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The Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, recently inaugurated the project “Development of North East Circuit: Umiam (Lake View) - U Lum Sohpetbneng- Mawdiangdiang - Orchid Lake Resort” implemented under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in presence of the Minister of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya, Metbah Lyngdoh, the Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Yogendra Tripathi, and the Chairman, Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation, Sanbor Shullai in Umiam. This is the first Swadesh Darshan project of Union Tourism Ministry in the state of Meghalaya.
The project “Development of North East Circuit: Umiam (Lake View) - U Lum Sohpetbneng- Mawdiangdiang - Orchid Lake Resort” was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in July 2016 for Rs. 99.13 Crores. Under this project the Ministry has developed facilities like Traditional Healing Centre, Tribal Rejuvenation Centre, Tourist Information Centre, Multipurpose Hall, Log Huts, Cafeteria, Sound and Light show, Souvenir Shops, Water Sports Zone, Zip Line, Canopy Walk, Trekking Routes, Cycling Track, Last Mile Connectivity, Caravan Parking, Public Toilets, and Solid Waste Management.
Development of Tourism in North Eastern Region is prime area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry has taken several initiatives for growth of domestic and international tourism in the region. One of the many challenges region faces in development of tourism is the absence of quality infrastructure, services and awareness about the array of tourism products region has to offer.
The Ministry is carrying out number of activities to handle the issues on above fronts. On one hand the Ministry has given great impetus to the tourism infrastructure in the region under its flagship schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. The Ministry has sanctioned 16 projects for Rs. 1349.04 crores covering all North Eastern States under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD. The Ministry is also actively working with other Central Ministries like Mo/Culture, M/o DONER, M/o Road Transport and Highways, M /o Civil Aviation etc. for development of Tourism in the region. For promotion of North East region, the Ministry carries out special promotion in domestic and international markets highlighting regions diversity, tourism products and its rich culture. The Ministry of Tourism has also set up Hotel Managements and Food Craft Institutes for creating skilled manpower in tourism and hospitality sector in the North Eastern Region.
The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign tourist arrivals in the region has shown an upward trend over the years. The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7 per cent over 2016. The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8 per cent over 2016. The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.
Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 74 projects worth projects for Rs. 5932.05 Crore to 30 States and UTs. 30 projects / major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. 9 projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) announced that its Executive Director, Greeley Koch, will be stepping down, effective 22 March 2019.
"We have been very fortunate to have someone like Greeley leading ACTE into the next generation of our association’s work, growth and education,” ACTE President Leigh Bochicchio said. “Under Greeley’s leadership as executive director, ACTE has accomplished a great deal, including the recent investment in and expansion of the ACTE Research division, along with the launch of several new global initiatives, which have energised our membership and sponsor base."
"After 20 years of ACTE membership — three years as ACTE president and six years as executive director — I am moving on to pursue another path in the business travel sector. Of all the things this association has accomplished, I am proudest that ACTE has made business travel personal and put a face on our global membership. I have travelled many miles and have met thousands of ACTE members since 2012. They spoke; we listened; ACTE implemented. That is the legacy of a winning association," Koch said.
Bochicchio also announced that ACTE is actively searching for its next Executive Director, with its Executive Committee leading the search process for Mr. Koch’s successor. Information about the position and selection process will be available on the ACTE website, as well as several non-profit job boards. ACTE will finalize its decision and share an announcement with its members and the public.
IndiGo has announced a four day special sale across 6E network. Effective January 09, 2019 till January 13, 2019, IndiGo is offering customers all-inclusive fare starting at INR 899 across domestic and INR 3399 across international sectors. This sale is valid for travel between January 24, 2019 and on April 15, 2019.
William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are delighted to announce this four day sale across our network effective January 09, 2019 till January 13, 2019. As always with our sales, we reward the customers who book flights with two weeks notice and help us fill our seats in advance. We are sure that the market will quickly take up the seats we have available, starting at fares as low as INR 899”.
Boulter further said, “This four-day special sale reinforces IndiGo’s commitment of providing all our customers with an on-time, courteous and hassle free experience at low fares, always”.
Yatra Online has announced the acquisition of the corporate travel business of PL Worldways Limited (PLW), a Chennai based corporate travel services provider. This acquisition will help strengthen Yatra’s foothold in the southern India region along with adding over 100 corporate clients to its existing client base of over 700.
Commenting on the acquisition Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and CEO, Yatra Online, said “PL Worldways has an unparalleled reputation in corporate travel in the southern part of the country due to its strong customer focus and unmatched service. With this acquisition, we not only strengthen our position in the growing corporate travel market in India but also in Southern India, which has been in our cross-hairs for some time. Our endeavour will be to deliver best-in-class service to PLW’s existing customer base, through our self-booking platform and expense management solution software. We look forward to welcoming PL Worldways team to the Yatra family."
Anil Pathak, Chairman, PL Worldways, said, ”We are excited for PL Worldways to join Yatra family. PL Worldways’ local connect & customer service expertise will complement Yatra's technology platform and leverage the largest hotel network in the country; helping clients optimize their travel spend and improve their travel processes.”
The Fern Hotels & Resorts is all set to open 20 Fern and Beacon hotels across India and Nepal in 2019, Suhail Kannampilly, COO of the company, said. Out of these 20 hotels, two will be opened in Nepal - one in Kathmandu and second in Bharatpur, he informed.
With the opening of these hotels the tally of the hotels managed by us will climb to 76 hotels, and we are well on our target to open 100 hotels by the year 2020, Suhail said. Our team has been working tirelessly on our Mission 2020 of reaching the hundred mark and I am pretty confident of achieving the same, the COO added.
The 20 new hotels expected to open in the current year are located in Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Bharatpur (Nepal), Bhopal, Goa (Verna), Indore, Karad, Kathmandu, Kolhapur, Kumbhalgarh, Lonavala (2 hotels), Manali, Morbi, Polo Forest (Gujarat), Sarnath (Varanasi), Satara, Shivamogga, Solapur and Surat.
The year 2018 witnessed The Fern brand successfully foraying into cities like Belgaum, Bhuj, Dwarka, Jamnagar, Madhavpur (Gujarat), New Delhi, Parbhani (Maharashtra), besides taking over the operations of a hotel in Kathmandu. The footprint of the brand was further established in locations like Goa, Jaipur, Rajkot and Udaipur, where the company opened second and third hotels in the same city.
Currently the company manages 56 Fern and Beacon hotels in 37 locations across India, Nepal and Seychelles. The group is at the forefront of responsible hospitality and sustainable tourism. The environment-sensitive philosophy has won brand recognition and accolades for the group. It is the proud recipient of 135 National and International awards.
The group operates under 6 brands - The Fern, The Fern Residency, Beacon Hotels, The Zinc, The Zinc Journey and The Zinc Living - and also manages a selection of independently branded hotels. The Fern Hotels & Resorts is a professionally managed Hotel Company with expertise in managing and operating environmentally friendly hotel properties, which are certified by an external party – HVS International and carry Ecotel Certification.
Qatar has announced its latest global sales promotion designed to inspire passengers to explore new and exciting destinations in 2019. Qatar Airways’ passengers can enjoy exclusive discounts during this special promotion, where every journey to a destination becomes an unforgettable chapter, an experience that will create exciting stories to tell.
The promotion is valid on all Qatar Airways flights booked from 7 - 16 January 2019 for travel between 7 January and 31 December 2019. Passengers who book during the promotion period can take advantage of 25 per cent discount on Business Class fares and upto 35% discount on Economy Class fares* and will also receive 50 per cent bonus Qmiles and Qpoints in Economy Class and double Qmiles and Qpoints in Business and First Class.
“We are delighted to invite all our passengers to start planning their next trip with this exciting global promotion offering extensive discounts across all cabin classes on all flights. No matter where passengers choose to travel, when they experience a new destination first-hand, they become the author of their own unique story. With this new promotion, passengers can easily choose their next adventure and are truly spoilt for choice with Qatar Airways’ ever-expanding global network of more than 160 destinations,” Ehab Amin, Chief Commercial Officer, Qatar Airways, said.
Sabre Corporation announced a new, long-term distribution agreement with Cambodia Airways. While considered a relatively new entrant to the market, operating since July 2018, the airline has ambitious plans and aims to quickly transform into a major regional carrier.
“By selecting Sabre as our first distribution partner, we are confident that we are well-positioned to execute our expansion plan, both domestically and across Southeast Asia. Sabre is, without a doubt, the strategic ally that will allow us to achieve our business objectives, as we shift our focus towards developing new routes and markets,” said Kevin Fu, Chief Financial Officer, Cambodia Airways.
“Sabre is pleased to contribute to Cambodia Airways ongoing business achievements. By joining Sabre’s rich global travel marketplace, the full-service carrier will now be connected to over 425,000 agents globally, expanding the airline’s reach to travel buyers around the world. Sabre will partner with and actively support Cambodia Airways as they move into the next phase of their strategic growth plan,” said Rakesh Narayanan, vice president, Air Line of Business, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific.
The Ministry has sanctioned 73 projects under Swadesh Darshan Scheme with Central Financial Assistance for Rs. 5873.26 crores covering 30 states/UT Administrations
The Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India accorded the highest priority to the development of tourism infrastructure to provide a better tourism experience to the tourists since 2014. According to the Ministry, theme based circuits are being developed under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme spanning the entire country. “The Ministry of Tourism till date has sanctioned 73 projects under Swadesh Darshan Scheme with Central Financial Assistance for Rs. 5873.26 crores covering 30 states/UT Administrations,” K. J. Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, said in the Rajya Sabha. “Nine projects under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme have been inaugurated between August to December 2018 in the States of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Facilities like tourist facilitation centers, eco lodge huts, sound and light show, helipads, cafeteria, wayside amenities and jetties amongst others have been developed as part of the above projects, the Ministry said in a statement.
Moreover, the Ministry is also undertaking the integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations under the ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme. “One project has been sanctioned during 2018-19 for a total amount of Rs.39.24 Crore. A total number of 24 projects have been sanctioned till date for an amount of Rs.727.16 crore under this scheme,” the Ministry said. Apart from these two schemes, the Ministry also provided the Central Financial Assistance for infrastructure development during 2018-19 to Cochin Port Trust and Mormugaon Port Trust.
Infrastructure development is further going to witness the boost as the Ministry has identified 17 Sites in 12 clusters for development as iconic tourist sites. These sites are Taj Mahal, Fathepur Sikri. Ajanta, Ellora, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Colva Beach, Amer Fort, Somnath, Dholavira, Khajuraho, Hampi, Mahablipuram, Kaziranga, Kumarakom and Mahabodhi Temple. “The main parameters of identifying these sites were footfall at these destinations. We ended of selecting 12 such sites for the development. The development includes better connectivity and even more aggressive marketing of these destinations. We have visited these sites and had stakeholder consultations with the industry. We got their views, looked at the existing facilities and the existing gaps. Our consultants have done away the preliminary gap analysis what is required at these sites. But, now we are in the process of appointing or selecting one consultant for each site so that they look at the feedback which we have got from the stakeholders and come out with a Master Plan for the development of these sites. Master Plans are at the final stages of preparation. With this, we hope to iron out many of the challenges these destinations face,” a senior official from the Ministry told earlier to T3.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched “Adopt a Heritage Project” to provide world class tourist facilities at the various natural/cultural heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites. The project plans to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for the development of various tourist amenities. So far, MoUs have been signed for developing tourist amenities at the following sites: Area surrounding Gangotri Temple & Trail to Gaumukh, Uttarakhand; Mt. Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir; Red Fort, New Delhi; Gandikota Fort, Andhra Pradesh; Surajkund, Haryana; Jantar Mantar, Delhi; Qutub Minar, Delhi; Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra; Leh Palace, Jammu & Kashmir and Hampi (Hazara Rama Temple), Karnataka, the Ministry said.
Desaru Coast, a premium integrated destination resort in Malaysia, has appointed ‘Knack’ Marketing its sales representative in India. The appointment of ‘Knack’ Marketing will support Desaru Coast in building brand awareness, execute ongoing Public Relations, implementing trade programmes, providing packaging solutions to the partners in India and increasing the number of visitors from the Indian market to Malaysia.
TARH’s Chief Commercial Officer Philip Whittaker added “We are looking forward to this partnership with Knack Marketing and are confident that together, we can strategically position Desaru Coast as the brand that will elevate the tourism industry in Malaysia.”
Medha Sampat, of Knack Marketing added “We are very excited about this new collaboration with Desaru Coast. This is a carefully planned development to woo the tourism sector. The easy accessibility, massive infrastructure with its beautiful beach consists of stays in luxury accommodations, its extravagant conferencing facilities, state of the art theme park, stunning golf course, bundled with amazing gourmet options makes it a perfect getaway for the Indian traveler.”
The resort is anchored by four world class hotels and resorts namely; The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and One & Only Desaru Coast for premium travelers and a Conference Centre fitted with modern facilities. Featuring a perfect blend of business and pleasure, it also offers a 27-hole and 18-hole championship golf course with a supreme view of the coastline, a themed water park for family’s keen for an invigorating splash of adventure and a retail village with a wide range of offerings.
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