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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Lords Hotels and Resorts has added a new property in Karjat. Karjat, a hill station near Mumbai is incredibly popular among tourists for its natural beauty, lush green valleys, and monumental entrancing temples. 

The resort which sprawls over 22 Acers of land features fully furnished 30 duplex villas & 42 studio apartments equipped with kitchenette, sofa cum bed and sit out area.

Guest can experience more than 25 range of amenities and recreation facilities like Indoor games, Spa Centre, Children’s play area, Life Size Chess play area, Jogging track, Swimming pool, Rain dance, Volley ball play area in beach, Turf Cricket Zone, Archery Zone, Open Gym area, Yoga room to mention a few. Sustainable organic plantation in an ecological 1 Acer farm can also be explored. The multicuisine restaurant, café, bar cum discotheque and pool side barbeque will serve up a culinary experience that's not just deliciously divine but also delightfully varied. Lush green open lawn with a capacity of accommodating 2000 guests is an ideal venue for dream destination wedding.

Pushpendra Bansal, COO, Lords Hotels and Resorts, said, “We are happy to expand our presence further in the state of Maharashtra. The property will be opening soon with all the precautionary measures for splendid stay experience.  Karjat is an ideal destination for weekend getaways, family holidays, corporate meetings and social gatherings and we look forward to welcome our guests at Lords.” 

Rishi Puri, Sr. Vice President, Lords Hotels and Resorts, added, “It is first of its kind luxury offering in the scenic location of Karjat. We are excited to deliver our True Value service to our discerning guests.”

Sabre Corporation and Akbar Travels have announced a new long-term, strategic partnership agreement to further expand Sabre’s footprint in the Indian subcontinent while driving operational efficiencies to increase productivity and profitability for Akbar.

Under the extended and expanded agreement, Sabre will continue to be Akbar’s preferred global distribution (GDS) partner in India, ensuring that the firm, which is the largest travel company in India in terms of IATA-approved branches, staff numbers and business turnover, can continue to access real-time, rich content from hundreds of thousands of airlines, hoteliers and other travel providers through Sabre’s intuitive Sabre Red 360 interface.

In addition to this latest renewal, Akbar and Sabre will also be working more closely together through the appointment of software company Benzy Infotech, a 100 per cent subsidiary of the Akbar Group, as Sabre’s partner for 15 states in India to promote and develop Sabre’s business in these markets and strengthen its presence across the Indian subcontinent.

This new announcement from Sabre and Akbar follows an earlier deal enhancement last year when Akbar selected Sabre’s Content Services for Lodging (CSL) APIs to enable its agents to more easily shop, compare and book more than a million lodging options for clients.

KV Abdul Nazar, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director, Akbar Group, said, “For many years, Akbar has utilized a broad portfolio of Sabre technology and solutions to leverage growth, streamline operations, expand our geographic reach and differentiate our own services within our markets. So, we’re not only delighted to continue to benefit from Sabre’s robust and scalable solutions but also proud to build on our successful, shared history by further extending Sabre’s world-class products and services in the Indian subcontinent through the new partnership agreement between our subsidiary Benzy and Sabre.”

Todd Arthur, Vice President, Agency Sales, Asia Pacific, Sabre Travel Solutions, said, “Our new agreement and renewal with Akbar is testament to their confidence in Sabre’s technological solutions. There’s no question about the extent to which the entire travel ecosystem has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic. However, what is also not in any doubt is the commitment of both Sabre and Akbar Travels to continue to invest in technological innovation for the future of our companies, our shared relationship and the recovery and growth of the travel industry as a whole in the Indian subcontinent and beyond.”

Marriott International announced that Anthony “Tony” Capuano has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and has joined the company’s Board of Directors, effective immediately.

He was previously Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services. The Board of Directors also announced that Stephanie Linnartz, previously Group President, Consumer Operations, Technology and Emerging Businesses, has been appointed President, effective immediately. Capuano’s and Linnartz’s appointments follow the unexpected passing of Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson on February 15, 2021.

“Tony has played a critical role in Marriott’s growth over the last decade,” said J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, Marriott International.

“He will be a terrific leader as we continue to advance our growth strategy while also navigating the market dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. He works thoughtfully and pragmatically with our owner and franchisee community and has been steadfast in ensuring Marriott delivers operational excellence and elevated customer experiences at our properties. Tony has a deep appreciation for Marriott’s thousands of associates who ultimately deliver on our customer and brand promise and I know he will be a superb steward of our culture. Together with Stephanie in the role of President, and the rest of our exceptional leadership team, Marriott could not be in better hands,” Marriott said.

“I am honored to be appointed to take the helm of Marriott, but it is a bittersweet moment,” said Capuano. “Arne was a mentor, a champion and a friend to each member of his close-knit leadership team. It is because of Arne’s efforts that we are prepared to move forward with this transition. Together, we will advance the strategy we have in place, which is laser-focused on recovery, expansion, providing opportunities for our associates, maintaining constructive relationships with our owners and franchisees, delivering safe and innovative experiences for our guests and customers, and building value for our shareholders.”

American Airlines and Amadeus have announced that they’ve renewed their content distribution agreement, continuing to make the airline’s flights and services available to Amadeus-powered travel agencies and corporations around the world via the Amadeus Travel Platform.

Included in the agreement is New Distribution Capability (NDC)-enabled content from American Airlines that will go live globally in the Amadeus Travel Platform in the coming months. This new content will equip travel advisors to purchase a Main Plus offer, which includes a Main Cabin Extra or Preferred Seat along with an additional free checked bag and Group 5 boarding privileges. This new feature will be for all NDC-enabled agencies booking travel on any American-operated flight.

This marks a significant milestone for both companies as they’ve worked hand-in-hand in recent years to make enhanced content via NDC an industry reality at scale and beneficial to all parties involved in buying and selling airline travel. Today’s agreement seals American Airlines and Amadeus’ collaboration for years to come.

Neil Geurin, Managing Director of Digital and Distribution, American Airlines, said, “This achievement marks the beginning of a new way for us to engage with our customers. Thanks to the successful implementation of this new technology, we’re able to create more personalized travel offers and services for our passengers. We look forward to working with Amadeus’ global travel seller network to introduce this new travel retailing capability into the marketplace.”

Javier Laforgue, Executive Vice President, Airlines Distribution and Content Sourcing, Amadeus, said, “We are thrilled to deepen our longstanding partnership with American Airlines. This latest deal ensures American’s extensive offering, including the latest content via NDC, is delivered to our vast travel seller network. While the travel industry has been tested these past many months, with still more challenges to come, today marks a major milestone in our NDC journey as we continue to expand the number of airlines and travel agencies that are ready to partner with Amadeus in NDC. NDC is one of many enablers in the larger vision of enhanced travel retailing, but it is a critical one, coming to market at exactly the time our industry needs it, and helping to drive recovery.”

As the saying goes, content is king, and American Airlines will provide enhanced content and functionality to deliver greater choice for travelers, and new selling experiences for travel agencies. Delivering this experience is the Amadeus Travel Platform, a robust technology platform based on fully open systems with the broadest range of global travel content.

The Amadeus Travel Platform is the backbone to multiple front-end solutions, including Amadeus Selling Platform Connect, Amadeus Travel API and Amadeus cytric Travel & Expense, all with cross-channel compatibility so travel sellers and buyers can easily shop, sell and service unique offers from American Airlines. It delivers critical post-booking servicing capabilities like cancellations, voids and voluntary and involuntary changes, and full, end-to-end integration of the airline’s NDC-enabled content into the travel agency ecosystem, fostering fast adoption for the carrier and ease of use for travel agencies.

Travelport today launched a bold and distinct new visual identity, which has been created as part of the company’s first ever end-to-end rebrand.

“Travelport has transformed”, said Greg Webb, Chief Executive Officer. “We are now fully focused on what we do best — connecting buyers and sellers that share our passion for delivering exceptional travel experiences. We are also embracing our strengths — our agility, our independence and our ability to make the bold long-term decisions needed to simplify travel’s complex ecosystem.

“Our new brand reflects all this — who we’ve become, through our investments in the right people, products and technology and our vision for the future, as we get ready for a year of significant advances for Travelport. We’re proud to show it to the world today and are looking forward to following it up very soon with the launch our next-generation platform, which will change the game in travel retailing.”

Travelport’s rebrand was overseen by Greg Webb and Chief Marketing Officer, Jen Catto, who joined the company in September 2020.

“This is a holistic rebrand”, said Catto. “While we’ve kept the essence of what makes Travelport great, we’ve refined our vision, what we stand for, how we act, how we look and how we market  our business. Most importantly, this is a new promise we’re making to our customers; we’ll work harder for you than anyone else to build a better, simpler and smarter future for travel retailing.”

Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Operating Officer at  InterGlobe  Technology  Quotient  added  about the rebranding, “To bring a refreshing change in today’s testing times shows the extent Travelport is willing to go to empower travel enablers and add thrust to the travel ecosystem. Indeed, this is just the beginning of the bright future that awaits, in terms of futuristic technology, products and services that enhance travel trade and retailing at large.”

IHG Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s leading hotel companies has announced the debut of its extended stay brand, Staybridge Suites in India with the signing of Staybridge Suites Bengaluru Thanisandra. Signed as a management agreement in partnership with NR Greenwood Construction, the hotel is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.

Staybridge Suites is IHG’s upscale extended stay hotel brand which offers amenities such as a fully equipped kitchen in suites, a dedicated outdoor space, daily complimentary hot breakfast with signature items and an evening social event three nights a week. The brand is thoughtfully designed with extended stay guests in mind.

A perfect destination for both business and leisure travelers, Staybridge Suites Bengaluru Thanisandra will offer a residential-style of hotel experience with 170 suites featuring kitchenettes and will be designed for multi-night business and leisure travelers looking to break from the travel norm while on the road, be it for days or even months at a time. Additionally, the hotel will feature two meeting rooms, a 300 sqm dining room, and will provide facilities such as a business centre and a gym, with overall guest experience being enhanced through IHG’s signature hospitality.

Sudeep Jain, Managing Director, South West Asia, IHG, said, “We are delighted to expand our portfolio in the country and introduce our global long stay brand, Staybridge Suites, to the Indian market. The thriving corporate sector in Bengaluru and limited hospitality options for long stay travelers presents strong prospects for the success of the new hotel and will also pave the way for brand’s expansion in other cities.”

He further added, “This latest development is testament to our continued commitment to grow our footprint in India by bringing the right brands to the right markets at the right time. We are pleased with the confidence our owners have placed in our business and brands, and we look forward to further strengthening our portfolio in the country to offer exceptional hospitality options to our guests.”

C Sridhar, Managing Director, NR Greenwood Construction, added,” With this signing, we are pleased to venture into the Indian hotel sector and partner with a reputed hospitality player like IHG, which makes us confident in the success of this project. Bengaluru is the most sought-after destination in the corporate and IT landscape in India, and is therefore a perfect fit for a brand like Staybridge Suites. We are confident that the hotel will be well-received by the guests upon its opening in early 2023.”

IHG currently has 42 hotels operating across five brands in SWA, including Six Senses, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn , Holiday Inn Resort and Holiday Inn Express, and a strong pipeline of 54 hotels due, to open in the next 2-3 years.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects its digital Covid Travel Pass will be ready for use “within weeks”. The pass - which was originally unveiled in December - is designed to verify a passenger has had the Covid-19 tests or vaccines required to enter a country. It also verifies they were administered by an approved authority.

The industry body sees the pass as essential for reopening air travel, as many countries still have strict restrictions or quarantines in place.

Vinoop Goel, Regional Director of Airports and External Relations, IATA said, “The key issue is one of confidence. Passengers need to be confident that the testing they have taken is accurate and will allow them to enter the country. Then governments need to have the confidence that the tests that the passengers claim to have is one which is accurate and meets their own conditions.”

IATA said the Travel Pass – which it is preparing alongside Etihad and a number of other carriers - is designed in a modular way, so that it can work with other digital solutions that are being trialled around the world.

British Airways, for example, is working on a separate, but compatible, VeriFLY solution. IATA said the Travel Pass will be available on iOS and Android platforms and is expected to be free to passengers.

Nick Careen, Senior Vice President, Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, IATA, said, “We are building the IATA Travel Pass with one aim - to help reconnect our world safely. IATA has brought advancements in global standards like e-ticketing and mobile boarding passes to consumers in all parts of the world. This unique capability demonstrates that we can work with industry and governments to re-shape travel processes based on global standards.”

Runway emergency handling capabilities at Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB/ BLR Airport) received a boost with the installation of Disabled Aircraft Recovery Equipment. This makes BLR Airport the first in India and South Asia to own the state-of-the-art kit that will enable faster resumption of operations during aircraft incidents on the runways.

The Kunz GmbH-manufactured recovery kit was virtually inaugurated and commissioned by Hari Marar, MD & CEO, BIAL, in the presence of Andreas Fuge, MD, Kunz Gmbh, Milan R Zatakia, MD & Chairman, Millennium Aero Dynamics.

Marar said, “The acquisition of this aircraft recovery equipment is an important milestone for us at BLR Airport. Being prepared is the key to running a high-performance airport. This is not only important for the Airport, but also for the entire aviation ecosystem as a whole.”

The transportable kit is capable of recovering the world’s largest passenger aircraft, Airbus A380, in addition to all other aircraft during an aircraft incident on the runway, ensuring that runway closure is minimised. Disabled aircraft on the runway have the potential to cripple airport operations, resulting in flight delays, diversions and loss of revenue for both airlines as well as airport operators. The effective recovery of all types of disabled aircraft in the movement area addresses key risks and ensures that operations, business continuity and organisational resilience remain unaffected. 

In 2020, BIAL signed an agreement with Kunz GmbH to manufacture, supply, commission and maintain the specialised equipment. As part of this agreement, KUNZ GmbH will work with BIAL to establish a centre for disabled aircraft recovery training, making BLR Airport the first in the region to have such a facility.

Under the scope of this agreement, BIAL has constituted a Task Force that will undergo extensive hands-on training – both at BLR Airport as well as at KUNZ GmbH’s state-of-the-art recovery training facility in Germany. Additionally, a Quick Response Recovery Team (QRRT) will be formed and imparted with technical knowledge, enabling them to respond to critical situations.

The kit, with multiple components, and customised according to BLR Airport’s requirement, includes ground preparation tools, aircraft lifting, de-bogging, tethering, towing, and all other associated aspects of both narrow- and wide-body aircraft.

The pandemic induced total rout of tourism has made the forthcoming IATO election the single most important in its four decades of history. Members need to keep sight of the big picture.

In the 40 odd years of IATO’s existence, this is going to be its biggest election. Never the industry was tested like this. My guess is members will vote markedly different than before. Smokescreens shouldn’t be a bigger factor this time around. Covid has surely sharpened our capacity to see through speeches and intentions.

Anyway, whoever wins must lay greatest emphasis in effectively lobbying to bring synergy amongst the different Government departments or ministries like tourism, commerce, external affairs, finance, forest & environment, etc. etc. An uphill task indeed, but we need to relentlessly persist in this endeavor.

In fact, what prompts me to write this is a TV discussion last evening on the forthcoming visit of Ethiopian Finance Minister. The Ethiopian officials, in the debate, showed greater interest and confidence in establishing closer business and other strategic ties with India than China. Their only feedback was that our departments need greater synergy. The same applies for the robust growth of inbound tourism that we all aspire for, for our country and our businesses.

We will need to reach out to the like-minded people in the government, well-prepared and with convincing arguments. Effective marketing and promotion overseas, efficient public-private coordination and use of resources, adequate budgetary allocation, exciting MDA schemes, right policy support, deserved recognition like getting tourism exports to be treated at par with merchandise exports, incentives and schemes like SEIS, RoDTEP etc. to be availed through Ministry of Commerce, greater recognition of inbound tour operators, and many more issues can be solved in no time.  

As and when achieved, this will open India to international tourism like never before. We have the capacity to not just double but treble the FTA (Foreign Tourist Arrival) numbers to India in five to six years. Besides the huge socio-economic benefits for the country, this means that we are also talking of greater dividends for tour operators and doubling or trebling our (IATO members) own numbers and businesses in the foreseeable future!

By Sarab Jit Singh, MD, Travelite (India), Founder & Former Vice Chairman, FAITH, Former Sr. Vice President, IATO and Founder & Former President, ITTA. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of T3 and T3 does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)


Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, is all set to launch a new, educational webinar series in India entitled, “Rediscover the USA.” The three-part series webinars are scheduled on March 10 (East Coast Explorations), March 17 (Central – USA Adventures) and March 31 (West Coast Getaways).

These webinars are aimed at updating Indian travel trade’s knowledge of U.S. destinations and experiences.

“We are delighted to once again engage with our Indian travel trade partners to help them create new, varied experiences for clients visiting the USA. The ‘Rediscover the USA’ webinar series will also give the Indian travel trade community an opportunity to interact with various destination management companies (DMCs) in the United States to learn about their latest product range, along with their on-ground service offerings,” says Jackie Ennis, vice president, global markets for Brand USA.

Rediscover the USA will offer extensive information on diverse local experiences that will assist the travel trade with enriching their itineraries and offerings.



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