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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

With the aim to augment its sustainability initiatives, The Oberoi Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of four PSU’s under the Ministry of Power. EESL through its Building Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) will assist The Oberoi Group in implementing several well-established energy efficient initiatives, including clean energy systems across its properties. These initiatives will help reduce the Group’s overall carbon footprint and strengthen its energy conservation efforts.

Under the partnership, EESL, through its nationwide network, will collaborate with all Oberoi Group Hotels to evaluate opportunities for saving energy and lowering emissions. EESL will recommend select energy programs from its portfolio with proven track records of successful implementation. Additionally, as a part of The Oberoi Group’s efforts towards sustainability, tailor-made energy efficiency initiatives for each of their hotels & resorts will be executed.

EESL will provide technical support and extend its procurement advantage through its partners across the energy sector. The potential energy efficiency measures will include lighting, electric motors & pumps, air-conditioning, ventilation systems, indoor air quality systems and electric vehicles along with charging infrastructure.

Speaking about this partnership, Mr. Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairman, EESL, said, “Energy efficiency is becoming central to sustainable growth of businesses. EESL has pioneered energy efficiency improvement across India and empowered millions of people through its innovative schemes. Our partnership with The Oberoi Group stands testament to the exemplary vision and progressive approach of a hospitality leader in joining the forces of achieving sustainable development of the country.”

Vikram Oberoi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Oberoi Group, said, “Sustainability is at the core of our ethos at The Oberoi Group. It has always been our endeavour to identify and implement innovative, ecological solutions across our hotels and businesses. Several of our hotels are powered by renewable sources and are supplemented with energy efficient measures which have progressively reduced our carbon footprint. Our partnership with EESL further strengthens our commitment towards the planet and our vision of providing sustainable luxury experiences to our guests.”

47% of Indian travellers keen to book international travel within six weeks of restrictions easing, compared to the global average of 41%, says a study commissioned by Amadeus and delivered by Census wide.

As governments and the travel industry explore the benefits of digital health passports, the message from Indian travellers is clear: digital health passports can be a vital tool in opening up travel once again. The study found that 93% of Indian travellers would be comfortable using a digital health passport for future trips, as the appetite to travel remains high with nearly half (47%) expressing their interest in booking international travel within six weeks once the restrictions are lifted.

The study further revealed that over the past three quarters, 79% of Indian travellers would be willing to store their travel health data electronically if it meant it will enable them to travel sooner, and if it enabled them to pass through the airport faster with less face-to-face interactions with others.

The international study that included over 1,000 respondents from India, indicates that there is enough incentive for authorities and businesses to accelerate plans for digital health passports.  In fact, 57% stated that they would be happy for a digital health passport to become the norm.

Despite an overwhelming response to digital health passports, when queried further, there are concerns about security and privacy such as:

• 34% of respondents are worried about data security risks with their personal information being hacked,

  28% of respondents are concerned about lack of transparency and control over how and where their data will be shared.

Surprisingly, the highest scepticism around digital health passports was reported among Gen Z, with 12% saying that they would not be comfortable using a digital health passport under any circumstances.

The travel industry needs to consider and explore the checks and balances to ease privacy concerns and build traveler confidence in digital health passports, to which the survey found that:

  Over half of Indian travellers (53%) would be comfortable using a digital passport if it was accepted by most countries and was regulated as per international standards,

• 8 out of 10 (80%) would be more likely to store health data on a secured app where a travel provider has partnered with a trusted healthcare provider.

Even though receptiveness to sharing data is high, when asked about the technologies that would increase confidence in travel in the next 12 months, mobile solutions were highlighted as a popular option.

Mani Ganeshan, Head of R&D, APAC, Amadeus, says, “As businesses navigate out of the global pandemic, the future of travel looks optimistic.  This study offers a clear roadmap for the industry, by acknowledging the appetite for technologies that can address the concerns of travellers, whether it is better access to information or reducing physical proximity. Innovations such as digital health passports can catalyse both traveller confidence and the opening of international borders once again. With the world racing towards digital transformation unlike ever before, sophisticated travel-friendly apps will help build the much-needed confidence for travellers both worldwide and in India”.

Christophe Bousquet, CTO, Amadeus, comments, “This study reinforces the key role that technology will play in rebuilding travel. We’ve seen a shift since our last survey, as travellers now place more focus on mobile and touchless technology, crucial areas that will clearly strengthen traveller confidence. It’s also very relevant to see that travellers are open to digital health passports and sharing their data as they move through the journey, once the right safeguards are in place. At Amadeus, we’re committed to rebuilding a better industry, together with our customers and partners.”

Maestro Andrea Bocelli gave a stunning performance within the surrounds of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra last night. The concert’s many stand out moments included a performance from Andrea Bocelli with his 9-year-old daughter Virginia.

The duo sang Hallelujah to the delighted and intimate crowd attending the event. In fact, the concert is the first time Andrea has shared the stage with both his son Matteo and his daughter. The multi-talented family showed off their musical prowess with Bocelli swapping instruments throughout the performance.

The musical genius is said to be able to play any instrument he puts his hands on and proved this on arrival at AlUla International Airport by playing a rendition of O sole mio on a Qanoun, or Zither.

Bocelli says the concert was about a celebration of life and music, “Our planet is beautiful and music is the world’s great unifier so this moment for us has been about spreading a little joy as we all see the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to enjoying music together again soon.”

The concert marks the third successive year that Bocelli has performed in AlUla having delighted audiences at the previous two Winter at Tantora festivals. However, this is the first time that the ancient city of Hegra will be the setting for a music event of this calibre.

Hegra, built in the first century BCE by the Nabataean Kingdom, is an ancient desert city home to thousands of tombs cut into sandstone mountains. At least 100 tombs have elaborate carved facades, a signature of the skilled Nabataean craftsmen.

Bocelli said performing in such as setting was a very special moment for the family and for all the musicians on stage: “To be here creating a piece of history in such an inspirational setting so rich in human ingenuity, heritage and culture is truly a moment we will never forget.”

Maestro Bocelli will go directly from AlUla, Saudi Arabia to Genoa, Italy to record the opera Otello, by Giuseppe Verdi.

Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) is undertaking the engineering, procurement, and construction of NIA Phase- 1 (i.e., 12 million passengers per annum capacity) under various packages pursuant to a two-stage international competitive e-tender process.

YIAPL is inviting responses to its e-Request for Qualification (e-RFQ) from financially sound, experienced, and reputed contractors to short-list the tenderers for award of – engineering, procurement, and construction of terminal and associated works (Package- 1), and airside, landside, and associated works (Package- 2), in accordance with terms and conditions of the e-RFQ.

Yamuna International Airport Private Limited (YIAPL) has been granted the right to develop, operate and maintain the Noida International Airport (NIA) on DBFOT basis.

Turkey started full fledge vaccination of the tourism employees in coordination with The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Health and Turkey Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA).

Vaccination program will cover the employees of the airlines, airports, accommodation facilities, travel agencies as well as the professional guides. Vaccination of the entire tourism staff will be completed before the beginning of 2021 summer season.

Within the scope of ‘Safe Tourism Certification Program’, vaccination program aims to welcome international travelers for the upcoming summer season and ensure the health and safety of tourism employees and its residents. Since the launch of ‘Safe Tourism Certification Program’ in June 2020, Turkey has been following stringent health and safety guidelines and taking all necessary steps to ensure it continues to be safe.

Before the opening of the season, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism started to work on inclusion of the tourism sector employees into the vaccination program to ensure that the tourism services in the country remain open throughout the year. The vaccination program is carried out meticulously in coordination with the Ministry of Health. Vaccination program of tourism employees started in line with priorities and within the scope of the 'Safe Tourism Certification Program'.

As part of continuing effort to fight against COVID-19 and further enhance position as one of the world’s safest destinations, Turkey is continuing to invest in ‘Safe Tourism Certification Program’ which is one of the first and most successful examples in the world in this field. The Country has expanded the scope of the practice and made it compulsory for accommodation facilities with 30 or more rooms. Up to now more than 8.000 facilities were certified.

As the Country is expecting a V-shaped recovery in touristic travels, tourism workforce is prioritized for vaccination. Turkey is taking all actions to make sure it remains to be a healthy and safe tourism destination in 2021 and will be one of the top choices as a safe travel option for international travelers.

Emirates celebrates the UAE’s progress in vaccinating its citizens and residents from COVID-19 through a national vaccination programme that has administered close to 9 million vaccines doses to date.

The special flight, which carried fully vaccinated crew and passengers onboard, was unprecedented in the industry in scale. With close to 400 fully vaccinated customers onboard, the flight illustrates confidence and undiminished excitement for air travel.

EK2021 was also supported by fully vaccinated teams across the aviation eco-system, from onboard crew to ground staff, demonstrating the readiness of the UAE’s aviation eco-system to support the safe rebound of air travel.

In spite of the pandemic, the UAE has maintained its status as a leading global aviation hub and it will continue to grow its position as a hub for passengers and cargo traffic by investing in innovations and close collaborations with all stakeholders.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said: “The UAE’s rapid pace and progress in vaccinating our population is a testament of our leadership’s vision and commitment to safeguard our communities, and manage the pandemic by adopting the appropriate measures to protect both nationals and residents. Today’s flight is a showcase of the combined efforts and dedication of all stakeholders in supporting the vaccination programme, and the implementation of protocols in the past 12 months to ensure a safe travel journey, stimulate passenger traffic and set the groundwork for the ramp up of air travel in the near future. Emirates continues to support the national vaccination programme and we are pleased with the progress made within the group in vaccinating our employees.”

Adel Al Redha, Emirates Chief Operating Officer said: “We would like to thank the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Dubai Health Authority, The UAE General Civil Aviation authority (GCAA), Dubai Airports, GRFDA, Dubai Police, Airbus and Pure Health as well as other stakeholders for their close cooperation and support of our special flight.”

The UAE currently has one of the world’s highest rate of vaccinations for its citizens and residents at 90.22 doses per 100 people. The outstanding effort by the health authorities in the UAE has contributed to reaching the administration of close to 9 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

In parallel, the Emirates Group vaccination programme rolled out to its UAE-based workforce less than three months ago, and since then has delivered COVID-19 shots to over 35,000 Emirates employees across its vaccination centres.

The flight was operated with Emirates’ newest A380 aircraft which featured the airline’s brand-new Premium Economy seats, and refreshed cabin interiors across every cabin class.

The Fern Hotels & Resorts has opened The Fern Brentwood Resort & Spa in the picturesque mountains of Mussoorie in Uttrakhand. This is the second resort the company has opened in the state, after Bhimtal (Nainital). This takes the tally to 80 operational properties in India, Nepal and Seychelles.

Expressing happiness on the latest addition in the portfolio, Suhail Kannampilly, CEO, Fern Hotels & Resorts, said: “The Fern Hotels have been looking at opening hotels & resorts in various leisure destinations across India. We recently opened a hotel in Gangtok. We will be opening a few more properties in such beautiful and scenic locations”.

Situated amidst The Queen of Hills- Mussoorie, The Fern Brentwood comprises 73 well-appointed rooms.  The hotel offers multiple dining options and state of the art banqueting facilities. Ideally suited for both nature & religious travel, the resort is centrally located just off The Mall.

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) is organizing a mega tourism promotion event in Srinagar “Tapping the Potential of Kashmir: Another Day in Paradise” from 11th -13th April 2021.

Manoj Sinha, Lt. Governor of the UT of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/C) Prahlad Singh Patel addressed the delegates at the inauguration of the event. The event is being organized by the MoT in association with the Tourism Department of Jammu Kashmir, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FICCI) and the Indian Golf Tourism Association (IGTA).

The objective of the event is to showcase the myriad tourism products of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and promote tourism to Jammu & Kashmir as the destination for leisure, Adventure, Eco, Wedding, films and MICE Tourism. Secretary Ministry of Tourism Arvind Singh and other senior officers of the Ministry will also be present on this occasion.

Several interesting programmes, discussion sessions, technical tours , exhibitions , interactions forms the part of the event including  a Technical Visit to the Tulip Gardens for the delegates and a B2B Session wherein leading tour operators from other parts of India are expected to participate and interact with their counterparts in Jammu & Kashmir. There will be presentations on Tourism Potential of Jammu & Kashmir, address by senior government dignitaries including Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Shri Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary – Tourism, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir.

Plenary Sessions on 12th April 2021 will include four Panel Discussions on the subjects, ‘Taking Kashmir to the next level as preferred tourist destination’, ‘Making Kashmir more eventful’, Showcasing the Diverse Tourism Products of Kashmir’and ‘Wazwan, Zaffran, and Shikara the story Continues…’ and a ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ with Master Chef Pankaj Bhadouria. The Department of Tourism, Government of Jammu & Kashmir will also organize a Laser Show at the famous Dal Lake followed by a Cultural Programme .A Golf Tournament is also being organized at the picturesque Royal Springs Golf Course, Srinagar for important invitees including Diplomats from Kenya, Vietnam and Georgia and other leading Golfers in the country.

Air Seychelles has resumed its commercial passenger flights from Mumbai to Seychelles effective 8th April, following the air bubble agreement between India and the Seychelles. Good air connectivity, fewer travel restrictions and with relevant safety protocols in place, Seychelles are all set to inspire confidence to white sand adorned Island nation from India.

Seychelles becomes second foreign destination after Maldives which has opened for tourism. Air Seychelles flights departing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai will operate on Thursdays and Sundays. Return flights from Seychelles International Airport are scheduled on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The twice-a-week flight schedule has been carefully planned to provide business and leisure travellers flexibility to book a short or extended holiday in the Seychelles. With the ideal weather throughout the year, visitors can enjoy abundant sunshine when exploring the Seychelles Islands through a wide range of activities. Indians can even opt to tie the knot at a secluded location on the beach, making it an ideal wedding destination.

Air Seychelles, currently operating from Mumbai, under the bubble agreement, plans to connect to more cities within India following several charter flights conducted over the past year to Ahmedabad, Delhi and Chennai amidst the pandemic Air Seychelles Chief Executive Officer, Remco Althuis said: “Today’s flight from Mumbai to the Seychelles had approximately 80% load factor, proof that the demand for travel is definitely there. With Seychelles now open to visitors, to stimulate the demand on this route, Air Seychelles will continue to work with its partners in India to build awareness about the airlines’ product, services, and attractive fares on offer to destination Seychelles. Our partner agents are also combining interesting tour packages to the beautiful islands and with Air Seychelles direct flights, if you are tired of being indoors and want to completely disconnect from the bustling city life, Seychelles tis the ideal location for your holiday."

Domestic passenger traffic in March 2021 has been estimated at ~77-78 lakh, implying a flat growth on a Y-o-Y basis on a low base of March 2020 (which had witnessed a Y-o-Y decline of 33.1% in domestic passenger traffic) as domestic travel was affected with effect from March 25, 2020.

Passenger traffic in March 2021 witnessed a marginal sequential decline of ~1% over ~78.3 lakh domestic passenger traffic in February 2021. The airlines’ capacity for March 2021 was around 2% higher than their March 2020 capacity (~71,300 departures in March 2021, against 69,910 departures in March 2020). On a sequential basis, the number of departures in March 2021 were higher by ~11%.

According to Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA, “The number of flights departing has also gradually increased from 416 on Day 1 to 2,885 on Day 267 (February 14, 2021). For March 2021, the average daily departures were ~2,300, higher than the average daily departures of 2,255 in March2020 (effect of cessation of domestic travel for the last seven days), and marginally higher than ~2,296 in February 2021. The average number of passengers per flight during March 2021 was 109, against an average of 111 passengers per flight in March 2020. Thus, it is expected that the domestic aviation industry operated at a passenger load factor (PLF) of ~72% in March 2021, against 73.1% in March 2020, which was also impacted by the pandemic. The PLF for March 2021 was lower than the ~79% in February 2021, due to the increase in capacity deployment by ~11%. Overall, for FY2021 (i.e. from May 25, 2020 till March 31, 2021), domestic passenger traffic has been pegged at ~53.4 million, a Y-o-Y decline of ~62% (over FY2020), in line with ICRA’s estimates.”

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) permitted increasing the capacity to 45%, with effect from June 27, 2020; post the initial recommencement of operations of the scheduled domestic flights, with effect from May 25, 2020 to a limited extent i.e. a maximum 1/3rd of their respective approved capacity of the Summer Schedule 2020. It further permitted increasing the capacity to 60%, with effect from September 02, 2020, to 70%, with effect from November 11, 2020; and further to 80%, with effect from December 03, 2020.

While the scheduled international operations are yet to start, the MoCA has permitted international operations under the Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) and Air Transport Bubbles (ATB). Under the VBM for evacuation of Indian citizens from foreign countries, which started from May 07, 2020, the international passenger traffic (inbound and outbound) for Indian carriers has been ~30 lakh for the period May 07, 2020 to March 31, 2021. For March 2021, international passenger traffic for Indian carriers under VBM was recorded at ~4.5 lakh, a sequential increase of ~12%.

As for the aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices, following the pandemic, crude oil prices declined materially – reaching a low of ~US$19/ barrel in April 2020, thus leading to a decline in ATF prices. However, the crude oil prices have increased gradually since then, and currently ranges at around US$65/ barrel. Consequently, the ATF prices increased sequentially by 24.1% in July 2020 and by 4.2% in August 2020. However, it declined sequentially by 3.4% in September 2020 and by 5.6% in October 2020, before increasing by 4.6% in November 2020, by 9.1% in December 2020, by 10.2% in January 2021, by 5.4% in February 2021, and by 10.4% in March 2021. It declined sequentially by 1.8% in April 2021. While until February 2021, the ATF prices were still lower on a Y-o-Y basis, the March 2021 prices were higher by 3.0% on a Y-o-Y basis, and April 2021 prices have been higher still by a whopping 59.8% on a Y-o-Y basis, attributed to the low base of April 2020, when the prices declined sequentially by 36.7% due to the impact of the pandemic.



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