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Tourism New Zealand, in the first global campaign of its kind, is leveraging the advocacy and influence of past visitors, travel advisors, New Zealanders, and National Geographic Travel Explorers to encourage those actively considering a trip to New Zealand to plan and book their holiday.
"New Zealand has long been known for its stunning landscapes,” says Stephen England-Hall, Chief Executive, Tourism New Zealand. “What we hear from visitors, however, is that it’s the local people and warm sense of welcome they receive that makes it such a special, memorable place.”
This is often referred to in New Zealand as manaakitanga, an indigenous Māori concept representing a unique style of hospitality, generosity, and kindness.
In a new digital content series from National Geographic Travel, viewers will see and hear from Contributing Editor Heather Greenwood Davis, Photographer Erika Larsen and Illustrator Christoph Niemann as they experience manaakitanga and explore the connections between New Zealand’s people, land, and culture.
“We are thrilled to continue our creative partnership with Tourism New Zealand for the second year,” says Deborah Armstrong, EVP, National Geographic Partners. “We began an exciting digital campaign last year with Bryce Dallas Howard as TNZ’s spokesperson and have now expanded our New Zealand story telling by featuring an illustrator, photographer and family travel expert. Each capturing the spirit of New Zealand and it’s people through their own unique lens and sharing their experiences with our Nat Geo consumers across this global campaign.”
The $1.1 million USD partnership will leverage more than 100 pieces of content across National Geographic Travel’s digital, social, and print properties in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Germany, the U.K., Australia, and India. The five-month campaign will be further amplified across Tourism New Zealand’s digital channels.
In the content, local New Zealanders from Kaikōura, Nelson Tasman, and the Bay of Plenty welcome the visitors and share their personal stories and beliefs of what makes New Zealand so unique. “Last year’s partnership with Bryce Dallas Howard led to an additional 1.5 million U.S. travelers planning and booking travel to New Zealand. We also saw an increase of 11 percent in U.S. visitor spend, so we are confident this kind of quality influencer marketing is working. By weaving in the trade element and sharing the story of our people and culture, we’re very optimistic about this campaign’s potential to bring visitors to our shores,” says England-Hall.
According to a study released by Cox & Kings, the demand for overseas vacations has soared up by 22 per cent while domestic holidays have surged by 20 per cent. As most of the holiday bookings are done 2-3 months in advance, those who wish to go for an international vacations in April-May have already started zeroing on their travel destinations.
Just like the past couple of years, Europe is top trending destination (all-inclusive group tour starting from INR 72143 only) followed by Far East (INR 58110), South Africa (INR 149999) and Egypt (INR 62324). For Europe, South Africa and Australia/New Zealand (INR 164582) mostly group tours are preferred as it makes the holiday pocket-friendly. Whereas for Far East, travellers prefer both- group and individual tours depending on their convenience.
Most of the family travellers prefer group itineraries that are all inclusive. The most popular family attractions in Europe include Euro Disney Park, Asterix Park (France), Kuekenhof, Volendam (Netherlands), river cruises in Paris, Amsterdam, Venice and cable car rides at Aiguille Du Midi/ Mount Titlis. The European regions that are high on demand are Mount Cox & Kings and Glacier 3000 in Switzerland, Chamonix in France, Rome, Venice (Italy) Salzburg, Innsbruck (Austria) and Berlin, Stuttgart (Germany).
However, well-heeled travellers are showing keen interest in exotic destinations like Cambodia, Greece, Turkey, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania. Freestyle cruises in Singapore are grabbing the attention of Indian travellers this year as well. In addition to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, budget travellers are also seem interested in Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka being closer to the home country.
This year more number of travellers are seeking for easy EMI option especially for international holidays. Easy EMI option is making the dream of overseas vacation come true for many middle class Indian families.
In the domestic market Himachal, Sikkim-Darjeeling, Bhutan, Ladakh and Kerala are picking up the most. There is also a demand for 100 per cent veg kitchen group tours from vegetarian travellers. The tours offer tasty vegetarian food varieties prepared by specially appointed Maharaj (Chef).
Airbus has opened a training centre for commercial pilots and maintenance engineers in the National Capital Region of Delhi. The facility will complement Airbus India’s training centre in Bengaluru which has trained more than 4,500 maintenance engineers since its inception in 2007.
Airbus forecasts a need for more than 25,000 new pilots in India over the next 20 years to keep pace with the current double-digit growth in its commercial aviation industry.
The training centre incorporates an A320 flight simulator for full-flight simulation, along with programmes on aircraft procedure training, computer-based classroom training, and standard pilot transition training, including an ‘Upgrade to Command’ course aimed at improving skills and maturity of co-pilots as they transition to commandership.
Anand E. Stanley, President and Managing Director, Airbus India & South Asia said, “Providing a robust training infrastructure to support our customers’ businesses is a priority for us. One pillar of our customer services mission is proximity to the customer, and another one is safety. In that respect, having a training centre located in the country is proof of our commitment towards both.”
Globally, Airbus has a comprehensive and highly customised training programme, aimed at pilots, maintenance crew and engineers.
Michael Chemouny, Head of Training Services, Airbus Commercial Aircraft said, “The new training centre in India is part of our worldwide development plan to address the growing demand for pilots. Over 500,000 new pilots will be required worldwide over the next 20 years. Our increasing footprint also aims at providing service closer to airline customers.”
The new Regent Seven Seas Cruises luxury ship celebrated a major construction milestone last weekend as she floated from the building dry dock to touch the sea for the first time. Now buoyant at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Ancona, Italy, final-stage construction on Seven Seas Splendor will focus on her interior spaces including 375 lavish suites, elegant lounges and gourmet restaurants that will all represent luxury perfected. The fifth ship in Regent’s fleet sets sail in February 2020.
“One year from now, guests will begin immersing themselves in elegance and hospitality, while fully discovering the hundreds of destinations around the world Seven Seas Splendor travels, returning home at day’s end to the exquisite comfort and care on board with every luxury included,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “I’m excited for our guests to experience how Seven Seas Splendor will perfect luxury.”
At approximately 55,000 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, Seven Seas Splendor will boast one of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry. She features the Regent Suite, which will be the largest suite constructed on a luxury cruise ship with more than 3,000 square-feet of interior accommodations and a 1,300 square-foot wraparound veranda with all luxury facilities.
OYO Hotels & Homes has announced the start of its operations in Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the Saudi-Indian Forum. OYO welcomes King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and his delegation of reputed leaders from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who are travelling to India. Reiterating its commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, OYO also signed an MoU with the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia attesting to the business potential it sees in the market.
Starting with over 50 signed full-inventory - franchised exclusive hotels and over 3,000 rooms in 7 cities in Saudi, OYO Hotels is ready to offer the benefits of its full-stack technology led hospitality model to hoteliers in the country. These properties will be operated under the franchise model, with full inventory control similar to other markets like India and China; provide affordable and trusted living options for travelers from GCC countries, India and other International tourists, including business and pilgrimage travelers.
OYO’s presence now expands to 9 countries, i.e. India, Nepal, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, UAE, UK, Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Commenting on OYO’s entry into the Saudi Arabia, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Ibrahim bin Abdul Rahman Al-Omar, said, “It is also noteworthy that OYO is one of the first Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Vision Fund backed company to start operations successfully in Saudi Arabia, with the support of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Public Investment Fund and Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority (SAGIA). The company obtained its foreign investment license from SAGIA a few months ago and plans to invest significantly in Saudi Arabia, and expand to over 17 cities across 6 provinces by 2020.”
Commenting on the developments, Ritesh Agarwal, Group CEO and Founder, OYO Hotels & Homes, said, “We believe OYO hotels is re-engineering quality living spaces for the world and has emerged as the dependable hospitality brand of choice. We are humbled and happy to bring this standardized quality experience to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where millions of people undertake the pilgrimage of a lifetime.”
The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC) and Singapore's largest multi-specialty group FeM Surgery joined hands to bring wholesome medical assistance to the pilgrims of Kumbh. With free medical camps set up at Sangam Nivas Camp, Sector 16, Jhusi at Kumbh in Pragyaraj, the duo has reached out to more than 700 pilgrims including the local population. Started on 18th Feb, the medical drive culminated on 19th Feb.
Speaking about the initiative Dhun Cordo, co-founder, TUTC said," The Ultimate Luxury Camp is not only about glamping but its unwavering commitment to sustainability. While we bring Kumbh in an exquisite setting to the discerning travellers from around the world, we acknowledge our responsibility towards the ground realities. Over 700 persons attended the camp in two days conveys the overwhelming response to our initiative. We remain committed to giving back wherever we operate across India"
TUTC and FeM Surgery Group spread the word in the nearby villages through flyers and banners put up at Kumbh's important locations. Besides pilgrims, villagers from the nearby areas attended the camp. Noting that most beneficiaries hail from lesser privileged background, the international medical team ensured that the prescribed medicines are easily available.
Full-service carrier Vistara has announced the addition of Raipur as its 23rd destination. Effective 31 March 2019, Vistara will operate double daily flights between Delhi and Raipur, providing a convenient same-day return option to travellers from both cities, along with convenient one-stop connections between Raipur and Amritsar, Chandigarh, Srinagar, Jammu, Lucknow and Varanasi. Bookings are now open on all direct and indirect channels at an introductory all-inclusive one way fare in Economy Class starting INR 2698.
Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara, said, “We’re delighted to start operations in one of India’s fastest growing states, Chhattisgarh, with double daily flights to and from its capital city, Raipur. Vistara offers three classes of travel including India’s only Premium Economy class, and a level of service designed to attract discerning customers looking for better travel options. Travellers from Raipur travelling to and from international destinations via Delhi will also benefit from seamless same terminal domestic-international transfers at Delhi’s T3, from where Vistara operates.”
MakeMyTrip has launched travel finance for customers to avail credit facilities of up to two lakhs to book flights, hotels, holidays or international travel. The customers will be able to pay back in easy monthly instalments of up to nine months at zero interest and with zero down payment. Currently, this is an ‘invite only’ programme with selected customers having to complete a two-step registration process to be assigned a credit limit to make travel purchases. The program will be rolled out for 10 million eligible customers in the first phase.
MMT Travel Finance is a zero cost program with no hidden charges, no interest and zero down payment at the time of travel booking. The credit limit is assigned basis customers transaction pattern on MakeMyTrip and credit bureau record check done for interested customers. The process to seek MMT Travel Finance approval takes less than 30 seconds on the MakeMyTrip App which is followed by credit line activation after requisite KYC norms are fulfilled. MakeMyTrip has launched this facility by partnering with leading digital lending platform Capital Float.
Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder & CEO India, MakeMyTrip said, “There is a significant gap in demand and supply in consumer lending space in India. As India’s one stop travel shop, we have the capability to deploy advanced machine learning and big data analytics to offer easy travel finance options and help customers cut through time-consuming paperwork to sanction and process credit. This tech-powered credit solution will help fulfil the need for access to credit for a large numbers of unserved or underserved customers.”
Sashank Rishyasringa, Co-founder, Capital Float said, “We are excited by the potential of our partnership with MakeMyTrip as it is a first-of-its-kind travel financing in India. With this product, we have retained an excellent customer experience at the core of the offering, as customers can avail zero cost travel finance from Capital Float with just a few clicks. We are thrilled to continue expanding upon our DNA of being a disruptor in the Fintech space. We’ve presently pre-approved nearly 10 million customers and look forward to financing the requests of millions more on MakeMyTrip.”
The gap between demand and supply in consumer lending space is narrowing thanks to technological advancements that enables digitisation of operations. The company plans to scale up the feature across all its business lines and also roll it out on its travel platform Goibibo.
The best time for Indian travelers to book for holiday destinations is two months in advance, reveals a survey by leading travel search engine KAYAK. According to KAYAK’s latest 2019 ‘Best Time To Book’ from India travel guide, the best time for Indian travellers to avail the best deals on airfare are on Wednesdays at 8:30 AM. By making advance bookings of two months for international trips and two weeks for domestic travel, they can save anywhere from 10 per cent to 47 per cent .
Based on KAYAK’s data, it is revealed that March is the cheapest month for quick getaways to destinations like Dubai, Bali and Hong Kong, if booked two to three months in advance. For travels within India, travellers can save anywhere between 26 per cent to 37 per cent by planning a trip for July to southern regions like Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad and Port Blair.
The survey also reports that domestic destinations like Goa, New Delhi and Mumbai; and international locations like Bangkok, Dubai and Singapore are the most searched destinations by Indian travellers.
KAYAK’s data and analysis also reveal that the best way to save on flight cost is not necessarily by booking early in advance - rather, knowing the right time to book is more important. In fact, savings are not limited to only Asian destinations: some popular long-haul destinations like New York, London, Toronto and Moscow, where Indian travellers can book with at lower price if they book 1.5 – 2.5 months in advance.
Abhijit Mishra, Regional Director of KAYAK India & the Middle East said, “KAYAK looked through it historical data collected from the past two years to draw together our findings in the 2019 “Best Time to Book” from India travel guide. We hope that the guide will serve as a helpful reference for Indian travellers when planning travel to their top international and domestic destinations.”
The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) has announced the launch of “Ama Trails & Stays”, the first branded product in the homestay market in India. Ama Trails & Stays are a group of heritage bungalows, guesthouses and homestays at unique locations across the country. The Company signed a management contract for nine heritage bungalows with Tata Coffee in Coorg and Chikmagalur and is adding two of its own bungalows in Goa by mid next year under the AMA umbrella.
“IHCL has launched Ama Trails & Stays in response to evolving guest needs for local, immersive and authentic experiences. We are delighted to partner with Tata Coffee for the first collection of plantation trails leveraging Tata Group synergies. With India’s rich diversity we are confident that we will be able to scale this product to the first 100 units before the end of 2020 and bring distinctive offerings for our guests across the Indian sub-continent.” said Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IHCL.
Ama Plantation Trails comprise nine bungalows. Eight are located in and around the idyllic coffee estate of Pollibetta in Coorg set amidst 20,000 lush acres. One is a few hours’ drive in scenic Chikmagalur. Secluded in close communion with nature with stunning views, they are original plantation bungalows with contemporary conveniences. Guests have a choice of taking a tour of the plantation, go birding with the region’s 300 bird species or play golf. Ama Homestays will commence operations with two units in Candolim, Goa.
“We are delighted to partner with IHCL with its 115 years of history of hospitality. This association will bring a new, authentic offering for travellers looking for offbeat experiences in the realms of nature.” said Sanjiv Sarin, MD & CEO, Tata Coffee Ltd.
The guests will be able to earn and burn loyalty points through the Taj InnerCircle Loyalty Programme. Bookings open effective March 1, 2019.
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