T3 site is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

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.

Log in Register

Login to your account

Don't have an account yet? Register now!
Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
News
T3 News Network

T3 News Network

As a matter of fact, it’s been a crazy roller coaster ride for the last 21 months. When the Covid tsunami hit the world in March 2019, we battled through the year, hoping that 2020 would bring relief, or at least that, like a T-20 game, 2020 would be a short encounter. But this virus seems to have settled in to play a test match. Every time we think that we can step out on the front foot, we’re tossed another googly! The only saving grace, if any, is that the new Omicron variant seems to be less lethal and we all hope, while we cope, that 2022 will see a revival of travel & tourism. 

But for that revival to happen, the industry needs to change radically. The travellers have changed irrevocably, and the industry must keep pace with the new reality. So here, for want of a better term, is a critique and wish list for 2022.

Aviation

Aviation forms the backbone of our industry, but it does more than that. Aviation is critical to the promotion of all trade and commerce and if planes don’t fly everything gets grounded. So the first thing is to get back to a normal, commercially viable schedule – both international and domestic. This requires globally acceptable health protocols to be put in place and in spite of its dwindled credibility, the WHO remains the only global health authority - it must fulfil that role. Airports, aircraft, ground handling staff and systems – all need to be tweaked to prevent overcrowding at arrival and departure. Travellers, too, need to be constantly sensitised to the new rules.

Airlines have suffered and need some relief. If ATF could be brought under GST, it would give the airlines some breathing space and help them recoup since fuel accounts for close to 40% of operating costs in the country. It could also make airfares more affordable. Yes, more and more airports are being privatised but the government could speak to the operators and negotiate a reduction in airport charges in the larger interest.

When T3 was inaugurated at Delhi, it was with a vision to make Delhi a major hub for transcontinental travel. That’s still a distant dream; the Middle East has become the global hub for connections. International airlines must be incentivised to make Delhi their hub – if we grow the pie, everyone benefits.

Simultaneously, airlines, too, need to recognise the value of travel agents. Many airlines, apart from having done away with agency commission, have also drastically reduced the number of agents who have been granted ticketing authority. This is counterproductive. Agents are the extended marketing arm of an airline and to cut them off is foolish.

IATA

IATA has lost its relevance – from being the arbiter of fair trade practices, it has degenerated into being just a club of airlines. Even as many agents have realized that ticketing is only one part of the travel & tourism ecosphere, it remains the mainstay for many of our members, and it’s irksome to function in an inequitable environment when all the rules apply to just one side. Either the IATA needs to revamp its Passenger Agency Program, or the Agent Associations need to come up with an alternative accreditation program and compel its implementation through sheer force of numbers.

Associations

We have far too many associations in the country! This plays right into the hands of the airlines and the government. “Mutthi band hai lakh ki, khule toh pyare khaq ki” sums up our situation. Fragmented voices, differing opinions and ego trips have ensured that the Travel & Tourism industry can be consistently ignored by the powers that be. There is a strong case to merge the two major travel agent associations and create one powerful association. When I last was President of TAFI in 2010-2012, I had broached the idea to the then TAAI President and both of us had agreed that it would be a game changer… Maybe it’s time to revisit the idea.

DGCA

There is no government body that looks into how the business of air travel is conducted in the country. The DGCA has abdicated that responsibility – it does not look at IATA Resolutions, which technically require government approval before implementation, it does not even adjudicate in matters of clear violation of the Indian Aircraft Act and Indian Aircraft Rules, it has been unable to implement its own orders passed as far back as 2010 in the matter of agency commission and it has been sadly lacking in any proactive efforts at consumer protection.

Since 1973, the CAA in the UK has created and manages a passenger protection plan called ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License) whereby any holiday package booked through a tour operator is guaranteed against failure. We would like the DGCA to mandate an insurance cover against airline failure for every ticket issued in the country. This should be made a mandatory requirement for the grant or renewal of an operating license for every airline operating in India. This would go a long way in restoring confidence among travellers. We definitely do not need a repeat of the situation when the Supreme Court had to step in and rule on airline refunds!

Tourism

And finally, we come to the much hyped but abysmally neglected tourism sector. The multiplier effect in terms of employment and revenue generation is virtually unparalleled, its contribution to GDP is well documented and yet, apart from perfunctory references in the Union budget, token obeisance in political speeches and the announcement of grandiose schemes, the industry discovered that it had been pretty much left to fend for itself during the pandemic. The last straw was the reduction in quantum and the capping of the SEIS – that was a cruel blow!

For close to 20 years, we have lived off the “Incredible India” brand, but it’s lost some sheen because of the terrible negative media reports during the second wave. It’s time to rewrite the script and sculpt a new global identity which resonates with the discerning traveller.

The benefits of tourism go far beyond the economic. It is the one industry that connects people across boundaries and cultures; it can build bridges and heal the wounds of conflict; it is in fact a powerful tool for the propagation of global harmony since every tourist is potentially an Ambassador for Peace. If tourism is to be sustainable, it must address the issue of the sustainability of the Planet. This is the paradigm shift that the industry needs to make and the government to promote – but the thrust has to come from within the industry. All too often committees and task forces constituted by the government end up merely parroting the official line. Perhaps a national Tourism Task Force needs to be constituted under the aegis of FAITH, and the first thing it needs to do is to commission a detailed study on the scale and scope of the entire Indian tourism industry. It’s absurd that out of 4000 IATA agents and lakhs of tourism operators in the country, there are a scant 1000 businesses registered with the Ministry of Tourism! How can you even begin to address the issues if you have no idea who the players are?  

I could go on, but I shall end with just five things that need to be done if we’re serious about getting travel and tourism back on track.

1. Create conditions that help restore airline schedules

2. Revamp and revive the IATA Passenger Agency Program to make it more equitable

3. Bring in some essential regulation in the business of civil aviation to protect consumers and stake holders

4. Rethink and restructure tourism policy and marketing with a greater involvement of stakeholders

5. Travel & tourism should be at the heart of the India Revival story 

By Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI

 

 

Choice Hotels India has announced the opening of the Comfort Inn Kaikaluru in Andhra Pradesh. This is the first internationally branded hotel in the city of Kaikaluru.  The city is famed for aquaculture and offers a range of tourist attractions including a bird sanctuary, Kolleru Lake, temples, and other places of religious significance.

Vilas Pawar, CEO, Choice Hotels India, said, “We are delighted to announce the opening of Comfort Inn Kailaluru – the first internationally branded hotel in the city. Our brand has the endeavor of offering an international experience with world-class facilities at the best value proposition.  Ideal location and unmatched facilities make it a vital asset in our portfolio”.

Bala Murali Krishna Kamineni, Promoter of Comfort Inn Kaikaluru, a proprietor in aquaculture & aquafeed manufacturing under Deepak Nexgen Feeds Pvt. Ltd., and handling real estate projects in Vijaywada, said “We are proud to associate with Choice Hotels India. Being the first branded hotel in the city, we have got the opportunity to offer an international experience to the people of Kaikaluru.  The hotel has received a warm response from the locals and is the preferred address for social gatherings and business meetings for people in and around the city”.

Comfort Inn Kaikaluru also features modern banqueting facilities to hold extensive meetings & conferences facilities and cater to intimate social gatherings.

TBO Tek Limited (TBO), which runs the portal TravelBoutiqueOnline.com, announced the appointment of four independent directors on its Board of Directors (Board). Ravindra Dhariwal, Rahul Bhatnagar, Bhaskar Pramanik and Anuranjita Kumar have joined the Board with effect from November 24, 2021 as Independent Directors of TBO.

Commenting on the appointment, Ankush Nijhawan, JMD, TBO, said, “We, at TBO, are delighted to welcome four distinguished personalities on the Board of Directors including Mr. Ravindra Dhariwal, Mr. Rahul Bhatnagar, Mr. Bhaskar Pramanik and Ms. Anuranjita Kumar. We are confident that their rich experience, in-depth knowledge and proficiency will add values to the company as we embark on our next phase of growth.”

Gaurav Bhatnagar, JMD, TBO, said, “We are honoured to welcome distinguished and eminent personalities to our Board of Directors. Each of them brings significant experience, insights and perspectives in areas essential to our business and governance.”

Dhariwal is the chairperson of Sagacito Technologies Private Limited. He was the vice president of franchise for South East Asia at Pepsico International. He was appointed as the Chairman and independent director of TBO with effect from November 24, 2021.

Bhatnagar has alsobeen associated with Bharti Enterprises and Pepsico International.

Pramanik is currently on the Indian advisory board of The Schulich School of Business, York University, the executive council of Bennett University, Greater Noida and the advisory council of Indian Institute of Technology, Palakkad and has served as director on the central board of State Bank of India. He has been previously engaged with Microsoft Corporation (India) Private Limited as chairman and area vice president and the National Radio and Electronics Company Limited as divisional manager – business systems division.

Kumar has previously been engaged with the Royal Bank of Scotland and is part of the council of advisors for the American India Foundation. She is also the founder, chairperson and chief executive officer of Women in Technology (WiT), India Forum.

Minor Hotels has announced the signing of an upcoming addition to its portfolio in Qatar. NH Collection Doha Oasis Hotel & Beach Club is in the later stages of development and is slated to open in mid-2022. The property will be the first NH Collection property globally with a beach club.

The new 300-key hotel, including 50 suites, is located in the Ras Abu Abboud area along Doha’s eastern coast, midway between the city centre and Hamad International Airport, and has a rich history. The previous Oasis Hotel, from where the new property takes its name, was in the same location and was Doha’s first ever hotel when it opened in the 1950’s.

India has been the largest tourist source market for Maldives for two years in a row. A total of 291,787 Indian tourists travelled to the island nation in 2021, representing 22 per cent market share, as compared to 222,422 visitors from Russia (17 per cent), according to the Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism (MoT). Indians contributed the largest number of international tourist arrivals to Maldives in 2020 as well.

Maldives has been a major attraction for Indian celebrities and public alike. From Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna choosing the destination to celebrate the latter’s birthday, to Bollywood’s power couple Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan celebrating daughter Aaradhya’s 10th birthday in the island nation, the Maldives boasts welcoming some of the most famous celebrities of India.

One of the most popular couples in the television industry, Karanvir Bohra and Teejay Sidhu, joined this long list of celebs as they took off to the Maldives with their three daughters. Maldives is also extremely popular among Bollywood couples. From Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, to Malaika Arora and Arjun Kapoor, several lovebirds have chosen Maldives for their leisurely times.

Rajiv Mehra, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators expressed his gratitude to the Indian Hotels Company Ltd. for rolling out the Taj Hotels Promo Code Special Rates for IATO Members. This was announced at the recently concluded 36th IATO Annual Convention in Gandhinagar. 

Terms and Conditions for the Promo Code Special Rates for the IATO members for the Taj, SeleQtions and Vivanta hotels, have been announced. Each member has been given a Unique Agency Code and booking can be done online without any hindrances to the IATO members.  Promo Code Special Rates are exclusively for INBOUND BUSINESS ONLY and NOT VALID for DOMESTIC LEISURE and are only for FITs. Members who have contracted rates will have access to those rates based on their individual negotiations, relationships and buying power and will have choice whether to use Promo Code Rates or contracted special rates or the bar rates. These rates are valid with immediate effect till 31st March 2023.

As of now the Promo Code Special Rates have been rolled out for the Active Members and in next 30 days it will be rolled for Allied Member Tour Operators and Travel Agents as member is being given Unique Agency id. 

The terms and conditions especially the Cancellation Policy and the Force Majeure Clause which have been worked out by IHCL in consultation with IATO, are very much favourable for the IATO members and are industry friendly. This will help all our small and medium tour operators to use IHCL properties for their clients and specially those who do not have special rate with IHCL. We are sure this will benefit both IATO members and the IHCL and will make their relationship stronger than ever, said Mehra. 

Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels brings its newest hotel THE Park Indore to the financial capital of Madhya Pradesh. THE Park Indore – the modern, exclusive yet eclectic space, promises a fine blend of Anything But Ordinary experience redefining luxury and offering perfect comfort to guests.

The 99-room hotel exudes refreshing and contemporary designs.

Debjeet Banerjee, General Manager, THE Park Indore said, “We are extremely delighted to have opened THE Park Indore and are looking forward to hosting our guests and extending a refreshing and scintillating experience. Having stepped into 2022, and the hospitality industry jumping back on its feet after an exhausting year, we are excited to offer a blissful abode to all our guests.”

Vijay Dewan, Managing Director, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Limited said, “We are happy to launch THE Park Indore in central India’s largest metropolitan and also a Smart City. We are bringing our liveliest bars and happening nightclubs to the region of Indore that includes our four legendary and award-winning brands – Aura, Aqua, Someplace Else and Flurys. We are delighted to expand our footprint here. Looking forward to more openings and growth in the region.”

Swarup Datta takes over as the New Regional Director – North for Sarovar Hotels. Swarup has been part of Sarovar Hotels for the last 8 years. In his last role he was the Regional Director -South.

He holds strong hotel operations and management Skills. He is a certified hotel administrator from the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

In an endeavor to inspire people to promote sustainable travel and ‘thinking’ destinations, RARE, which is a community of some of the finest conscious luxury hotels, palace stays, wildlife lodges, homestays and retreats in the Indian subcontinent, has launched The Pinwheel Project.

Involving stakeholders like hoteliers, guides, destination experts and the RARE Community, The Pinwheel Project will re-look at destinations through the lens of sustainability and community engagement.

Explaining the thought behind this project, Shoba Mohan, Founder, RARE India, said, “The Pinwheel Project is an all-encompassing initiative whose main aim is inclusion. Our hotels have been promoting their often-remote destination for many years now; their design and concept tell a story of their commitment and value creation, of taking the tough route to re-define the destination and the region. The Pinwheel Project is an initiative to tell stories of hotels they built - how a small key hotel has helped the destination hold on to its character, build value for the communities and uphold cultures, preserve heritage and protect the environment. It also highlights the travelers’ experiences and their role in shaping the destination’s destiny through their travel.”

The Pinwheel Project will showcase the responsible tourism practices of the RARE Community hotels and the destinations they are located in so as to inspire the travel trade community as well as travellers to plan their travel itineraries in a manner that they can also contribute to responsible tourism.

The Project will address the trade and media through training sessions and workshops, campaigns on social media and continue to build awareness with live chats, events and podcasts. The aim is to inspire and record every RARE Community hotelier’s journey, gauge the impact on the destination and urge travelers to explore differently and make earth-friendly, community focused choices.

As part of the Pinwheel Project, interactive zoom sessions are going to be held to highlight various countries, states and micro destinations through their culture, history, community, nature and adventure. Attendees of these sessions will hear stories, explore unknown trails, festivals, wildlife and adventures.

The month of January has been dedicated to Nepal wherein various country experts will showcase the adventure lovers’ paradise in a comprehensive manner, right from what one can do other than visiting Kathmandu and Pokhara to the culture, festivals and hidden travel gems of Nepal. From February onwards, the focus of the sessions will shift to various destinations in India where the RARE Community hotels are located.

IHG Hotels & Resorts is making one of its most significant investments in its loyalty program.  Over the last few years, IHG Rewards has continued to evolve to meet the needs of current and future members. World-class partnerships, such as exclusive stays with Mr & Mrs Smith, a growing brand portfolio, and dynamic Reward Night pricing have given guests greater value and flexibility.

IHG Rewards, one of world’s largest hotel loyalty programs, is sharing the first of many changes that will be introduced in the coming months. The new tier and bonus point earning structure – which will go live during March – is designed to help members earn more points faster and have more ways to use them than ever before. These changes, the first in a series of enhancements, include:

• Introducing a new Gold Elite tier starting at 20 nights, with an industry-leading 40% bonus point structure

• Renaming of the ‘Spire Elite’ tier to ‘Diamond Elite’ to simplify member recognition and understanding of our highest tier, which will retain our best-in-class 100% bonus point structure 

• Improving bonus point earn levels across all other Elite tiers   

Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “If there's anything that has united the world in the last two years, it's the realization that no virtual platform can replicate the value of travel and making memories with those we love. Travel is its own biggest reward, and that’s really at the heart of what we’re doing with our loyalty program. Each time our members choose to stay at our hotels, we are increasing their opportunity to travel more, experience more, and reap benefits they won’t get anywhere else. Our distinct portfolio of brands recognizes no two travelers are the same, helping guests and members make the right decision for all their travel needs.

We’ve made a lot of developments in the loyalty space over the years, but travel and hospitality have evolved considerably, and our guests’ needs are changing. These changes are just the start as we prepare to fully relaunch a truly transformed program later this year. We’ll continue elevating and enhancing our loyalty offerings with iconic brand partnerships and extensions, tailored experiences for our customers, enhanced benefits and so much more.”

 

.

Informa Markets Travel Portfolio

  • slider-logo4.png
  • slider-logo2.png
  • slider-logo3.png
  • slider-logo1.png

Social Followers

  1. Events
  2. Webinars
No Upcoming Events
Webinar Archives
  1. Appointment