. A structured mechanism is required to future secure travel agents’ payments to ensure that security for travel agents & operators’ survival. This is key as Travel agents’ payments to principals is unsecured credit and some form of mechanisms whether escrow or guarantee or underwriting based mechanisms are needed to be in place to ensure that travel agents money stays secure. The recently formed ECLGS under MOF which is administering the emergency credit guarantee fund must be used to set up a travel agent underwriting fund.
13. To truly ensure a seamless tourist transportation experience it is needed to standardise all inter State road taxes and make them payable at a single point which will facilitate the ease of doing business. A national Tourism transportation policy must be laid out to that effect.
14. There are certain policy issues which need to be addressed for tourism GST. The 18% GST category for hotels above room rates of ₹ 7500 must be abolished and merged with the category of 12% GST.
Restaurants too have an 18% and also 5% slab but which is without setoffs. The 18% category needs to be abolished and there needs to be an option made available of GST at 12% with full set offs. Additionally, the needs to be no linkage to room tariffs above ₹ 7500 as it currently exists.
15. Taxes on fuel, Inter- state transportation taxes, power cess, liquor excise and also property taxes, cess on parking charges, are all forms of very high cost input indirect costs on tourism, travel & hospitality. These need to be made available as input costs setoffs for GST to truly make us one country, one tax.
17. The GST on Tour operators should be 1.8% with full set offs. Hotels need to be able to levy IGST to enable them to give GST credits to Indian corporates who do Interstate events and do not take these events international. This will streamline the complete GST chain and boost interstate corporate mice demand for hospitality.
18. 100% tax exemption and permission to write back income / TDS/ GST etc when airlines windup or closedown must be provided for.
19. TCS must be abolished, as it is an additional compliance hazard. Reduction in credit card processing charges by banks/ financial institutions is key towards 100% e-payments.
20. It is important to bring overseas global OTA’s operating in India into the tax net of GST and other taxes. The implementation of these measures will put Indian Tourism on the line of vision of Tourism - Made in India.
With the reopening of Maldives’ borders on 15th July 2020 and the increase in recent flights between Maldives and India, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), has recently commenced the launch of its marketing campaigns to boost arrivals from the Indian market and regain its market share and build brand awareness for its new brand message: ‘Rediscover Maldives…The Sunny Side of Life’.
As part of Global Media Campaign, MMPRC has planned to advertise with leading Trade and Consumer publications in India. The overall objective of this recovery initiative is to present the message that Maldives is a ‘safe haven’ for visitors and that it is one of the safest places to visit during this time, due to the health and safety measures that are in place topped with the safety offered by the unique geography of the Maldives and the one-island-one-resort concept.
This six-month long campaign is heightening significant awareness among the growing market segments of Weddings and Honeymoons in India. Maldives is building visibility through the platform’s social media, feature stories, and blogs.
The aim of this campaign is to market Maldives as one of the most preferred destinations for Indian tourists to travel to post COVID-19, especially a worthy consideration for newly married couples and honeymooners. In this regard, the campaign showcases a special aspect of the destination, as well as available benefits in these segments.
Participation in SATTE GenX- virtual exhibition
South Asian Travel and Tourism Exchange; SATTE GenX is South Asia’s First Virtual Exhibition in the Travel and Tourism industry. MMPRC took part in this two-day virtual exhibition and leveraged the opportunity to interact and connect with potential buyers from India. MMPRC showcased Maldives in a separate virtual pavilion along with 11 industry co-exhibitors.
Campaign with VOOT
As part of the ongoing recovery plan Visit Maldives kick starts a campaign with India’s most engaging Over-the-Top (OTT) video streaming platform - VOOT. Maldives is set to drive branding with a high SOV and focused targeting – categorized by demographics, geography and device; through Native advertisements. The targeted advertisements will run on the VOOT platform from 6th November to 3rd December 2020.
Participation in OTR India 2020
Together with the tourism industry partners, MMPRC participated in the Outbound Travel Roadshow 2020 India. roadshow further helped the industry partners in reaching their audience virtually, amidst the current situation.
Instagram Conference with Indian Celebrities
Taking in consideration that during lockdown the space of the Digital World came to a boom and there was a maximum shift of users to Instagram, MMPRC will be hosting an interactive Live Instagram conference on 27th November 2020 with celebrities who have been to the Maldives previously. The live session will be themed on the lines of ‘Rediscover Maldives – The Sunny Side of Life!’ and the celebrities will come together to share their experiences in the country, build awareness on the destination offerings, talk about safety & hygiene, and the latest developments and initiatives, such as the “Maldives Border Miles” program.
Courtyard by Marriott has opened of its second hotel in Ahmedabad, India. The Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad marks the sixth property to open in the city by Marriott International.
The 600-year-old wall city of Ahmedabad is the first UNESCO World Heritage City in India. Cultural seekers can indulge in rich heritage and historical architecture through the old city, visiting the iconic landmarks including Jama Masjid Mosque, Swaminarayan Temple and Hutheesing Jain Temple. One must also not miss the Sabarmati Ashram, which was home to Mahatma Gandhi for 13 years and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. For business travellers, they can easily access the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City – India's first operational smart city and international financial services centre.
Neeraj Govil, Senior Vice President, South Asia, Marriott International, said, “We are delighted to introduce our second Courtyard by Marriott hotel in the historical city of India. Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad on Sindhu Bhawan Road is Marriott International’s sixth property in the city, attesting to the brand’s popularity and also further compliments the company’s commitment to growth in the country. Courtyard is one of our fastest growing brands globally and based on the success of the brand in India, we foresee tremendous opportunities for our new hotel in Ahmedabad.”
Saptarshi Biswas, General Manager, Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad said, “The launch of Courtyard by Marriott Ahmedabad on Sindhu Bhawan Road will strengthen Marriott International’s diverse presence in Gujarat’s hospitality sector. We look forward to bringing our signature offerings to our guests through thoughtfully curated experiences, leaving them with unforgettable memories.”
Other leisure amenities at the hotel include a fitness centre, an indoor swimming pool that overlooks the city for travellers looking to stay fit while on the road. The hotel also offers extensive facilities for meetings, business conferences and social events. The versatile event space spread over 18,126 square feet, which includes a 15,770-square-foot ballroom, can accommodate up to 600 guests.
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