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News
T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Skål International Kolkata recently elected its new management team for the next season 2021 – 2023. At its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Kolkata, the new Skål International Kolkata committee re-elected Sanjeev Mehra as the President, Amin Asghar as the First Vice President, Punam Arora as the Second Vice President, June Mukherjee as the Secretary, Jay Saraogi in Membership Development, Pramod Lunawat and Avanti Chattoraj as Auditors, Sreemoyee Mitra in PR & Communications, Avijit Sarkar in CSR and Ritu Jolly in charge of Young Skål. 

Mehra who was re-elected for a second term said, “For the last couple of years we are giving our best efforts towards making a voice that cannot be unheard. Due to some sincere efforts by our members, the presence is being felt in the national and international arena. Now the national and international tourism players want to come to Kolkata and work with us as we have been able to project the true potentials of Kolkata and Bengal at large as a travel market hotspot. We intend to intensify our efforts with more inclusive partner activities in the coming days to restore our business growth.”

Skål International clubs worldwide consist of travel and tourism industry company owners and decision makers, thought leaders and industry influencers at the highest level. At present India has 14 Skål International clubs which work very closely under a national leadership team with all the global tourism entities in support of their members’ good business.

With an ambitious objective ahead to bid for the Skål World Congress in 2024, the new team will now work towards bringing the world travel community in the city of joy. Manav Soni, the past President of the club is now the Skal IPP and represents Skal at the international level.

The Skål International India President Carl Vaz was present in the occasion held at the Taj Bengal Hotel and expressed his confidence that the young and dynamic Skål International Kolkata team will not only take the club to a newer height but will also make a significant contribution to the overall sustainable tourism industry revival.

While the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) welcomes the notification for the release of Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) Scrips for the tour operators for the financial year 2019-20, at the same time it is disappointed that it has been reduced to 5 percent from 7 percent. “Last one and a half year has been one of the worst phases for the tour operators and in view of the debilitating hardship endured, it is urged that the government restores SEIS benefit to 7 percent as was paid a year before” Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO, said.

For the last 18 months, inbound tour operators had almost zilch income with several of them folding up their businesses. In view of that, the SEIS benefit was awaited for a long time as this would provide some financial succor that would help the tourism sector tide over this crisis. During the deliberations the govt was requested to raise it to 10 percent as one-time measure, however, the lowering of the benefit and capping it to Rs 5 crores is disappointing and the government is requested to at least raise it to 7 percent and remove capping of Rs. 5 crores at least for the tourism and hospitality industry. “ We are hopeful Government would favourably consider our plea,” adds Mehra.   

It is to be noted that reduction in percentage to 5% will impact the small and medium tour operators while capping of Rs. 5 crores will badly impact the large tour operators.

Tourism has contributed significantly to the exchequer and has been a major employer as well. In a distressful situation like this, the tourism sector looks for assistance from the government for survival and revival.  

RCI celebrates with affiliated resorts in Maldives on the return of inbound foreign traveler to the island. Right since July of 2021, when the island nation reopened its travel boarders to international tourist, there has been a robust rise in vacation queries and booking by RCI members across the globe to Maldives.

According to a recent RCI booking trends report, Maldives emerged as the most popular and largest international tourist destination amid pandemic in 2021. The report states that overall search for Maldives as a destination on RCI.com increased multiple folds to 595%. Q1 and Q2 of 2021 have seen the highest volume of RCI members opting for Maldives as a preferred destination, the booking trend shows an increase of 151% in first quarter and 195% in second quarter of 2021. Top 10 countries with high volume of Booking in RCI for Maldives are India, The United States of America, China, Vietnam, England, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Finland and South Africa.

Commenting on the data research, Paul Mulcahy, Managing Director for RCI APAC, India & EMEA shared, “We are pleased to see RCI contributing to the  grand scheme of tourism growth, India has emerged as one of the top source markets for tourist arrivals in the Maldives in 2021. Members are increasingly seeking more information and are inquisitive to know about safety standards, flexible cancellation policies etc. We anticipate demand for Maldives travel not only from India but also other countries such as The United States of America, China, Vietnam, England, Brazil, Australia, Canada and South Africa”.

As per the report, the overall demand by RCI members from India experienced a surge in overall demand by 245% in the first half of 2021 as compared to 2020. The booking trends also showcases an increase of 143% in first quarter and 656% in second quarter of 2021 when compared with the same time period in 2020. The most favored Maldives resorts chosen by RCI members are surrounded by turquoise waters that shine with coral and marine life, to name a few these being Medhufushi Island Resort, Filitheyo Island Resort, Hondaafushi Island Resort, Grand Park Kodhipparu. The members also have hotel options available through Alliance Reservations Network (ARN).

Marriott International announced it has submitted its letter to the Science Based Targets initiative, committing to: Set science-based emissions reduction targets across all scopes, in line with 1.5°C emissions scenarios; and Set a long-term science-based target to reach net-zero value chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by no later than 2050, in line with the criteria and recommendations of the Science Based Targets initiative.

As part of its commitment to net-zero emissions, with support from a number of organizations including Global Citizen, Marriott is proud to announce its official sign-on to the Race to Zero via the most ambitious standard, Business Ambition for 1.5, and looks forward to celebrating this milestone on September 25 at Global Citizen Live. Race to Zero is a global campaign rallying companies, cities, regions, and financial and educational institutions, to reach net-zero value chain greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050. Participants are committed to the same overarching goal: reducing emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with the Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets.

“We are driven to make a positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business, and this rigorous climate commitment to reach net-zero emissions is a needed step for us to do our part to help the communities and environments where we live, work and visit remain resilient and vibrant,” said Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International. “Even as we navigate one of the industry’s most difficult periods, we know this ambition will be a challenge. We are proud to join companies and institutions around the world striving to tackle climate change and build a healthier, more sustainable world.”

Marriott International’s portfolio of hotels has been working to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its existing 2025 sustainability goals and this latest commitment to climate action is the next step in the company’s sustainability journey.

Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels announced the signing of a heritage hotel - Zone Palace Phalodi in Rajasthan under its upscale social catalyst brand, Zone by The Park. The hotel is undergoing a phased upgradation and will be all set to welcome guests this winter season

Built in the 1760s as the residence of the Rajput Royal Dadhas, this historical marvel was converted into a heritage hotel in 2000. The newest addition to Zone by The Park portfolio, Zone Palace Phalodi is a perfect amalgamation of the old and new world charm with modern comforts.

It is positioned as a museum hotel having 25 well-appointed rooms with top-notch tech-enabled amenities, offering guests easy access to Dadha’s Heritage Museum of Jain and Oriental Arts, reflecting work of art over 2000 years, from Maurya Period up to the British India era.  The museum houses an impressive collection of platinum, gold, silver, bronze, nickel, copper, brass, and aluminum coins from 200 BC to 2000 AD.

Commenting on the launch, Vikas Ahluwalia –General Manager and National Head –Zone by The Park Hotels said, “We are extremely delighted to add the unique heritage hotel to our brand, strengthening our commitment towards Rajasthan and Domestic Tourism, and bolstering our presence along with Zone by The Park Jaipur and Zone by The Park Jodhpur. We are raring to welcome guests and offer a slice of Zone hospitality in the region again.”

Speaking on the association, S M Dadha, Director – Dadha Pharma, said :“We are happy to join hands with Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Limited, one of the pioneers in the Indian hospitality sector and are confident that we will generate a lot of interest among our guests with our collection at the museum and successfully reach a greater audience.”

flydubai announced that it has resumed its operations to Prague and Zagreb. The carrier will operate up to five weekly flights from Dubai International (DXB) to Prague International Airport (PRG) and twice weekly flights to Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb (ZAG).

flydubai will increase the frequency of its operations to Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb (ZAG) to four weekly flights from December this year. Emirates will codeshare on these routes offering travellers more seamless connections through Dubai’s international aviation hub.

Commenting on the resumption of flights to Prague and Zagreb, Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer at flydubai, said: “we are excited to resume operations to Croatia and the Czech Republic which are two popular destinations on the flydubai network. We are confident that passengers will enjoy flydubai’s convenient and reliable service and the comfortable cabin of our Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which offers a flatbed in Business Class, and is scheduled to operate on these routes.”

With international travel restrictions gradually easing, flydubai has grown its network to over 95 destinations 50 countries across Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South-East Europe, the GCC and the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent.

Sabre

Sabre Corporation has promoted experienced travel industry leader Nicole Regel to oversee the Sabre Travel Solutions agency business across Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.  

 

Nicole, whose career in the travel business spans 25+ years, has been promoted to Senior Director in a significantly expanded role as she takes on the leadership of the Australia and New Zealand team while also retaining her role overseeing Sabre’s ongoing partnership with the Flight Centre Travel Group. Her focus will remain on leveraging Sabre’s best-in-class technologies and unrivalled access to global markets to grow its travel business in the region.   

As Senior Director, Nicole will continue to be based in Sydney, reporting into Sabre’s regional headquarters in Singapore.  

Urban Air Mobility company, BLADE India, has announced the resumption of its scheduled by-the-seat services in Maharashtra today. Due to the spike in cases of COVID-19 during the second wave followed by the Maharashtra monsoon, BLADE had only been flying charters and air-medical evacuation services. With business and leisure travel bouncing back, BLADE has resumed its daily by-the-seat operations 5 days a week starting the 4th of October; bookings are open.

BLADE is the only air carrier connecting Mumbai and Pune. Prices for this route start at INR 12,500/- per person with complimentary pick-up and drop-off services, lounge access and benefits from brands such as Audi, BMW Excellence Club, Quorum and many more.

BLADE also flies to Aamby Valley from both Mumbai and Pune on Fridays and Mondays. People can make the most of their weekend with prices starting at INR 5000/- per person.

Speaking on the resumption of their Maharashtra operations, Mr. Karanpal Singh, Founder, BLADE India said, “People are now looking for safety, security and hygiene, these are BLADE’s core strengths. We are set to relaunch our by-the-seat services in Maharashtra. A product designed to deliver time efficiency and convenience.”

BLADE also offers personalised charter service, BLADE Anywhere and bed to bed air medevac service, BLADE Care. BLADE’s charter guests are assigned dedicated relationship managers, customised onboard cuisine, pick-up and drop-off, and varied partner benefits.

Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, Union Minister of Civil Aviation virtually interacted with the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, PushkarDhami, Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Admiral DK Joshi, and with Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh, RK Mathur for strengthening of the aviation infrastructure in their respective states.

During the meeting with Dhami, the minister discussed the below aspects for the rapid growth of the civil aviation ecosystem in Uttarakhand:

·         Reduction of VAT applicable by the state on Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) to 1% from 20%

·         Upgradation ofof 8 UDAN heliports (Almora, Chinalisaur, Gochar, Nainital, Haldwani, Sahastradhara, Srinagar and New Tehri) and start of construction work on 5 new heliports by the end of this financial year

·         Inauguration of a new terminal at Dehradun airport resulting in increase in passenger capacity from 250 pax/hour to 1800 pax/hour. Built at a cost of Rs. 457 crores, the new terminal will be inaugurated on 7th October

·         Heliports identified for development/revival

The DPR work for the construction of a new greenfield airport at Pantnagar will be completed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 3 months.

Pantnagar-Pithoragarh-Pantnagar helicopter operator (by Pawan Hans) to commence from 07-October 2021.

Under the UDAN project, 14 new routes have been awarded in this month:

Dehradun-Srinagar-Dehradun

Dehradun-Gauchar-Dehradun

Haldwani-Haridwar-Haldwani

Pantnagar-Pithoragarh-Pantnagar

Chinayalisaur-Sahastradhara-Gauchar

Gauchar-Sahastradhara-Gauchar

Haldwani-Dharchula-Haldwani

Scindia expressed confidence that with cooperation of the Uttarakhand state government, we will soon bring new opportunities for development in the state through civil aviation.

During the meeting with Joshi, the minister mentioned that we are determined to make all efforts for tourism development in a place of incredible beauty like Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Further, the following issues were discussed regarding the rapid growth of the civil aviation sector in Andaman & Nicobar Islandsand the introduction of new projects: 

·         Reduction of VAT to be levied by the Union Territory by 1% on Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) will soon be approved by the Lieutenant Governor

·         The construction work of the new Integrated Terminal at Port Blair will be completed by mid-2022

·         Routes awarded: 06 (under UDAN 3) - The development of water aerodromes except Port Blair has been initiated.

During the meeting with Mathur, there was a detailed discussion on the construction of airports in Ladakh along with air connectivity. Scindia assured that the cooperation between the Ladakh administration &the Ministry of Civil Aviation will bring new opportunities for economic growth through better air connectivity to the entire Ladakh region.

Further, the following points were discussed:

·         The issue of reduction of VAT levied by the UT on Air Turbine Fuel (ATF)

·         A team of experts from AAI & DGCA will be sent to investigate the technical issues related to the Kargil airport.

·         For the construction of 4 new heliports, a feasibility study has been done by Pawan Hans, whose report will be given to the Ladakh administration by 1st October,2021.

As people continue to navigate the changing dynamics of travel, Hilton remains optimistic and committed to providing flexibility to its more than 118 million Hilton Honors members worldwide. Again leading the hospitality industry, Hilton Honors announced that its members can expect to retain their Points and elite status for an extended period of time and earn status more easily in 2022.

Hilton Honors, the guest loyalty program of Hilton’s world-class portfolio of 18 brands, has implemented the following global benefit changes to help members maintain or achieve elite status, even as travel remains limited in some parts of the world. The changes announced include:

Extending status through March 31, 2023, so members can maintain their status perks and benefits longer.

Pausing Points expiration until Dec. 31, 2022, so members have more time to use their Points towards free nights at more than 6,600 Hilton hotels, exclusive Hilton Honors Experiences, live events, charitable donations and more.

Relaxing 2022 qualifications around earning Status, Milestone Bonuses, and Status Gifting from 2019 requirements to make these benefits easier to achieve. In 2022, Hilton Honors members will earn the following: Status Tier Requirements: Silver status at seven nights, three stays or 17,500 Base Points., Gold status at 28 nights, 14 stays or 52,500 Base Points, Diamond status at 42 nights, 21 stays or 84,000 Base Points. Milestone Bonuses: 10,000 Bonus Points at 30 nights, 10,000 Bonus Points for every 10 additional nights (after 30 nights), One-time 30,000 Bonus Points at 60 nights, Elite Status Gifting: One-time gift of Gold status for a friend or family member at 40 nights, which can be upgraded to Diamond status at 70 nights, Extending Rollover Nights for members of every status level, so all completed 2021 nights automatically roll over and count toward 2022 tier qualifications.

Jenn Chick, Vice President and Global Head, Hilton Honors & Customer Engagement, Hilton, said, “As we get back to a new season of travel together, we want our loyal guests to know that we made these program changes with them top-of-mind. We are proud to lead the hospitality industry in providing flexibility, once again, to our valued Hilton Honors members to help them make new memories when they’re ready to travel again.”

From now until December 31, 2021, all registered Hilton Honors members across Asia Pacific can take advantage of Hilton’s “Power Up” promotion, and earn double Bonus Points for completing eligible stays during this period, valid across all hotels and resorts under Hilton’s portfolio of brands.

Additionally, the Hilton Honors “Like a Member” dining offer is also currently available across Asia Pacific, presenting members with discounts of up to 25% and the opportunity to earn Bonus Points across an extensive range of dining outlets managed by Hilton in the region.

To enhance the guest experience, Hilton Honors has steadily implemented global program adjustments throughout the length of the pandemic and offered members peace of mind through innovative offerings like contactless arrival through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app and Confirmed Connecting Rooms by Hilton. Once members are ready to take their next vacation or that next business trip, they can travel confidently knowing their Hilton Honors Points and status will be waiting for them.

 

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