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Rajiv Vyas has been appointed as the Director of Sales for The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat. In his current role, he will be looking after company sales functions alongside development and implementation of sales strategy. As the Director of Sales, Rajiv will manage sales forecasts as well as pricing strategies thereby implementing effective techniques to increase the occupancy of the hotel.
The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat has appointed Anil Swain as Director for Revenue. Anil is armed with over 12 years of experience in sales management with Luxury Hotels. He holds the position of Director of Revenue at The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat, and will be in-charge of the negotiations, pricing and budgeting exercise on the basis of market and demand analysis for the Property.
It’s tempting to dismiss Bitcoin, the world’s first digital currency, as a passing fad, and nothing to do with the world of business travel, but what if the technology upon which it is built could make the fear of forgetting your passport, a problem of the past? Well, now there’s a brave new world.
While cryptocurrency is the most recognized application of Blockchain, the technology itself has the potential to revolutionize our lives, including making travel more streamlined and secure.
Essentially a decentralized and transparent data network, Blockchain was created as a way to shift power away from relational databases that are controlled by companies. The technology stores information in encrypted blocks that can never be changed or modified. Chaining the blocks together creates the blockchain.
It’s particularly relevant now, as high-profile data breaches have recently come to light. According to CNN, data is now a $300 billion a year industry.
From decentralized social networking sites to authenticated voting, companies are developing ideas across all industries. According to the World Economic Forum, it’s predicted that by 2025, around 10 percent of global GDP will be generated using blockchains.
But as with anything, looking at how complicated technology can solve everyday problems is where the real interest lies.
Our technical experts, Marcus Bonner and Jon Har-Ewen are testing possible applications by implementing POC or ‘proof of concepts,’ which involve using blockchains to solve small problems, and then gradually expanding on them. The advantage of working this way is that we can be flexible in introducing and testing new versions, and is just one example of the way we’re becoming much more fleet of foot in the way that we develop and release products.
The possibilities for how Blockchain can impact travel are numerous.
Starting with identify verification, a traveler’s identity could be verified from anywhere, eliminating that awkward exchange with passport control, when you look nothing like your photo. An application that distinctly assigns passengers to luggage is also being explored.
When it comes to loyalty and bonus programmes, reward points could be collected from vendors, and made instantly accessible and used like a currency. If you sprain your ankle on a business trip, blockchain could streamline the error-prone process of logging a claim. A hospital could post the incident, which can be picked up from a block shared with an insurance company.
Blockchain has enormous potential but there is also some hype. Whenever there is a physical process involved, having a reliable database will help to track but will never eliminate human error.
However, it has the potential to address some of the issues associated with traditional systems, since it creates an encrypted thread of data ledgers. Travel managers can, therefore, fulfill their duty of care obligations more efficiently. In addition, travel management companies will be better placed to overcome unexpected problems and negotiate multiple levels of security, payment, and accommodation. Changes to business travel are just around the corner but Blockchain is simply the connectivity piece. Our job is to build the future on that ecosystem.
By Andrew Jordan, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Under ‘Udaan’ (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, Air Odisha started its journey in the state of Chhattisgarh connecting flights with Vizag in Andhra Pradesh. Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi recently inaugurates Air Odisha’s flight route Jagdalpur-Raipur- Vizag from here in Bhilai via live video. In terms of outright benefits to the passengers and travellers, Raipur -Jagdalpur (288 km by road) travel time of 15 hours by train and 6 -7 hours by road shrinks to a mere 40 minutes that to at a cost of Rs.1,670.
Air Odisha is the realisation of his dream of seeing every Indian taking an‘Udaan’). On this occasion, Shaishav Shah, Managing Director, Air Odisha’s & Executive Director of GSEC, “We are happy to announce the launch of our new routes in Chhattisgarh connecting with Andhra Pradesh. The UDAN scheme is an excellent scheme initiated under the flagship of our Honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi which would aid to the growth of the economy where a common man can also now travel more affordable and convenient way and we are delighted to be a part of this historic moment of nation’s aviation sector.”
UDAN is to let the common citizens of the country fly by making the air travel affordable and widespread and Air Odisha is able to materialise this goal. With every passing month Air Odisha is adding more regions to its radar for better connectivity in the towns. In this context commencement of regional connectivity scheme in towns like Jagdalpur, Raipur, Vizag continue to demonstrate Air Odisha’s growth.
The objective of Regional Connectivity Scheme is to make flying affordable for the masses, to promote tourism, increase employment and promote balanced regional growth. It also intends to put life into un-served and underserved airports, added Shah.
Bastar airport has been developed at a cost of 39.58 Crore and licensed in 2C VFR category on 14 April 2018. Air Odisha Aviation Private Limited is commencing air operations under UDAN scheme of Ministry of Civil Aviation, presently connecting Jagdalpur to Raipur on daily basis on route Raipur -Jagdalpur -Vishakhapatnam and back. Beechcraft 1900 D, a 19-seater aircraft is scheduled to operate on this route. Air ticket sale has been opened online.
Jet Airways has commenced its services under the Government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN by linking the holy city of Allahabad with the state capitals of Lucknow and Patna.
Of the seven sectors that Jet Airways has been awarded in the second round of bidding under the UDAN scheme, the airline is launching five this week, including Lucknow-Allahabad-Lucknow, Patna-Allahabad-Patna, Nagpur-Allahabad-Nagpur, Indore-Allahabad-Indore, and Delhi–Nashik-Delhi. Services on the remaining two routes viz. Lucknow–Bareilly–Lucknow and Delhi-Bareilly-Delhi are expected to be launched in the coming days, once necessary clearances and approvals have been received for the Bareilly airport.
Jet Airways will deploy its 72-seater ATR aircraft on the RCS routes that connect Allahabad with various other destinations in its network. Operating thrice a week, the new routes will offer Allahabad six day/ week connectivity, complementing the existing connectivity to/from the city.
Ahead of the launch of the service from Allahabad, the airline conducted a multi-faith pooja and lit a ceremonial lamp to mark the occasion. The lamp-lighting ceremony was graced by Shyama Charan Gupta, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Allahabad; Surya Pal Gangwar, Special Secretary, Civil Aviation Department, Uttar Pradesh; Dr. Ashish Kumar Goyal, Divisional Commissioner, Allahabad Division, Air Mshl SBP Sinha PVSM AVSM VM AOC-in-C, HQ CAC, IAF, Air Mshl AS Butola VM VSM SASO, HQ CAC, IAF, Mishra, Airport Director, Allahabad and Amit Agarwal, CFO and Dy. CEO, Jet Airways in the august presence of Nand Gopal Gupta, Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation and Stamp, Uttar Pradesh, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Suhyas LY, District Magistrate, Allahabad also graced the inauguration ceremony. This was followed by a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and felicitation of the first guest with the boarding pass which was handed over by senior Jet Airways officials and the VIPs, marking the inauguration of the flight.
Agarwal said, “Jet Airways has been connecting India with the rest of the world for over 25 Years and we are proud to now launch our service connecting the holy city of Allahabad with state capitals as part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN). We are thankful to the Government of Uttar Pradesh who have extended incredible support in facilitating the launch of these services. We look forward to working closely with them as Jet Airways strengthens its network to provide Metro and emerging cities with regional connect as well as one-stop global linkages, enabling guests to travel to a host of destinations on its domestic and international network via convenient connections.”
The new flights will offer two-way connections to Mumbai from Allahabad via Nagpur/Indore/Lucknow. Similarly, the flights offer two-way connections to Bengaluru from Allahabad via Indore/Patna. Guests also have the choice to connect to Pune and Ahmedabad from Allahabad, via Indore. Likewise, the flight will also connect to Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Jaipur and Abu Dhabi from Allahabad via Lucknow, allowing guests to connect through Abu Dhabi over Lucknow to multiple international destinations in Europe, North America, Africa, Middle East and the Gulf, enhancing the global connectivity from India’s emerging metros.
The Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism KJ Alphons launched the new Incredible India website in New Delhi recently. The website showcases India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences, such as, spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga, wellness and more. The website follows the trends and technologies of international standards with an aim to project India as a “must-visit” destination, among its overseas travellers.
Launching the new dynamic and interactive website with latest platform and technology, the Minister hoped that the website will evolve as one of the best in the world. The Minister also said that the new website is more interactive, it will have all the required content and further, the content shall be updated in a timely manner. The Minister also thanked the stakeholders like Tech Mahindra, Google, Adobe and NIC team who were involved in the development of the website.
Rashmi Verma, Secretary Tourism said, “New website will suggest a visitor the options and there is no need of any queries. She also added that the website will provide information all over the world even about exotic destinations of the country. The Secretary also conveyed that the website has already started getting visits from US, Russia and China.”
The website has many useful features to make it more interactive and to provide a deeper engagement to the travellers visiting the website. With the help of Adobe solution suite, the Ministry of Tourism will now be able to engage effectively with visitors across Web & Social channels and measure engagement, to deliver real time personalized experiences for each visitor, based on their interest and travel persona. Ministry of Tourism has partnered with Google Arts & Culture, in bringing online a series of compelling visuals that will give the user an immersive experience of India’s spectacular heritage, festivity, spirituality, museums and adventure, on the new website.
Oman has relaxed its visa rules to attract more tourists by granting visa on arrival (unsponsored tourist visa) for the citizens of India who reside in or who hold an entry visa to one of these countries – United States of America, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan and Schengen States to enter the Sultanate of Oman. Oman visa on arrival can also be availed by the spouse (husband/wife) and children of the visa holder of any of these six mentioned countries as long as they are accompanying him/her, even if they do not hold a visa from these countries.
The applicant shall hold a passport valid for not less than six months from the date of expiry; The applicant shall have a return ticket and a confirmed hotel reservation in order to be granted the visa; The applicant for the Omani Tourist visa shall be a resident in or holding an entry visa to one of the following countries (Unites States of America, Canada, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom and Schengen States) provided that his/her residence or visa in these countries is valid upon filling the visa document; The visa shall be granted for a period of one month against a fee amounting to OMR 20; The competent authority may prohibit the citizens of these countries who meet the terms and conditions for obtaining a visa from entering the Sultanate if the public interest so requires; Any person who avails of such a visa facilitation and breached the regulations will be blacklisted and prohibited from entering the Sultanate of Oman and will be compelled to pay fines in accordance with the terms and provisions for the Foreigner’s Residence Law and the Executive Regulations thereof
The Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, is all set to kick start its five-month long promotional campaign in the high-potential domestic markets. Kerala Tourism has plans to conduct 15 B2B meets across domestic markets in order to attract the maximum number of domestic travellers to its various destinations.
The phase I of the ambitious promotional campaign 2018-2019 would commence with the Travel & Tourism Fair in Kolkata from July 6-8, followed by the tourism partnership meets in Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) and Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) on July 10 and 12, respectively. Kerala Tourism would tap the Karnataka market with IITM Bengaluru (July 27-29) and Gujarat with three partnership meets in Ahmedabad (July 31), Vadodara (August 1) and Surat (August 3) each. Further, it would organize partnership meets in Lucknow (August 14) and Indore (August 17), followed by trade fair - TTF Ahmedabad (September 7-9).
Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Cooperation, Tourism and Devaswoms, Government of Kerala said, “Following the ambitious promotional campaign, the Tourism Department aims to promote the state’s tourism across potential domestic markets. Simultaneously, Kerala Tourism would continue to keep focusing on exploring the tourism potential of pristine Northern Kerala. Through domestic B2B meets, we are hopeful to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the state across the country.”
Additionally, Kerala Tourism has plans to promote its tourism potential in Maharashtra through conducting partnership meets in Nagpur (October 3), TTF Mumbai from October 5-7 along with partnership meets in Pune (October 9) and Mumbai (October 12). The first phase of the domestic B2B meets would culminate with IITM Hyderabad (November 23-25), tapping the Telangana market.
Highlighting the growth of domestic tourist arrivals, Rani George, Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Kerala said, “Kerala Tourism has witnessed a remarkable increase in the number of domestic tourist arrivals to the state. The Tourism Department has set an ambitious target of increasing domestic tourist arrivals by 50 per cent by year 2021 and through this promotional campaign, it is our endeavour to encourage domestic tourist arrivals during monsoon.”
P Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism said, “Through road shows and travel fairs, we aim to establish new trade connections across the potential markets. Such partnership meets provide an opportunity for the tourism Trade in the respective markets to interact and develop business relationship with tourism industry players from Kerala.”
Districts like Alappuzha, Idukki, Wayanad, Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam had attracted the maximum number of domestic tourists in 2017. The state had hosted a significant number of travellers from southern states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Karnataka stood at the second position 9.33 lakh tourists, while Maharashtra stood at third slot with 5.47 lakh tourists. There had also been a significant increase in tourist arrivals from Delhi (18.67 per cent increase) and Gujarat (24.48 per cent increase) with 2,40,672 and 2,39,228 travellers.
Lords Hotels & Resorts also Gujarat’s biggest mid-market hotel chain has announced plans of launching another new resort in the State. Currently under construction, the resort is expected to commence operations in the last quarter of 2018 making it the chain’s 16th property in Gujarat and overall its 29th. To be launched as Lords Resort Chotila, the 46 rooms resort will offer accommodations to the pilgrimage tourists visiting the popular Chotila Mata Mandir. Being a resort property it will host all kinds of recreational facilities which will serve as great holiday stays for the leisure tourists too. The development is also in line with Lords Hotels & Resorts’ focus on capitalising on pilgrimage tourism – a segment which is one of the support pillars of the Incredible India campaign.
Chotila is a Hindu temple town located in Chotila Taluka of District Surendranagar near Rajkot. Lords Resort Chotila is a folk theme resort that will appeal to the tastes of both the pilgrimage as well as the leisure tourists.
PR Bansal, Chief Operating Officer, Lords Hotels & Resorts said, “We are delighted to announce our latest venture in Chotila. This will be our eighth property located at a pilgrimage site and we are consciously focusing on expanding in this segment. While Lords Resort Chotila will be a great place to stay for the pilgrimage tourist, the resort will be a fabulous retreat for the leisure traveller too. The resort architecture is inspired by the shape of a crescent moon and the rooms are designed in the traditional Bhunga style with adjoining private sit out areas overlooking water bodies built around it.”
Other than offering luxurious rooms and suites, Lords Resort Chotila will also offer recreational facilities including waterpark with wave pool, multiplex, gaming zone, spa, gym and food courts. While the resort will host all modern amenities and full-services to its guests, the room tariffs will be maintained at budget friendly prices. Guests will also be able to enjoy exquisite dining options at its multi-cuisine restaurant – Blue Coriander.
Since 2016, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has had a certification process in place for the New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard, for the different industry stakeholders to show their capability to support NDC messaging. Amadeus has now renewed its level 3 certification for Altéa NDC on 18.1, the latest version of the standard, which was released in March this year.
What’s different about version 18.1 is that it is generated based on the new aviation industry data model, which IATA has been working on with Amadeus and other industry partners. This new data model aims to provide a consistent industry repository and methodology to help define the use and structure of new and existing standards. This will support the deployment and industrialization of new standards, such as NDC.
Gianni Pisanello, VP, NDC-X program, Amadeus said, “We’ve been working hand in hand with IATA and other industry partners to test and improve this latest version of the standard, which will help to drive industrialization and adoption. Version 18.1 and the new data model means that NDC messages between airlines and third parties – whether aggregators, travel sellers or corporations – now have a more defined structure.”
Pisanello added, “In simple terms, this means that we are getting a step closer to the milestone when all the industry players will be able to speak and interpret the NDC language, in the same way, which is a key benefit for the whole industry. We’re pleased to be the first company to be certified on the 18.1 version, as proof of our ongoing partnership with IATA and our commitment to making NDC work for the industry.”
Yanik Hoyles, Director, New Distribution Capability Program, IATA said, “Our NDC standard and the certification process is going from strength to strength, and we’re excited to see how NDC is helping to usher in a new era of airline retailing. Amadeus has always been an active member of our NDC working groups, and this certification is testament to its collaborative approach.”
This certification as an IT provider follows on from Amadeus’ previous level 3 certification as an IT provider and level 1 certification as an aggregator in 2016 and 2017. Amadeus is also on track to achieve level 3 certification as an aggregator later this year.
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