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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

On account of the disruptions caused by the second wave of COVID 19 pandemic to businesses across various sectors of the economy, the Government has further enlarged the scope of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSMEs and aviation. “The Civil Aviation sector to be eligible under ECLGS 3.0,” the release said.

Commenting on the development, Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director Bird Group, said: “The extension of Emergency Loan Credit Guarantee Scheme for aviation sector will ease the prolonged strain on employment-intensive sector. The move will bolster the much-needed liquidity to these sectors which employ a large number of people.

“It is appreciated that inspite the revenue constraints faced by the government and its impact on the widening fiscal deficit, the government has taken cognisance of the strain the aviation sector is going through.This will help the sector tide over the cash crunch and working capital issues.

“One of the key challenges faced by the stressed sectors is severe liquidity crunch in the wake of low demand and an ECLGS scheme could help provide interim liquidity support, till demand recovers.” 

The modifications in ECLGS,would enhance the utility and impact of ECLGS by providing additional support to MSMEs, safeguarding livelihoods and helping in seamless resumption of business activity. These changes will further facilitate flow of institutional credit at reasonable terms.

Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) recently launched exclusive astro-tourism experiences in partnership with premium tour operator, Gulf Adventures, brightening up stargazers’ travel plans when borders re-open. With excellent visibility, the Qatari desert provides a truly unique setting to learn about the stars, guided by an astronomer.

The unique ‘Arabian Nights’ packages are available to book now through Gulf Adventures and are redeemable until 30 April 2022. There are four new experiences to choose from, from camping under the stars, to being escorted from a luxury hotel to a moonlit excursion.

“Qatar’s desert is a perfect spot for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the dark and starry skies. The packages will make for unforgettable experiences that travel-lovers can look forward to when we welcome them back to the country. This dazzling new addition will add to a multitude of activities visitors can enjoy in our diverse and unique country,” Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer, Qatar National Tourism Council, said.

The packages are in line with the Qatar Clean programme to protect visitors from COVID-19 and measures will be in place to adhere to government guidelines.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted permission of “No-Permission-No-Takeoff' (NPNT) compliant drone operations at 166 additional green zones to facilitate, smoothen, and promote drone operations in the country. The approved sites allow drone usage up to 400 ft Above Ground Level (AGL).

These zones are in addition to the Sixty-Six green zone sites approved earlier. The list of the approved green zone sites can be accessed from the Digital Sky Platform.  

As per DGCA, under “NPNT or ‘No Permission – No Take-off’ compliance, every Remotely Piloted Aircraft (except Nano) has to obtain valid permission through the Digital Sky platform before operating in India. The framework mandates users to register on the online portal that acts as the national unmanned traffic management system for remotely piloted aircraft. Flying in these approved ‘green-zones’ will require only intimation of the time and location of the flights via the Digital Sky portal or the app.

Drone flights in the green zone sites shall be compliant with the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 dated 12th March 2021 and other relevant orders/ guidelines issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Surat Airport has been tirelessly working to ensure that vaccines, medical equipment and other essential supplies are safely loaded and reaching their destination on time.

During April and May 2021, 5143 kgs (397 pcs) of oxygen concentrators, 1023 kgs (22 pcs) of oxygen cylinders and 1435 kgs (92 pcs) of Covid vaccines have been transported safely by Surat Airport. The airport has also facilitated five flights of IAF C-17 Globemaster movements which brought Oxygen tankers to be refilled at Surat.

Surat Airport is one of the first airports where Rapid Antigen testing is being carried out by local authorities for arriving passengers. Covid vaccination camp was also arranged for all the passengers and stakeholders during Tika utsav.

Apart from this, the airport is ensuring that all the COVID 19 related instructions and protocols of the central and state governments are being strictly adhered to, making the journey of passengers safe and hassle-free. All the employees, visitors, and passengers are always required to maintain COVID appropriate behaviour and the airport staff works tirelessly to ensure the same. All the safety measures are in place to ensure maximum protection of all the stakeholders.

Siddharth Shanker Giri is appointed Director of Sales at Radisson Blu Resort Dharamshala. With over two decades in hospitality, Siddharth has worked with leading hotel brands including Holiday Inn Resort Goa, Hilton Hotels, Pride Group of Hotels, Sarovar Hotels, Eros Hotel New Delhi and Cidade De Goa.

His last assignment was with The Suryaa New Delhi. At Radisson Blu Resort Dharamshala, Siddharth will lead the hotel's overall sales strategy and will work towards positioning the property as a leading resort in India.

 

Managed travel firm DigiTravel Consulting has appointed industry veteran Jyothi Varma as Vice President-India. In her new assignment, Jyothi will expand and penetrate the reach of DigiTravel in India market.

Jyothi, in her over 25 years of experience in travel industry, has worked with various global brands at different levels and successfully introduced new products and processes in the corporate travel space with a focus on travel technology, payment solutions and education.

Commenting on the appointment, Susan Lichtenstein, Managing Partner, DigiTravel Consulting, said: "DigiTravel Consulting is expanding into other markets to support global companies with their next-generation business travel omnichannel consulting needs. Most global companies have their footprint in India, and the travel spend is of significant size.

"India is a leader globally in development, engineering, and innovation. Companies realize that they require new ways of managing their travel program focused on multi-channel booking options, the complete duty of care coverage, and reduced costs and fees for themselves and their suppliers. With Jyothi Varma and her expertise on board as Vice President of our Indian operations, we are confident her leadership will drive successes for the India corporate travel industry, providing progressive next-gen consulting and readiness programs for our buyer and supplier clients.”

Greeley Koch, Managing Partner, DigiTravel Consulting, added : “Jyothi and I worked together at the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, and I know there is no one better who understands how to bridge the needs of business travellers, the companies sending them on the road and the travel suppliers supporting them.  Her ability to connect with everyone will provide our Indian clients, whether corporations or travel suppliers, the best solution possible to grow their businesses.  I am so pleased to be working again with Jyothi.”

Jyothi has earlier worked with global brands such as Travelport, Amadeus, CWT and American Express.

Thomas Cook India has reported total income of Rs.401.64 crores during the period ended March 31, 2021 as compared to Rs.271.41 crores during the period ended December 31, 2020. The company reported total income of Rs.1109.02 crores during the period ended March 31, 2020.

The company has posted net loss of Rs. (10.33) crores for the period ended March 31, 2021 as against net loss of Rs. (59.34) crores for the period ended December 31, 2020. The company posted net profit of Rs.2.99 crores for the period ended March 31, 2020.

During the 12 months period ended March 31, 2021, the company has reported total income of Rs.945.74 crores as compared to Rs.6948.30 crores during the 12 months period ended March 31, 2020.

The company has posted net loss of Rs. (254.11) crores for the 12 months period ended March 31, 2021 as against net loss of Rs. (0.69) crores for the 12 months period ended March 31, 2020.

Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, "We are already seeing positive signs with the tapering of infection rates globally and travel reopening in select countries, albeit in an understandably careful and calibrated manner. Announcements of safe travel corridors, traffic light models, digital health passports and exemptions for vaccinated travellers are serving to build consumer confidence in travel.

“This augur well for the revival of the sector, with indications of international restart for India possibly around Q3 of FY22.

“Fresh funding of Rs. 4,357 Mn from our parent Fairbridge Capital through preferential allotment of OCCRPS will help TCIL strengthen its balance sheet and leverage opportunities when travel demand returns.

“Vaccination is critical in our journey to recovery. Our companies in India have commenced a vaccination program to cover our people and their families and are aiming at 100% vaccination on a priority basis."

Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas assured the stakeholders in tourism that the government will unveil various projects focusing on the revival of the vital sector ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, including special marketing campaigns. 

The Minister said that the government will closely work together with the industry with the aim of doubling the tourists’ arrival by 2025,” and hoped that 2022 will be turn out to be a “Covid-19 Free Tourism Year.”  

“The government will implement all possible measures to ease the current problems being faced by the industry. Special marketing campaigns will be conducted once the second wave of Covid-19 recedes,” Riyas said addressing a virtual meeting of representatives of 18 stakeholders in the tourism sector recently.

The meeting was convened to elicit suggestions for revival of the industry that has been hit badly by the pandemic and work out plans for an impressive comeback.

The participants explained to the Minister how the pandemic had resulted in a severe setback for the entrepreneurs and all others engaged in the sector. They noted that unlike any other state, Kerala Government had provided total support and encouragement to the industry during the crisis.

Riyas told them that the urgent task will be promoting internal tourism and the arrivals from other states. “Apart from completing the present projects on a time-bound manner, two new heritage projects focusing on Ponnani and Aranmula will be planned and implemented quickly,” Riyas added.

“The roads to tourism centres will be developed and more tourism circuits will be formed by connecting destinations. Through the socially committed Responsible Tourism, the benefits of tourism sector will be made available to more people. The government’s goal is to support the kind of tourism that brings benefits to entrepreneurs, tourists and local community alike,” the Minister pointed out.

Riyas urged the stakeholders to approach tourism sector with greater enthusiasm by taking the current crisis as an opportunity.  He also assured that the government’s activities and projects will be based on giving a new fillip to the tourism sector.    

Rani George, Principal Secretary, Tourism; V.R. Krishna Teja, Director, Tourism Biju BS, Dy. Director (Mktg) were also present.

Representatives from Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTM), Association of Approved & Classified Hotels of Kerala (AACHK), Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry (CKTI), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) Kerala Chapter, Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) Kerala Chapter, Kerala Houseboat Owners Federation, All Kerala Houseboat Owners Association, Confederation of Accredited Tour Operators, Kerala Homestay & Tourism Society (Kerala HATS), Homestay Owners Welfare Association Kerala (HOWAK), Kerala Hotels & Restaurants Association (KHRA), Kerala Ayurveda Promotion Society, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) South Chapter, CII Kerala Chapter - Tourism Committee, All Kerala Tourist Guides Association, Tourist Guides Federation of South India and Chairman of FICCI Kerala Tourism Committee attended.

Following the launch of nine new rides, including the world’s tallest swing ride, along with a whole new F&B and retail experience at BOLLYWOOD PARKS Dubai, Dubai Parks and Resorts has monumental plans for the rest of 2021 with its array of exciting launches. These include two world-first rides and record setting thrills inspired by the Now You See Me and John Wick movies at MOTIONGATE Dubai, the region’s first and a world record breaking wooden coaster at BOLLYWOOD PARKS Dubai, and the launch of the Middle East’s first LEGOLAND Hotel at LEGOLAND Dubai.

Rami Mashini, Vice President Sales, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at DXB Entertainments, said, “Being one of Dubai’s leading tourist destinations, we are dedicated to continually think about ways to innovate and expand our incredible theme parks. We promise amazing experiences to our guests and this year will see Dubai Parks and Resorts launch record breaking concepts that will set the standard for theme parks in the region, and will raise the thrills at the park to new heights. It is an exciting time for everyone as people are able to move around Dubai more freely, and international travellers can start to plan their trips to Dubai. We couldn’t be happier to be launching these world-first rides, and an incredibly unique hotel destination for families this year, so we can look to the future together and have something exciting to look forward to.”

This year, the region’s largest Hollywood-inspired theme park, MOTIONGATE Dubai will substantially add to its offering as the park will become home to the first ever theme park coaster that has been inspired by the global hit action franchise, John Wick, as well as introducing the world’s fastest single-car spinning coaster that has been based on the popular heist thriller franchise, Now You See Me. Reaffirming the already established popularity of MOTIONGATE Dubai among adult audiences, these roller coasters will also earn MOTIONGATE Dubai the impressive record for the maximum number of rollercoasters in a single theme park in the Middle East.

Adding to Dubai Parks and Resorts’ title of the Middle East’s largest integrated theme park destination, BOLLYWOOD PARKS Dubai will continue its exciting year of record-breaking activity when it launches the region’s first ever wooden coaster later this year. With a track length over 1km and speed of 88km/h, the high thrill coaster will boast 33 discrete moments of ‘airtime’, which is the most moments of airtime in any wooden coaster in the world, and will grant the park its second world record of the year. The exciting launch leads on from the re-launch of the region’s only Bollywood inspired theme park in January 2021, that saw BOLLYWOOD PARKS Dubai introduce an entire new offering that included the world’s tallest swing ride, the 460ft Bollywood Skyflyer, nine action-packed world-class rides and attractions, and authentic food, beverage and retail options.

Dubai Parks and Resorts is also set to officially launch the Middle East’s first LEGOLAND Hotel this year. The 250 room unique hotel has been built with children in mind as its star guests and will give families the chance to truly immerse themselves in a playful LEGO themed world.

Dubai Parks and Resorts continues to operate with enhanced health and safety measures in-line with current guidelines from the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, and approved international practices from the World Health Organisation. To keep visitors and staff safe, all parks enforce social distancing measures, contactless payment, reduced capacity in rides, shops and restaurants, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures.

Hotel Association of India (HAI) has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for immediate intervention to provide relief to the hospitality industry which is on the verge of collapse, in five key areas- -- one-time settlement of loans and extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021, waiver of all statutory liabilities at Centre, State and Municipal levels for the pandemic period, stimulus package subsidising of salaries of hotel employees, according ‘Infrastructure Status’ and to bring Tourism & Hospitality to the concurrent list of the Constitution. HAI in its appeal highlighted that more than 40 per cent of hotels have shut or are on the brink of closure and 70 per cent of overall jobs are now in danger directly or indirectly.

Hospitality industry remains one of the most impacted sectors in the country and continues to struggle due to Covid restrictions and absence of financial reliefs from the government. In its representation to PM, HAI has strongly urged the Government to consider one-time settlement of loans and extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021, pointing out that the increasing loan burden at a time of almost non-existent income may serve only to increase the NPAs of Banks and Moratorium will provide a breathing space to the already crippling industry.

Reiterating its earlier demand HAI has requested waiver of all statutory liabilities at Centre, State, and Municipal levels for the pandemic period especially during the lockdown period on grounds of natural justice. Even with zero revenue and resources, many of the hospitality establishments continue to pay the staff on humanitarian grounds which is now unbearable for the industry. HAI therefore has requested the PM to offer a stimulus package-subsidising of salaries of hotel employees by 50 per cent from April 2021-March 2022 as is being done by many countries as a part of their economic recovery programmes.

While lauding the Government’s effort to promote Domestic tourism the industry body also stressed on the fact that expansion of domestic tourism will require creation of suitable accommodation to meet the incremental demand. The hospitality sector is a provider of key tourism infrastructure serving the basic need of accommodation of travelers of any kind. According ‘Infrastructure Status’ will enable the industry to access long term funds at subsidized rates as available to other infrastructure industries like ports, highways, airports, railways etc. HAI also added that Infrastructure status will encourage greater investments in tourism infrastructure around the country, create income, and have a ripple effect on demand and will therefore help economic recovery of the country.

At present, the relief, incentives, and other promotional support to industries differ from state to state. For harmonious growth of the industry, there is a need for greater and closer coordination across the country. Featuring Tourism & Hospitality in the concurrent list of the Constitution will facilitate a stronger coordinating role for the Ministry of Tourism, HAI added. The Industry body also recommended to form a consultative mechanism like a Task Force of the government and industry representatives which will help in pragmatic policy formulation and bring the true spirit of Public-Private Partnership.

The potential shock to the livelihood of millions working in the hospitality industry is enormous. The Indian hospitality sector has a critical role to play in the post pandemic economic revival and has been announced as the fourth pillar of the Indian economy. HAI urged for the PM's bold intervention and directions for implementation of the suggestions to save the Industry jobs and the lives and livelihoods of the citizens employed in hotels and to enable the industry to get on its feet so that it can make its contribution to the national economy added HAI.

 

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