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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

South African Tourism has appointed Neliswa Nkani as the Hub Head for Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. A South African citizen, Neliswa will now assume reigns and spearhead the national tourism board’s initiatives in India. She was the Director for South African Tourism in Amsterdam from 2003 to 2006. Prior to this she was the Chief Marketing Officer for a Government Investment Agency focusing on Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Indore Marriott hotel has announced the launch of the new Club Marriott Programme, combining Club Marriott, eat drink & more, into one single paid membership programme. The newly combined Club Marriott will provide members with more choices and benefits whenever they dine out in the city or visit one of the 300 participating hotels with over 1,000 restaurants in 16 brands across Asia Pacific.

The new Club Marriott opens the door to endless hotel experiences. Members get F&B certificates, accommodation certificates in which they can enjoy 30 to 40 per cent off on F&B, exclusive benefits on buffet lunch and dinners and best available room rates at more than 300 participating hotels in Asia Pacific. As a Club Marriott member you will have the world at your finger tips with special offers, select access to leisure facilities, more fun at exclusive member events, birthday rewards and kids’ surprises and more flavours with year-round savings on fine dining at restaurants across Asia Pacific. The new Club Marriott also provides the members with Banquet Referral Certificate which includes One (1) certificate entitling the Bearer to a Hotel credit certificate worth Rs. 15,000 for every Rs. 5, 00,000 of net banquet revenue referred.

Devesh Rawat, General Manager, Indore Marriott Hotel said, “Club Marriott, will give Indore guest a chance to enjoy benefits in not only India but 300 participating hotels in Asia Pacific. Club Marriott gives us the platform to drive loyalty that extends even beyond a stay, via rewarding and recognising the ‘local member’ through exclusive benefits and memorable experiences across a vast variety of brands. By offering locally relevant benefits our members, Indore Marriott hotel aims to focus on positioning itself as ‘the favourite destinations where locals go to meet, eat and drink.”

The new Club Marriott membership offers experiences that go beyond food & beverage, and hopes to build an even stronger loyalty base that recognises guests with exclusive events, experiences, and a sense of community.

Seawings LLC, the only seaplane tour operator in the Middle East has entered into a strategic partnership with an India-based key hospitality consulting and services company, THRS as their representatives in the Indian market. This partnership will strengthen the brand’s presence in India with its exclusive offering of aerial sightseeing excursions of The United Arab Emirates.

Seawings LLC plans to roll out a series of activations in India to spread the word about these exclusive tours to experience the UAE’s natural beauty and Dubai’s extraordinary man-made structures. Offering up to 36 flights per day, and providing a variety of tour options, Seawings caters to the needs of individuals, groups, corporates, tourists and residents.

Stuart Wheeler, CEO, Seawings said, “The partnership is a step towards fortifying our presence in the Indian market that holds immense potential for this region and for us at Seawings. There is a rise in the discerning Indian tourists coming to Dubai looking for new activities and experiences. Flying in a seaplane over the UAE is a unique experience that will add value to all segments of the market – the individuals and families, corporate incentive groups and even people celebrating special occasions.”

Speaking on the alliance, Yeishan Goel, Chief Executive Officer, THRS said, “We are delighted to embark on our alliance with Seawings LLC and celebrate having another prime addition to our brand portfolio. Our association with Seawings will further solidify our objective in providing the discerning urban Indian travellers with a wide array of exciting new experiences. We look forward to working very closely with the Seawings team and driving growth by focusing on the diversity of aerial journeys.”

The company operates regular aerial tours in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The most popular tour is the Seawings Silver flight which includes Dubai’s world-famous icons. They also fly across the Emirates and Oman, with 25 landing hubs that include water locations and international airports. Complementing the aerial scenic tours and exclusive charter flights is a suite of bespoke lifestyle tours and excursions. Today with a fleet of three aircrafts and more than 60 staff, Seawings is proud to be the only seaplane tour operator in the Middle East. Over the last decade has flown more than 180,000 guests.

AirAsia X has launched flights between Kuala Lumpur and Amritsar, India. The evening flights, D7188 and D7189, will operate four times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Passengers from 15 cities, including Bali, Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Bangkok, will be able to connect (via Kuala Lumpur) to Amritsar alongside existing routes to New Delhi and Jaipur using AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service.

Benyamin Ismail, CEO, AirAsia X said, “We are excited to bring the AirAsia experience to Amritsar for the very first time. Amritsar is of significant interest to tourists thanks to the Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) and the city’s numerous historic and cultural sites. Following a recent network review, Amristar and other cities in India were identified as being underserved from the Asia Pacific region, particularly when it comes providing affordable long-haul travel. We are confident the new services will prove popular for both tourist and domestic visitors alike.”

Since 2008, AirAsia has carried more than 19 million passengers across 21 cities in India, including more than 300,000 guests on its long-haul network to New Delhi and Jaipur.

Indian travellers today are increasingly looking for immersive holiday experiences while vacationing. Over the last couple of years, SOTC, one of the leading Travel and Tourism Company has observed huge demand pouring in from across the country to include exclusive and indulgent bespoke experiential elements in their travel itinerary. To cater to this set of expectations, behaviour and preferences of the next rising wave of consumers; SOTC has curated special packages with inimitable experiential aspects and guided journeys in the itinerary.

Experiential Vacations is an upcoming trend witnessed amongst travellers today and with an increasing number of travellers valuing the personalised, tailor- made experience over generic sightseeing in their travel itineraries, SOTC offers a wide range of destinations with some excellent deals with a clear focus on the unique experiences.

Speaking about these latest offerings, Daniel D’souza, Head of Sales, India & NRI Markets & E-Commerce SOTC Travel said, “Traveller attitudes are changing, and people want to travel better, on a deeper emotional and more personal level. Mass tourism is no longer adequate; tourists are keen on adding new experiences and activities to their itineraries to explore indigenous attractions and explore destinations for the things they are famous for. Travellers are more intrepid and prefer experiential travel over the traditional sightseeing and guided tours; they want to explore their vacation spots on road, through cruises, explore new cuisines and get a bite of the local scene. We have a range of options on offer for the modern day traveller. At SOTC Travel we have witnessed the change in travel experiences over the years. We have observed a growth in queries for the inclusion of these kinds of experiences by about 30 per cent to 35 per cent as compared to the last year. Hence, in a conscious effort to tap this high potential segment, we have introduced a series of new packages with some added experiences for our customers.”

The Genting cruise is one of the most popularly asked for experiences as is the Experience Thrills on the Jet Boat Ride in Gold Coast followed by the scenic helicopter ride in Cape Town which is another major attraction. A Walk on the Highest Bungee Bridge at Bloukrans is something entirely new to tourists and it is a one-of-a-kind experience for the ones who always seek an adrenalin rush.

In addition to the destinations such as Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt and America, we have also introduced new destinations such as Baku, Georgia, Kiev and Morocco. SOTC’s products are designed to create delightful experiences for the travellers amidst exotic locations spanning across the globe.

In mid-2017, the Department of Home Affairs (HA), formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection had extended online lodgement of visitor visa applications to all Indian nationals. The online application process provides a more convenient option for Indians looking to visit Australia, by allowing them to apply for their Australian tourist visa within the comfort of their home, without any biometric requirement or physically submitting their passport to the Department. In an age where travellers are increasingly self-reliant in planning and booking holidays, the e-lodgement facility allows tourists greater independence when planning a trip to Australia and has proved to be a strong catalyst for boosting tourist arrivals from India. Since the introduction of this new visa system, arrivals from India to Australia have surged by 20 per cent.

Tania Gerlach, Chief Migration Officer, Department of Home Affairs said, “Australia has a long history of innovation in its visa services. The expansion of online lodgement to Indian applicants is an important step in managing the large number of visitor visa applications processed in India. Processing times for these visas are now faster, as both applications and supporting documentation are immediately available to the processing office.”

Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager- India, Tourism Australia said, “Travellers today are digitally savvy and are increasingly habituated to a click or a tap to accomplish most tasks each day. Since the digital medium is now widely used in all aspects of travel planning, we see the introduction of online visitor visa lodgement as a progressive and innovative measure to ease travel logistics. In addition to destination delights to woo potential tourists, ease of access is usually seen as a catalyst that drives decision making. Going digital for visa facilitation is a huge convenience for travellers and further strengthens the appeal of Australia in attracting a higher share of visitors from India.”

Consumers can conveniently apply for their Australian visitor visa through the Department’s Immi Account portal. Online visa lodgement offers benefits such as 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online.

With the applicant’s permission, the online form can be completed by a third party such as a family member here in India or in Australia, or HA’s contracted visa application centre, VFS. Many travellers opt to use the service offered by key travel agents to do their online lodgement

In December 2017, Australia achieved its Tourism 2020 strategic goal of over 300,000 arrivals from India, three years ahead of target. India is currently the 8th largest inbound market, with 330,700 tourists visiting Australia during the year that ended May 2018, a growth of 19 per cent over the previous year. For the year that ended March 2018, Indian visitors spent A$ 1.53 billion (approx. Rs 7,650 crores) on their Australian trips, an increase of 14 per cent over the previous year. This is the fourth year where Tourism Australia has recorded solid double-digit growth in both arrivals and spend, indicating the destination’s growing preference among Indians.

PP Khanna has been re-elected as the President of Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) at the recently held elections for the term 2018-20. The ADTOI Office Bearers for the term 2018-20 includes; Rajesh Arya has been elected as the Vice President, Chetan Gupta as the General Secretary, Dalip Gupta as Treasurer while Anil Kr. Rajput has been elected as Joint Secretary.

The Executive Committee of ADTOI will comprise of Rajesh Sobti, Ekta Watts, Manoj Varshney, Neetish Gupta, Siddharth Jain, Ved Khanna, Ashish Chander Sehgal and Vishal Bhatia.

ADTOI is a national body of domestic tour operators, constituted in 1996 with the express purpose of consolidating the efforts of all those tour operators who are actively engaged in the promotion of "Domestic Tourism" in the country.

Harbans Singh, retd. Secretary, Election Commission of India was appointed as the returning officer to hold free and fair elections.

Qatar Airways has announced that it is the Prestige Partner and Official Airline of the 18th Asian Games Jakarta Palembang 2018, taking place in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, from August 18 until September 2, 2018. The highly-anticipated sporting event will bring athletes from 45 participating nations to Jakarta and Palembang to compete for the coveted prizes.

To mark this occasion, a high-level signing ceremony took place in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 9, 2018, in the presence of the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla; the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Republic of Indonesia, Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Hamar and the President of the Indonesian Asian Games 2018 Organising Committee (INASGOC), Erick Thohir.

Following the tremendous success of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, of which Qatar Airways was the Official Partner and Official Airline, the national carrier of the State of Qatar has now shifted its focus from Russia to Asia, to expand its global portfolio and celebrate its strong ties across the continent.

Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive, Qatar Airways said, “Qatar Airways is delighted to be the Prestige Partner and Official Airline of the 18th Asian Games Jakarta Palembang 2018, and to once more unite fans from around the world through a shared love of sport. This highly-anticipated event strengthens our extensive global sporting portfolio and asserts our continuous dedication to celebrating sports as a means of bringing people together. We are tremendously proud to be flying the Qatar team of more than 200 athletes to Jakarta for the event, and we look forward to welcoming all fans to Jakarta and Palembang.”

Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Hamar, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Republic of Indonesia said, “I am very proud that Qatar’s multiple award-winning national flag carrier, Qatar Airways is the Prestige Partner and Official Airline of the 18th Asian Games. This is a significant and historic moment for the State of Qatar and the Republic of Indonesia and will further strengthen the already strong bonds that exist between the two nations. This important partnership will further increase tourism and business links between Qatar and Indonesia as well as extending Qatar’s warm hospitality and welcoming culture to the people of Indonesia and fans from around the world. We look forward to continuing to deepen relations between the Qatari and Indonesian people and wish all teams the best of luck.”

Mr. Erick Thohir, President, Indonesian Asian Games 2018 Organising Committee (INASGOC) said, “We greatly appreciate Qatar Airways’ support of the Asian Games 2018 and look forward to the success of this new and exciting partnership. This event is not an ordinary sports tournament, but an important occasion that promotes both peace and unity between countries in Asia. We wish all participating nations the best of luck in this memorable world-class event.”

This is the second time that Qatar Airways has sponsored the Asian Games; the national carrier of the State of Qatar was also the Official Airline of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006, where it proudly welcomed thousands of fans from around the world to watch the games unfold in what was the biggest sporting event in the history of Qatar. Qatar Airways wishes Qatar’s national team all the best in the competition.

The Asian Games is a pancontinental multi-sport event held every four years and is the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. The prestigious competition is organised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), and will include 61 sporting disciplines in more than 40 facilities throughout the two host cities. Qatar Airways will proudly fly the Qatar team, consisting of more than 200 athletes, to Jakarta for the event.

This Independence Day, as India celebrates 72 years of freedom, IHCL will offer all serving and retired Indian Armed Forces personnel a special discount of 50 per cent on rooms across hotels and All Day Diners. In addition a 25 per cent discount will be offered on Jiva Spas and a 10 per cent on Taj Khazana across all locations.

The company’s history is entwined with that of the nation’s past and its journey for independence. It is from the steps of the iconic Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai that Lord Louis Mountbatten, the first Governor-General of an independent India, bid India a final farewell. We share in the pride earned for the nation by the brave men and women in the armed forces who are our true heroes.

Amadeus has agreed to acquire TravelClick from Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm, for US$1.52bn. TravelClick, which is headquartered in New York City, is a leading global hospitality provider that serves more than 25,000 customers across 176 countries. It provides cloud-based solutions, including an independent and mid-size hotel Central Reservation System (CRS) and Guest Management Solution (GMS), as well as business intelligence and media solutions.

Luis Maroto, President and CEO of Amadeus said, “TravelClick has a great team, great technology and a broad customer base, and we are looking forward to welcoming such a successful business into Amadeus. Our ambition is to provide the hospitality industry with the tools they need to grow their businesses and deliver a great experience to their guests. The combination of our two portfolios will allow us to provide that to hotels of all shapes and sizes across the world.”

While Amadeus already has a strong portfolio of hotels from within the major brands, the TravelClick acquisition gives the company access to a good number of mid-chain and independent hotels that make up almost three-quarters of the market. As part of the acquisition, approximately 1,100 TravelClick employees are expected to join Amadeus.

Larry Kutscher, CEO, TravelClick said, “This deal marks the next stage in TravelClick’s incredible journey of success in delivering groundbreaking solutions for hoteliers. I couldn’t be more proud of our team, or more excited about the impact our combined companies will have on the hospitality industry as we begin to deliver the next generation of innovation for hoteliers.”

Amadeus and Thoma Bravo expect to close the acquisition in the fourth quarter of the calendar year 2018, following regulatory approvals. The transaction will be debt-financed and immediately earnings accretive.

Holden Spaht, managing partner at Thoma Bravo said, “TravelClick is an excellent example of Thoma Bravo’s proven investment approach of acquiring a best in class vertical market software company and working alongside talented leadership to implement operational best practices and drive growth both organically and through M&A. We appreciate the outstanding execution of Larry Kutscher and the management team at TravelClick, and believe the company is well positioned to continue delivering innovative software, data analytics and marketing services that maximize revenue for hotels around the world.”



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