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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

ITB Asia opened its doors today at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.  Under the overarching theme, “Travel Reimagined”, top industry leaders is going to deliver insights on the key trends provoking disruption across the travel industry and how brands are innovating to stay competitive. The 2018 edition is expecting over 1,000 exhibitors and 1,000 buyers.

 “ITB Asia continues to maintain its position as the leading travel trade show in Asia. It remains one of the top business platforms for connecting exhibitors and partners with key decision makers in the MICE, Corporate and Leisure travel industry. Working in close collaboration with our partners and exhibitors, we are delighted to unveil one of our most engaging and exciting programmes yet. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this year’s show!” said Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of ITB Asia.

As part of the keynote line up today, Microsoft and Google has provided insights on what will disrupt and change the way we travel and do business, whilst Ctrip has talked about challenging the international travel market. Tomorrow, leading companies discussing the future of travel distribution, will include Booking.com, Hotelbeds Group, Jacobs Media Group, KAYAK, Skyscanner and Triptease. On Friday, the final day of the show, Thomas Cook, Mileslife, Tujia, Fliggy & Dragon Trail Interactive will discuss how Chinese travellers are changing the world and how brands can win them over.

According to organizer, the number of Corporate and MICE participants at ITB Asia has increased by 49 per cent compared to last year. The show has seen a 20 per cent increase, compared to 2017, in new exhibitors signing up for this year’s show following the growth in demand from Asian and European participants. This year’s new registrations include National Tourism Organizations (NTO) and Regional Tourism Organizations (RTO). ITB Asia is pleased to welcome new NTO exhibitors from Abu Dhabi, Botswana, Croatia, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea as well as RTO exhibitors such as Fukuoka, Kansai, Rovaniemi and more.

Treebo Hotels has announced its partnership with PhonePe, India’s leading digital payments platform. The partnership will allow PhonePe users to directly book from Treebo’s 400+ hotels and homestays in 85+ Indian cities on the PhonePe app.

 PhonePe users can now book Treebo hotels at flat prices starting at Rs.999, Rs.1299, Rs.1499 and more. They will also be able to spend and earn Treebo Rewards (Treebo’s loyalty points) on the Treebo hotels booked through the PhonePe app.

The app-in-app integration provides a standard and seamless login and payments experience to over 100 million PhonePe users. It further enriches travel offerings on PhonePe’s platform, which already includes bus ticketing, flight booking and cab-hailing partners.

Commenting on the partnership, Rana Vishal Singh, Head of Performance Marketing, Treebo Hotels said, “We are excited to partner with PhonePe in making Treebo’s hotel bookings simple, fast and reliable. By building the Treebo app within PhonePe, we will be able to extend the reach of Treebo Hotels through PhonePe’s growing tech-savvy user base and facilitate seamless completion of transactions. It makes PhonePe an important platform partner that will significantly contribute to our direct distribution efforts.”

Rituraj Rautela, Head In-App Platform, PhonePe said, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Treebo hotels which enhances our offering to Indian travelers, who can now book quality and value-for-money stays with Treebo. This is in line with our vision of enabling our users to avail the best of services through their PhonePe app, and enjoy the comfort and sense of security while making payments through PhonePe.”

Praveen Chugh has been re-elected as the President of Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) at the recently held elections for the term 2018-20. The TAFI Office Bearers for the term 2018-20 includes; Pradip Lulla as the Vice President, Aditi Bhende as the National General Secretary, Jayesh Tharani as the Treasurer.

The Managing Committee of TAFI comprise of Basheer Ahmed, Rajat Bagaria, Urvashi Mohan, Bharat Shah, Teddy Thomas.

Ashish Gupta – Founder Strategy Pluto & Consulting CEO, FAITH was appointed as the returning officer to hold free and fair elections.

The cost and complexity of the Schengen zone tourist visa process is losing the European tourism industry an estimated US$ one billion a year from the Indian market, preliminary findings from European Tourism Association Visa Impact Survey have revealed.

ETOA surveyed members who provide travel arrangements for Indian clients travelling worldwide and found that of those who had travelled in the past 12 months nearly 60 per cent had considered the Schengen zone as a destination.

But of those, 55 per cent did not complete a visa application with 30 per cent changing their mind before applying and 25 per cent abandoning the application midway.

The reasons for both were primarily due to cost, perceived practical difficulty and other negative factors associated with application. In 2017, 920,699 Schengen visa applications were received from Indian citizens; 837,109 were granted, giving an average refusal rate of nine per cent.

If the same refusal rate was applied to the 55 per cent who, instead of changing their mind before applying or during the process, went on to complete a visa application, over half a million more visas would have been granted to Indian travellers.

At an average in-destination spend of US$2,000 per person that represents US$ one billion of potential opportunity cost to Europe, not counting the spend on international travel and accommodation.

Two thirds of those who never made or abandoned a Schengen visa application from India, still went on a foreign holiday. Over a fifth went to a European destination outside Schengen and UK/Ireland.

Tom Jenkins, Chief Executive, ETOA said, “Expensive, complicated tourist visa systems put off visitors. The new Schengen Visa Code needs to be fit for purpose for legitimate travel. The price point needs to be re-set and further investment is needed to speed up processing times.”

The Auckland Diwali Festival is one of the city’s most colourful cultural festivals, celebrating traditional and contemporary Indian culture in New Zealand’s largest city. From Rangoli competitions to Indian dance performances, this family-friendly festival is being held for all age-groups to indulge Diwali festivities.

On Friday, 19 October, locals and tourists can experience the ‘Chalk It Up’ rangoli-drawing competition in Freyberg Place and Diwali-themed activities in Ellen Melville Centre. Visitors can have a go at DIY henna (mehendi), learn how to drape a saree, create rangoli patterns to take home and play interactive digital Hindi language games. There will also be different Indian snacks to sample – sweet mithai treats and savoury namkeen nibbles.

The festival will officially kick off on Saturday, 20 October with a mix of performances, from Bollywood to Punjabi, Gujarati to Bharat Natyam, Rajasthani to Hindustani and more, across three areas of the city centre – the Aotea Square Stage, the Queen St Stage and corner of Queen and Wakefield.

Before and during the festival, Vector Lights will bring a light show inspired by the traditional art form of rangoli to Auckland Harbour Bridge from Thursday, 18 October to Sunday, 21 October. This is a part of the smart energy partnership between the New Zealand based energy company, Vector, and the Auckland Council.

Leilana Meredith, Festival Producer said, “It’s exciting to have Vector Lights bringing a new facet to the festival for 2018, with the light show on Auckland Harbour Bridge taking its cue from the beautiful colours and designs of rangoli.”

Auckland Diwali Festival is one of the region’s most popular cultural festivals with 55,000 people attending the event last year. Performers from Kalehri Art & Culture Academy in India will present entertainment in a wide range of styles including bhangra, gidha, jindua, malwai and jhumar. The festival beautifully essays out 45 hours of live entertainment across more than 240 local and international performances.

The Auckland Diwali festival is vastly celebrated with enthusiasm and love amongst family, friends and relatives. Families light lamps, candles and fireworks to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness, wisdom over ignorance and good over evil.

Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, has launched a new brand campaign, ‘Frankly Philadelphia’.

Julie Coker Graham, President and CEO, PHLCVB said, “Our core mission remains the same – the PHLCVB creates positive economic impact across the Philadelphia region, driving job growth, and celebrating the health and vitality of our hospitality industry. This new communications platform promotes Philadelphia as a global tourism destination and embodies the spirit, vibrancy, and relevance of our city and the PHLCVB brand. Frankly Philadelphia makes a connection across a wide range of targeted segments including meeting and event planners and overseas visitors travelling to the city.”

In recent years, Philadelphia has hosted the World Meeting of Families (2015), the Democratic National Convention (2016), and the NFL Draft (2017). This year, the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII and brought about a million fans to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a one-of-a-kind celebration. The success of these major conventions and events has helped position the city as a high-caliber, ‘must see’ destination to the rest of the country and the world.

Frankly Philadelphia is a bold refresh with a story arc celebrating the city’s past, present, and future. Known for being the epicentre of the American Revolution, the city has inherited an outspoken rhetoric and confidence of generations’ past.

The process began in May 2017 when the PHLCVB contracted Philadelphia-based strategic communications firm Karma Agency, a registered women-owned business enterprise (WBE). Karma laid the groundwork by conducting dozens of internal and external interviews with PHLCVB staff, board members, local stakeholders and customers. During the following eight months, an ideology began to take shape.

Creative assets were rolled out in several stages, beginning in early 2018. A sales video was created to highlight the work of PHL Diversity, a business development division of the PHLCVB. Sales materials, print and digital ads were also developed to compel meeting planners to take action.

A global tourism brochure, translated into eight languages, was created as a key sales tool to reach the organization’s top international markets. In addition, the signature destination video was released in the summer of 2018, providing the basis for sales and marketing presentations in support of both our convention and overseas tourism sales efforts. It is also on display at Philadelphia International Airport, greeting visitors as they travel to and from the city, and will be prominently featured during an upcoming Philadelphia Eagles’ broadcast from Wembley Stadium in London, England.

Caroline Kennedy, President, Karma Agency said, “As a Philadelphia-based agency, we recognized the significance of this project immediately. We were feeling the tectonic shift, as the city passed major tests on the global stage. This campaign is about building toward the future, upon a modern spirit of Philadelphia’s centuries-old can-do attitude. Frankly Philadelphia puts the capabilities of the PHLCVB and the Pennsylvania Convention Center in context of the surprise and delight of Philadelphia’s greatest present-day appeal – culinary prowess, rich arts and culture, history, character and authentic personalities.”

MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf and South Africa has announced that sales for MSC Grandiosa’s maiden voyage departing on November 10, 2019, from Hamburg (Germany) to the Mediterranean are now open exclusively for MSC Voyagers Club members. MSC Grandiosa is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique (formerly, STX France) in Saint-Nazaire, France. She will be the first of two yet again highly-innovative Meraviglia-Plus class ships to come into service, in November 2019. MSC Voyagers Club members will have exclusive access to bookings for a two-week period through October 21.

Guests who will be the first to experience this state-of-the-art cruise ship can choose from a 10 or 13 night sailing, embarking in Hamburg and disembarking in Genoa, Italy or Marseille, France. MSC Grandiosa will also call Southampton, UK, Lisbon, Portugal and Barcelona, Spain. An overnight in each port will allow guests to even more fully explore each of the destinations and will also offer an opportunity for MSC Cruises to invite local travel agents and other partners on board to discover and explore this uniquely beautiful new MSC Cruises ship. Furthermore, MSC Grandiosa will become the Company’s newest flagship: the biggest and richest in features ship yet to be built by MSC Cruises, she will live up to her name, which means magnificence and grandeur.

The MSC Cruises Meraviglia generation of ships – which includes the ground-breaking MSC Meraviglia and the next MSC Cruises’ ship to come into service MSC Bellissima, in March 2019 - is already setting new standards for the cruise industry and is just one of the three brand new highly-innovative prototypes that have been designed by MSC Cruises to bring the cruise guest experience to the next level. MSC Grandiosa will feature, amongst other soon-to-be-announced exciting features, even more public space to enjoy and live this unique ship, brand new and exciting dining options as well as the longest Mediterranean-style promenade at sea and led dome as well as other new features.

The newest MSC Cruises flag-ship will be christened in Hamburg on November 9th, 2019 and will make the maiden voyage to her new home port of Genoa, where she will commence 7-night sailings in the Mediterranean starting on November 23. From October 22 onward, sales of MSC Grandiosa’s maiden voyage will open to all guests.

MSC Grandiosa will bring to her guests, amongst other features, two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea, created exclusively for MSC Cruises guests and these incredible shows cannot be seen anywhere else in the world or at sea! This is part of a long-term and exclusive partnership between

MSC Cruises and Cirque du Soleil, the world leader in artistic entertainment, that will result in a total of eight original shows that will be exclusively available two on each MSC Cruises’ four Meraviglia and Meraviglia-plus class ships. Other MSC Grandiosa highlights include: • The MSC Yacht Club will continue to offer the more discerning cruise guest a luxurious stay in the ship-within-a-ship concept with key features such as the stylish Top Sail lounge, stunning One Pool Deck, private restaurant and 24-hour butler service. • Restaurant options on board include a choice of at least 12 different dining venues, ranging from specialty restaurants to the buffet and serving fresh, authentic food each and every day. A new restaurant concept will be introduced on the Promenade exclusively for MSC Aurea experience guests. • New family activities and entertainment building on the already extensive and award-winning offeringi. The DOREMI Lab will offer new themes each day, while the DOREMI Studio Lounge focusses on allowing children to have fun through the magic of music. This multitude of concepts ensure that children of every age will have an unforgettable holiday at sea.

 An authentic Balinese Spa onboard, offering MSC Cruises guests a massive choice of health and beauty treatments. The MSC Aurea Spa boasts an exotic interior of natural stone, precious woods and rich mosaics, and is equipped with massage and treatment suites, hair and beauty salons and of course a thermal area.

MSC Grandiosa will be the second ship to feature the Zoe – the first cruise digital assistant, designed to provide the guest with a simple and stress-free way to find out information in the comfort of the cabin. Available in 7 languages, this innovative service is the evolution of MSC Cruises’ digital innovation programme MSC For Me designed to connect guests with their cruise experience.

Additionally, on MSC Grandiosa guests will enjoy a variety of possibilities to ensure the best on board entertainment like a Broadway-style theatre, a casino, an amazing sportplex, full-sizeD bowling alley, a Sports’ Bar, F1 simulator and a virtual games arcade.

Travelport has announced a renewed and long-term partnership with Jet Airways. The airline has signed a long-term supplier agreement with Travelport that will be effective from April 2019 and enable online and offline travel agencies around the world to shop, book and manage itineraries for leisure and business travellers using the airline’s extensive network and codeshare alliances.

Effective April 2019, Jet Airways, which operates flights to 66 destinations worldwide - will also deploy Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding, from which over 270 airlines now benefit by displaying graphical content, their fares families and a full range of ancillary products. This means that Travelport will provide the same content as Jet Airways’ direct selling channels.

Travelport has seen a rapid expansion in India and beyond in recent years following the acquisition of business from the largest online travel agencies such as MakeMyTrip, Ibibo, Yatra, EaseMyTrip and ClearTrip as well as working with the major corporate travel agencies and new entrants to the travel sector such as PayTM. In addition to industry-leading airline content, Travelport has also expanded its footprint and capabilities considerably with leading hotel groups and aggregators in India such as Oberoi, Taj, Treebo and Trident.

Damian Hickey, Head of Air-Travel Partners, Travelport said, “Travelport’s commitment to the Indian travel market and the provision of the widest range of content has been further evidenced today with the announcement of this new mutual commitment between Jet Airways and our company beginning April 2019.  Furthermore, our position in the rest of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas -  where Jet Airways services the Indian diaspora, tourists and business people travelling to this amazing country - means that we are able to deliver to them a wide mix of international travellers. This is in addition to the millions of outbound and domestic Indian travellers they serve.”

The Fern Hotels & Resorts, one of India's leading environmentally sensitive hotel chains has opening of The Fern Leo Beach Resort, Madhavpur, Gujarat. This is the only beach resort at Madhavpur beach.

The company already has a very strong presence in Gujarat with nine operational properties. With the opening of The Fern Leo Beach Resort, the number of properties in Gujarat has now gone up to 10. Overall this is the 55th hotel which the company is managing.

Th new property is a mid-scale resort located at Madhavpur beach. Ideal for a beach holiday, the resort offers ten cottages with the highest level of comfort and chic interiors.

Suhail Kannampilly, COO, The Fern Hotels & Resorts said, “Tourists visiting Madhavpur now have a perfect place to stay amidst the tranquil and serene surroundings. It is an unexplored part of the Gujarat coast line and they are going to have a memorable stay at The Fern Leo Beach Resort.”

The Czech Tourist Authority- Czech Tourism along with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi, conducted three city roadshow in New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai recently to promote the unique attractions that Czech Republic the ‘Land of Stories’ has to offer. Air Arabia, the official airline partner for this event participated, along with various Czech partners.

As per the statistics shared by the Czech Republic Authority – CzechTourism, the destination has witnessed a significant rise in Indian arrivals over the years having seen a growth of 128 per cent from 2015-2017. In 2017, Czech Republic welcomed 85,680 Indians, a growth of 27 per cent in Indian arrivals over 2016.

With growing travel aspirations among Indians across demographics, activities such as wine tourism, spa tourism, pristine nature stays have been driving Indian tourists to the Czech Republic.

Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India said, “With the Indian economy growing at a pace no one has seen before, the number of people visiting other countries is skyrocketing. And it’s no surprise that the Czech Republic is very high on the list of countries to visit. We’re extremely happy to see this kind of growth and we believe that thanks to the event like this roadshow we’ll be able to connect the right people to ensure that every holiday in the Czech Republic will be as smooth and well-organised as possible.”

Veronika Janečková, Head of International Markets Management, Czech Tourist Authority – CzechTourism added, “We see India as a promising market; Czech Republic has a lot to offer to the Indian travellers in terms of unexplored destinations and unique experiences. The country hosts a diverse array of natural landscapes that appeal to visitors of every kind – be it architectural lovers or adventure seekers. Through this roadshow, we are able to reach out to new markets and further strengthen our relationship with Indian travel trade partners.”

Speaking on the occasion, Arzan Khambatta, Head, Czech Tourist Authority – CzechTourism India said, “The roadshow has been an excellent platform for Czech tourism partners to network with Indian agents and tour operators. The Indian tourists in the Czech Republic visit not only the capital city of Prague, but also Karlovy Vary and fairy tale town Český Krumlov which is a favourite spot for honeymooners. As Czech Republic continues to be one of the most favoured destinations, we look forward to welcoming more Indians in years to come.”

He further added, “We are promoting the country as a premium destination targeting families, experiential travellers, business tourists, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) honeymooners and leisure travellers.”

Several Bollywood movies such as Rockstar and Jab Harry Met Sejal have been shot in the Czech Republic showcasing the natural beauty of the central European country.



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