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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Airbnb and the Self Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA), an organization representing 1.5 million self-employed women living mostly in India’s rural areas, have announced the extension of their partnership to onboard SEWA members from Ladakh as hosts on the Airbnb platform. This partnership will expand livelihood opportunities for women in rural Ladakh and form part of broader efforts to rebuild tourism in a way that delivers positive outcomes for communities.

Through this extended partnership, Airbnb will train SEWA members on home sharing, hospitality, quality standards and responsible hosting practices under the ‘Hum Sab Ek’ (We are One) initiative, while fostering digital inclusion and enabling these women Hosts to connect with a global community of travellers.

Women make up a significant portion of Airbnb’s Host community in India. As of August 11, this year, new women Hosts in India with one listing have earned almost Rs. 30 million since the start of the pandemic and women make up almost 30 per cent of our entire Indian Host community. Through home sharing, women hosts are able to significantly augment their earnings and some women entrepreneurs have embraced being home hosts full-time.

Ladakh is well-known as a pristine and unique hub for culture and ecotourism. SEWA hosts in Ladakh will offer a unique and immersive experience in the ancient village of Phayang in Leh Ladakh. These hosts will also be leading the way on energy efficiency and responsible resource use through accommodations with amenities such as newly installed solar lights.

This extended collaboration was announced at a seminar titled ‘Ladakh: New Start, New Goals’ organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said, “The Airbnb-SEWA partnership is an excellent example of how the benefits of tourism can better serve communities and help rebuild tourism across the country, especially in Ladakh. The region is a significant draw for domestic and international tourists, and these partnerships enable not only a wealth of tourism experiences, but economically empower communities with the help of platforms such as Airbnb.”

Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager - Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, “We are proud to extend our partnership with SEWA in Ladakh and help empower local women Hosts on Airbnb to secure their financial independence and bring valuable tourism dollars into their communities. As part of our broader efforts to help rebuild tourism for the benefit of local communities, we aim to work together with these micro-entrepreneurs to promote sustainable and responsible travel and stays that contribute to resilient local economies and support jobs. Airbnb will continue to work closely with these women Hosts through training and best-practice sharing.”

Reema Nanavaty, Director, SEWA, said, “'Hum Sab Ek' is our rural innovation. We have worked together with Airbnb to create meaningful livelihood opportunities for our women members. Gandhiji’s Oceanic Circle perspective advocates helping each other rather than competing with each other. Together with Airbnb, our goal is to build a strong community of SEWA hosts who can learn from one another, constantly improve hosting standards, and together create a more welcoming environment for Indian women in hospitality.”

Dubai Holding has confirmed that, Ain Dubai is set to open on 21 October 2021. Ticket sales for the 21st of October onwards are now open to the public on aindubai.com.

Ain Dubai is the latest addition to the extensive Dubai Holding entertainment portfolio and plays a strategic role in supporting Dubai’s long-term vision as set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to strengthen its global position as a key tourism hub, continuing to build on the emirate's reputation as a leader in the global leisure and entertainment landscape.

From sundowners, dining in the sky and exclusive celebration packages to bespoke corporate and event offerings, Ain Dubai brings 19 truly unique and customisable experiences, all against the backdrop of Dubai’s skyline for breathtaking land and seascapes. Open both day and night, Ain Dubai visitors will experience two very different sides of Dubai from stunning Bluewaters views to a host of night-time entertainment. Gaze at the sunset’s golden rays glittering across the skyscrapers or watch Dubai’s spectacular LED lights switch on as darkness falls.

Offering unique views of Dubai's iconic landmarks from indoor, air-conditioned cabins and a huge range of entertainment to keep visitors coming back for more, the experiences are split into three main categories: Observation Cabins, Social Cabins and Private Cabins, with experiences starting with one rotation of approximately 38 minutes, up to two rotations of approximately 76 minutes. 

The Observation Cabins provide the perfect platform for those never-seen-before Instagrammable 360-degree views of Dubai as guests climb steadily through the sky on the world's tallest observation wheel to create a magical photobook memory of one of the world’s most iconic cities and all its incredible landmarks.

Experience a uniquely fun way to relax into the end of a busy day or start an incredible night out, with the Social Cabins which feature beverage-inclusive packages that offer something for everyone. Step into a premium cabin for the VIP treatment or get the best social vibes at the Ain Dubai Sky Bar cabins with beverages to toast the sunset over Dubai.

Visitors can reach new heights with an Ain Dubai Private Cabin providing exclusivity. Discover unique celebration packages for birthdays, engagements, weddings, business functions and more. The private cabins can be customised to cater for all sorts of events, from intimate celebrations to cultural festivities to treat VIP guests.

Ronald Drake, General Manager, Ain Dubai, said, “Ain Dubai offers first-of-its-kind experiences catering to all audiences including luxurious special event cabins; nightlife and party experiences; unique dining and culinary options; family-friendly cabins and customisable romantic experiences for special moments. We are the ultimate celebration destination, so it was only fitting that we celebrate the opening in style. Stay tuned for more exciting details of what to expect from our grand opening, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Ain Dubai.”

Mohamed Sharaf, Chief Operating Officer, Dubai Holding Entertainment, said, “Dubai continues to be a leader in the travel and tourism sector, with a reputation for delivering pioneering projects and landmarks. Ain Dubai is a testament to one of the many innovative initiatives developed by Dubai to further enhance its competitiveness as a key international tourism destination in continuation of Dubai’s drive to achieve new global heights. We can’t think of a better time to open this unique and celebratory asset than during the UAE’s Year of the 50th.”

The magnificent Ain Dubai sits at the heart of the unique, must-visit lifestyle destination, Bluewaters, where the charm and exclusivity of island living meets the exuberance of a sophisticated urban lifestyle. Bluewaters boasts hospitality, lifestyle, residential, and leisure and entertainment opportunities. Ain Dubai ticket prices start from AED 130.

Earlier this month, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa announced changes to the National Executive in order to strengthen government capacity and effectively deliver on its mandate. As part of these alterations, Lindiwe Sisulu took on her new role as the new Minister of Tourism, while previous Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane heads the Ministry of Human Settlements.

With vast bureaucratic experience, Lindiwe Sisulu will bring her diverse skillset and strategic prowess to the role, even as South Africa firms up plans for international tourism recovery. Tourism is the backbone of the South African economy, contributing to a whopping 6.9 per cent of the national GDP in 2019 and about 1.5 million jobs. While the nation has largely been focused on promoting domestic and intercontinental travel in recent times, the easing up of border restrictions has brought back international traveller appetite and confidence, encouraging South African Tourism to kick-start their global travel recovery plans. India is one of the top markets that the tourism board is investing in as they execute their plans, given that the country was South Africa’s 8th largest international source market prior to the pandemic.

Having served as member of parliament since 1994, Lindiwe was also the Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation from May 30, 2019 to August 5, 2021. Prior to that, she helmed the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation portfolio from February 27, 2018 to May 25, 2019. She has also served as the Minister of Public Service and Administration and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Intelligence, Housing and Defence.

Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism said, “We are excited to welcome and work closely with Lindiwe Sisulu in her new capacity as Minister of Tourism, especially for the India market. Her expertise and core competencies will be crucial as we create safe experiences for the outbound Indian traveller. After a year and a half under lockdown, Indian travellers are raring to explore, contingent to strong safety measures and ease of travel. India has always been a huge market for South Africa, and this is our chance to pay back by crafting the safest holidays for those seeking to travel.”

As revenge travel picks up in India, travel agents across the country are witnessing huge demand for destinations that are safe and allow for experiential, memorable holidays. South Africa, with its wide range of immersive socially distanced experiences within close proximities as well as breathtaking self-drive routes, continues to be an Indian traveller favorite. The fact that there are a variety of experiences within driving range and that Indian driver licenses are valid in the country, only makes the deal sweeter.

The Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India in collaboration with Department of Tourism, Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh and Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) is organising an event titled Ladakh: New Start, New Goals from 25th -28th August 2021.     

The objective of the event is to promote tourism to Ladakh as a tourist destination with focus on aspects of adventure, culture and responsible tourism. The event aims to provide indigenous product knowledge to the industry stakeholders and also a platform to local stakeholders for interaction with the Tour Operators / buyers from the rest of the country.

During the 3 days event B2B meetings have been arranged on 25th August. On 26th August, G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) would be addressing the event virtually. Radha Krishna Mathur, Lieutenant Governor, Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh will be gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest of the event in the presence of Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member of Parliament, Ladakh, K. Mehboob Ali Khan, Secretary Tourism & Culutre, UT Ladakh and other dignitaries. Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India would be addressing the event virtually

During the event “A Tourism Vision for Ladakh” document would be unveiling which focuses on overall development of the Ladakh Region. The Document envisions promoting tourism in the backdrop of sustainable ecological practices, building on local material and human resource.

The event is expected to be attended by approx. 150 participants which includes Opinion Makers, Tour Operators, Hoteliers, Diplomats, Homestay Owners, Senior Officials from Government of India, UT Administration of Ladakh and Media. The three days’ event will include activities like exhibition, panel discussions, B2B meetings, technical tours, Cultural evening to showcase tourism facilities and tourism products of Ladakh.

British Airways customers will be welcomed back on board with new ‘Best of British Menus’ with the September edition featuring a traditional British Roast dinner.

The airline’s roast, that will be available in First and Club World, will provide customers flying across the globe a taste of a quintessentially British dish. British Airways will debut its traditional roast with 21-day aged British beef, served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, seasonal vegetables, horseradish cream and gravy. On flights to the Indian subcontinent, customers will be offered British roast chicken served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, bread sauce and gravy.

The chefs will also be creating themed deserts on its monthly menus, with September’s theme being ‘All Things Botanical’ including an elderflower and white chocolate dessert with compressed apple and elderflower sorbet.

British Airways’ new monthly ‘Best of British’ menus champion seasonal ingredients and British provenance, taking customers on a culinary journey across the British Isles. The airline has proudly worked with farmers, caterers and producers to find great quality ingredients, advocating farm to fork.

In October, customers can expect to see another great traditional roast featuring chicken, as well as lamb hot pot and Welsh rarebit with chutney. The new dessert menu will celebrate the British apple season with treats such as apple mousse, with granny smith sorbet or British apple compote with vanilla custard and crumble.

Other classic dishes that will feature on menus will include gastro pub classics such as chicken pie with mash, pork pie with piccalilli, shepherd’s pie, sausage and mash, as well as chicken bacon leek and mushroom pie. The menu also features vegetarian options using British produce, such as butternut squash gnocchi with blue cheese sauce and wild cavolo nero, and handmade ricotta mezzaluna with truffle cream and grilled asparagus.

Sajida Ismail, Head of Inflight, said, “As we look ahead to welcoming back customers who may not have flown for a while, we wanted to mark the occasion by offering a really special menu that celebrates the best of Britain. Working with our catering partners, DO & CO and Newrest, we have created dishes using the best of British ingredients while they are in season. We are particularly excited to be offering a roast dinner on board. We know that Yorkshire puddings and crispy roast potatoes can be difficult to re-create at altitude, but our chefs have been working to make it happen, because we know that every British roast dinner should have them!”

The introduction of the new menus follows the introduction of other British Airways food and drink improvements for short-haul flights in its Euro Traveller (economy) cabin. The improvements include the introduction of ‘Buy Before you Fly’ menus including a selection of gourmet food from Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge, and the recent introduction of digital technology to ‘Buy on Board’ which will allow customers to order to their seat through a mobile device. The airline has also re-introduced free water and snacks on shorter flights in the Euro Traveller cabin. The changes come as part of the airline’s pledge to reduce food waste as part of its broader Sustainability commitments.

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) introducing the new modules of its Abu Dhabi Specialists E-learning Programme. The Programme was launched in May 2020 as part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. It was designed to educate travel industry professionals, including front-liners, product managers, tour operators, travel agencies and home-based agents, about ways to promote Abu Dhabi effectively.

The e-learning Programme has been successfully rolled out across the markets in 17 different countries and in seven different languages. So far, 13,670 applicants have registered for the course and more than 7,000 have graduated as 'Abu Dhabi Specialists’.

“We are really heartened by the strong support from the global travel trade for this programme and, as such, we will be launching additional learning modules and expanding into new markets in Switzerland and Israel,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Marketing and Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi. 

“Despite the last year being an extremely challenging period for the tourism sector, through this innovative programme we have still been able to connect with travel professionals around the world and help them understand why Abu Dhabi is such an extraordinary destination. As we open up to travellers from across the world once again, we are confident the Programme has increased awareness of Abu Dhabi’s amazing offerings, which in turn will lead to increased sales activity and lengths of stay for visitors.”

The investment in training and upskilling confirms DCT Abu Dhabi’s commitment to support the travel trade in key source markets to provide quality advice and better service to customers considering Abu Dhabi as a travel destination.  

The programme is part of DCT Abu Dhabi’s Travel Trade Marketing Plan ensure the travel specialists are equipped with the right knowledge and tools to sell. Besides the training aspects, the specialists receive regular communications on the destination, invitations to events, and access to marketing toolkits.

The enhanced programme will include three new modules: Expo 2020 Dubai, Abu Dhabi as a Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) destination and Abu Dhabi’s Culture assets and programmes to empower agents with more knowledge.

The new modules will be progressively rolled out in different markets and languages, and the Abu Dhabi specialists will be accorded the ‘advanced’ certification upon completion.

SriLankan Airlines has strengthened its presence in India by resuming services between Colombo and the Indian points; Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Trivandrum and Cochin with flights once a week, whilst Hyderabad and New Delhi will be connected to Colombo with twice-weekly flights from September 1, 2021.

SriLankan Airlines currently operates four flights a week from Chennai, three flights a week from Mumbai, and once a week from Bangalore to its hub in Colombo.

Further, the Airlines’ operations out of Chennai and Mumbai will expand up to five times a week whilst its Bangalore-Colombo services will be enhanced to flights three times a week.

Currently, India accounts for over 120 million fully vaccinated citizens which has resulted in the reawakening interest in travel.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic, the airline operated an extensive network out of 11 Indian cities over 120 flights a week to Colombo, connecting travellers to the resplendent island and beyond.

The total asset universe considered for the exercise are the hotel assets under the central sector agencies India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) under administrative control of the Ministry of Tourism.

ITDC is running hotels, restaurants at various places for tourists, besides providing transport facilities. The present network of ITDC consists of 4 Ashok Group of Hotels, 4 Joint Venture Hotels, 7 Transport Units part of the travel & tourism infrastructure, 14 Duty Free Shops at Seaports, 1 Sound & Light Show and 4 Catering Outlets. The hotel assets under ITDC comprise of the following:

1 Hotel Pondicherry Puducherry

2 Hotel Kalinga Bhubaneshwar

3 Hotel Ranchi Ranchi

4 Hotel Nilachal Puri

5 Hotel Anandpur Sahib Rupnagar

6 Hotel Samrat New Delhi

7 Hotel Ashok New Delhi

8 Hotel Jammu Ashok Jammu 

ITDC is exploring monetisation of its properties which have been considered under the monetisation pipeline. Major assets which are under various stages of discussion as following:

 Joint leasing of Hotel Pondicherry Ashok, Puducherry

 O&M contract for Hotel Kallinga Ashok, Bhubaneshwar

 Divestment of Hotel Ranchi Ashok, Ranchi

 Divestment of Hotel Nilachal, Puri

 Transfer of ownership of Anandpur Sahib Hotel

 Subleasing of Hotel the Ashok, New Delhi

 O&M contract for Hotel Samrat, New Delhi

 O&M contract for Hotel Jammu Ashok, Jammu 

Factors influencing monetisation of the asset class

Potential to leverage the Brand Value of Ashok Group – The Ashok group of hotels is the flagship hotel chain under ITDC which have a brand value developed over last 40-50 years and has been the centre stage for all government events organised by various ministries and public sector entities. The Ashok hotels has been the key part of major Conferences, Exhibitions, Workshops/ Seminars and other National and International events organised.

Government push for underutilised assets – ITDC chain of hotels being placed at ~125 acres of land parcels spanning across major cities across the country have not been utilised to their maximum potential.

Strategic Location Advantage – ITDC hotels have the location advantage as majority of the hotels are placed at the heart of the city in prime locations (Hotel the Ashok,Hotel Samrat, Hotel Kalinga etc.).

All 8 hotel assets of ITDC have been considered for monetisation during FY 2022 to 2025. Long-term leasing, divestment, long term OMT contract may be explored as potential models for monetisation to be ascertained on a case to case basis as per detailed asset level due diligence.

AVIAREPS India has won the Integrated Sales Marketing and Public Relations mandate for Utah Office of Tourism in India for next five years. The aim and objective is to position the amazing tourism offerings of Utah in India, which is considered to be a great outdoor State.

From the Mighty 5 National Parks, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capital Reef and Zion to the Wasatch Mountains’ Greatest Snow on Earth®, and all points in-between, Utah is the place where families and adventures forge incredible experiences and make enduring memories.

Rachel Bremer, Tourism Global Markets Director, Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development, said, “We are pleased to announce that AVIAREPS India has been chosen to represent the Utah Office of Tourism in India for the next five years. The Utah Office of Tourism's mission is to elevate life in Utah through responsible tourism stewardship. We do this through marketing, stewardship, and development. Guided by this mission, we are facing the challenge of responsibly rebuilding Utah's visitor economy and international visitation. Our partnership with AVIAREPS will help us to not only rebuild but, to expand in India; to forge strategic partnerships that will increase our market share. Utah beckons the road-tripper, the slow traveler, the family, and the experiential traveler, those that will enjoy the viewpoints along our scenic byways, hiking in our national parks, and exploring our urban core along the Wasatch Mountains. We look forward to working with AVIAREPS to expand our product development, execute campaigns, increase Utah's brand awareness, and work with the industry collectively to support recovery and growth in the years ahead.”

Ellona Pereira, Head, AVIAREPS India, said, “We are elated to represent the Utah Office of Tourism in India for the next five years and our immediate priority is to localize their global strategy by providing end to end solutions. In fact, some of the tourism offerings that the Utah State has to offer are apt for the Indian outbound tourists who post the pandemic, are seeking places of tranquillity, craving wide open spaces and inspiring views, as nature breaks continue to be more appealing and on-trend these days. Our team of experts will work towards the development and implementation of effective sales, marketing and PR strategies to generate awareness about the destination amongst Indian travellers.”

Shanghai-based CTrip Corporate Travel of Trip.com Group renews strategic partnership agreement with Amadeus delivering hospitality content to corporate customers across China.

Covid-19 has had an extraordinary impact on business travel, and now many agencies are rethinking aspects of their business, accommodating the changing needs of corporate travelers.

To support its 12,000+ corporate customers travel in and out of China, CTrip Corporate Travel has renewed a multi-year strategic partnership with Amadeus to support the technology innovation needed for expanding its operations across Asia Pacific. 

CTrip Corporate Travel’s customers can now shop and book hospitality content via the Amadeus Travel Platform.

Steve Zhang, CEO of Ctrip Corporate Travel, said: “We are excited to see the strong recovery of corporate travel in China. Despite the extensive use of conferencing options, business travel has recovered stronger, in line with the domestic economic growth in this market. With business travelers increasingly turning to corporate travel management services, we are delighted to renew our strategic long-term partnership with Amadeus. The Amadeus Travel Platform will be a cornerstone in the expansion of our travel management business this year and beyond.”

Brian Chien, Senior Vice President, Travel Sellers and Online, Greater China and Managing Director, Amadeus China said: “As one of the world’s largest business travel markets, China presents tremendous growth opportunities for our business, and our strategic partnership with Trip.com Group has helped Amadeus establish a strong presence in the country. We are pleased to be supporting CTrip Corporate Travel in bringing its customers extensive and relevant hotel content through the Amadeus Travel Platform, so its travelers can get back on the road safely and confidently.”



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