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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Kerala today launched work on the Rs 100-crore Travancore Heritage Project to conserve and showcase the cultural richness and tangible legacy of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom and make the visit to the state capital and its surroundings a more riveting experience.

Inaugurating the work, State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said Kerala Tourism is making a major stride by presenting before the world the heritage and legacy of Travancore. The project is conceived in such a way that it will provide a complete experience to the visitors, he said.

The tourism sector in Kerala has been passing through its severest crisis for the last three years. However, the Government made its best efforts to turn adversities into opportunities. In 2018-19 the state recorded its highest revenue from tourism. The newly launched projects are expected to make the tourism sector more productive and attractive, Surendran added.

Offering felicitations on the occasion, Minister for Ports, Archives and Archaeology, Ramachandran Kadannappally, said the project would make a visit to the state capital more attractive. He expressed his appreciation for bringing the Archaeology and Museum Department also within the ambit of the project.

The launch of the project is the result of an effort to firmly mark the rich heritage of Travancore on the world tourism map, said Rani George IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism. The realisation of the project would enable the visitors to delve into the history and culture of the erstwhile Travancore princely state, she said.

Tourism Director P Bala Kiran said that a slew of projects with a total outlay of Rs 450 crore are being implemented in Thiruvananthapuram district alone. The Travancore Heritage Project is the most prominent among them, he added.

The Travancore Heritage Project (THP) seeks to preserve old-world looks of the vintage structures. The first phase involves illuminating 30 heritage structures of the city to give them a greater visual appeal in the evenings. In the next stage, another 20 structures will be illuminated, and each heritage building would be maintained like a museum, he said.

Krishna Teja, MD, KTDC and Shri S Abu, Director, Dept of Museums & Zoos, Govt of Kerala were also present at the occasion.

Travancore Heritage Project overall, covers heritage structures from Padmanabhapuram Palace, now in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, to the Parthasarathy temple on the banks of the Pampa in Aranmula of Pathanamthitta district.

Mystifly, one of the leading companies in airline retailing, has partnered with OKR software platform, Profit.co to increase workplace productivity and accelerate business growth. OKR(Objectives and Key Results) software helps organisations drive individual and team focus, productivity and performance. Integration of Profit.co’s OKR services will enable Mystifly to boost employee efficiency by bringing transparency, leverage better communication and maintaining a proper workflow across different teams.

Profit.co’s OKR software has been deployed across Mystifly’s departments including client account management, supply management, product, technology, finance and human resources. The software is currently being used by over 50 functional and departmental heads in leadership positions.

Pawan Kesarwani, CFO, Mystifly, said, “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that organisations need to be more agile than ever. This epidemic has brought out the biggest weakness of a company, which is to effectively manage remote work. Implementation of OKR software has helped us transition and learn how to become productive while working remotely. We are glad to partner with Profit.co and implement their OKR software for performance management and seamless business execution. Their user friendly and intuitive software has allowed us to successfully evaluate work goals, track progress and prioritize tasks in an efficient and transparent manner.”

Senthil Rajagopalan, President, Profit.co, said, “We’re happy to partner with Mystify and assist them towards achieving their company goals and drive meaningful business performance. We had a seamless integration while setting up our framework for Mystifly and we are confident that our platform will help them drive continuous data-driven business & employee improvement.”

To celebrate the successful completion of one year of its 6E Rewards credit card, IndiGo, India’s leading airline, has announced additional benefits for its ‘6E Rewards’ credit card holders. The members will get guaranteed benefits on every spend of Rs. 4000. Furthermore, IndiGo has also collaborated with various brands including INOX cinemas, Accor Hotels, Hamleys, Puma, LionsGate Play to provide guaranteed benefits to the Card holders.

IndiGo is also running a contest for its credit card members where people have to spend using ‘6E Rewards’ Credit Card and share their experience on social media by tagging IndiGo with a post titled ‘How I saved money with 6E Rewards #6ERewardsTurnsone’. By just spending, members will be eligible for a lucky draw to win Sony wireless headphones, Apple MacBook Pro and 25 lucky winners will get couple return air tickets to their preferred destination. The contest is being run on IndiGo’s website starting February 1 and will continue till February 28.

6E Rewards is also inviting the members with their companions to the birthday celebration at different locations like Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The event includes unlimited food and drinks followed by a laughter show by a stand-up comedian Sundeep Sharma hosted by IndiGo, HDFC Bank, Mastercard and Accor hotels.

William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We introduced ‘Ka-ching’ Credit Card with a lot of enthusiasm in partnership with HDFC Bank and Mastercard, to elevate the customer experience with IndiGo. Over the last year, we have added to our kitty of collaborations for earning accelerated 6E Rewards on the Ka-ching card from spends at hotels, salons, car rentals and pharmacies, in order to ensure that our customers get enhanced value on every spend. We are excited to indulge our customers with contests and supplementary rewards to celebrate the occasion. We are really thrilled as Ka-ching turns one and there was no better way to revel this milestone than with our loyal customers, as we strive to enhance their experience with IndiGo.”

In February 2020, IndiGo partnered with India’s leading bank HDFC Bank to launch its first travel credit card - ‘Ka-ching’ - powered by Mastercard. Launched in two variants, 6E Rewards and 6E Rewards XL, Ka-ching was introduced with the vision of providing a richer travel experience with varied benefits and unmatched rewards to the card-holders keen on domestic and international travel. The credit cards allow customers to accrue accelerated 6E Rewards on IndiGo transactions and also earn additional 10-15% 6E Rewards on dining, shopping, transport, medical bill spends with Featured Partners. In addition to 14 travel and lifestyle benefits, the card also provides access to priority check-in, choice of seat, and a complimentary meal. Card holders can avail Mastercard concierge services, airport limousine service and enjoy premium benefits and savings on hotels, car rentals and flight bookings.

The year 2020 started with high hopes of reaching two million tourist arrivals, as Maldives completed 2019 with a record-breaking amount of 1.7 million tourists for the first time. The month of January was triumphant as Maldives recorded a 14 per cent increase in tourist arrivals as opposed to the previous year. With this laying the foundation for another victorious year, the country was anticipating a successful year ahead. However, it was disrupted by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in border closure and ceasing of flight operations.

The lockdown began and Maldives immediately began adapting to the new situation, and the government and tourism industry got together to brainstorm and project the course of the pandemic. The operational efforts were adjusted to evolving situations and the process of preparing for the reopening of borders initiated in phases.

On 15th July 2020, Maldives reopened its borders to tourists of all nationalities with the reopening of several resorts and liveaboards. Guesthouses also resumed operations on October 15, 2020. Currently, there is no mandatory quarantine for arrival but all tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to departure and submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted maximum 96 hours prior to departure to Maldives.

The reopening of borders brought about a lot of challenges but President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih made the solid decision to do so after careful consideration, and the implementation of several stringent health and safety measures in the country. All tourist establishments are required to follow the guideline given by the Ministry of Tourism and the local Health Protection Agency, HPA.

Maldives was one of the first countries to reopen its borders and even during such unprecedented times, the tourism industry remained vigilant and worked towards increasing tourist arrival numbers. In this regard, 2020 ended with the celebration of over 500,000 tourist arrivals for the year, and over 100,000 tourist arrivals since the reopening of borders.

On 4th February 2021, a total of 102,107 tourist arrivals were recorded. According to the Ministry of Tourism, 10,004 arrivals were from 1st to 4th February, with a daily average of 2,501 arrivals. The top source market for tourist arrivals is Russia, followed by India and Ukraine. Other top source markets include Kazakhstan, Romania, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Czech Republic and United States.

Currently, there are over 140 resorts and over 330 guesthouses in operation, along with over 135 liveaboards and 11 hotels. There are 27 airlines connecting Maldives to the rest of the world.

On 1st February 2021, Maldives commenced the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed were two of the first to receive their first doses of vaccine, along with other government officials, and frontline workers. The vaccine was administered at a special ceremony held at the Male’ Social Center to launch the COVID-19 vaccinations in Maldives. Vaccines are to be initially administered in Male’ City, Addu City and in Kulhudhuffushi.

President Ibrahim Solih stated that the government aims to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all citizens and residents of Maldives, in the coming months, and also emphasized on the importance of individual responsibility and caution even during this time of renewed hope.

With the commencement of vaccination, up until 6th February 2021, 6,854 people have been vaccinated and the process is still ongoing vigilantly. Earlier this week, the Ministry of Tourism also launched an initiative to vaccinate people in the tourism sector to create an even safer scenario for the industry. This was initiated at Male’ Social Center. The Minister of Tourism, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, stated that vaccination arrangements will be made in resorts for the convenience of resort employees and added that vaccination teams would travel to bigger resorts in the future.

The Ministry added that 10,000 tourism industry workers will be inoculated during this program including resort staff, guesthouse staff, liveaboard workers, airport representatives and local artists. The registration can be made through my.health portal. For expatriate workers, the passport number of the employee is required. The deadline for registration is 9th February 2021.

The initiation of the vaccination drive is bound to bring hope to the local population, as well as ensure the safety of tourists. This gives the message that Maldives is a low-risk destination for travelers, and will hopefully bring about a surge in tourist arrivals. Further to this, with vaccinations commencing worldwide, numbers are expected to increase, say experts. It is equally important to highlight that the current health and safety measures are still in place, and will be followed strictly in compliance with the Ministry of Tourism and HPA.

HPA reported on Sunday, 14th February 2021, that the government of Maldives has vaccinated over 38,591 people against COVID-19 pandemic through their vaccination program.

Vistara has announced special, non-stop flights between the capital of the Republic of Maldives, Malé and Mumbai, India, starting 03 March 2021. The airline will fly three times a week to Male under India’s travel bubble agreement with the Maldives.

Vistara will deploy its Airbus A320neo aircraft with three-class cabin configuration on the routes, thus becoming the only airline to offer travellers the choice of Premium Economy in addition to Business and Economy cabins, on flights between India and the Maldives.

Bookings for the flights are being progressively opened on all channels, including Vistara’s website, mobile app, and through travel agents.

Commenting on the launch of the new routes, Leslie Thng, Chief Executive Officer, Vistara, said, “Our new service to the Maldives will give travellers greater access to one of India’s most-preferred holiday destinations. We are delighted at the opportunity of taking India’s Best Airline to more places and offering the very best of air travel to people flying between India and the Maldives while maintaining the highest standards of safety and hygiene.”

All tourist establishments in the Maldives have been regulated to ensure that they are in line with the COVID-19 safe tourism guidelines issued by the Maldivian Ministry of Tourism along with a certification program to uphold high standards of safety and hygiene.

Ramping up tourism facilities across the state, Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran yesterday launched 18 projects completed at a cost of Rs 40.46 crore.

The projects inaugurated by Surendran, through videoconferencing, included destination development of Kovalam Phase 1 -- Samudra Beach park area and Grove Beach area, Kovalam-- at a cost of Rs 9.9 crore and beautification and interlocking of Mulavilakam Footpath at Kovalam at a cost of Rs 52 lakh.  

In his address, the Minister said the domino effect of Covid-19 has reflected in tourism sector also and it is expected to continue for some more time.  But the government did not allow the pandemic to hamper the implementation of the tourism sector projects.  

“The state government has initiated a lot of special projects for the revival of the sector, where around 15 lakh people are directly and indirectly employed.  Last year, we got Rs 45,000 crore overall income from tourism sector, which was an all-time record,” he said.

“With the inauguration of these 18 tourism projects in seven districts, the government has completed more than 100 projects in the last six months. Among the 300 tourism projects that had been given administrative sanction since the government took power, 80 percent has been completed. No other government in the history of Kerala has implemented so many projects in the tourism sector,” Shri Surendran added.  

Important among the dedicated projects are construction of additional block for Government Guest House, Kozhikode- Phase II at a cost of Rs 9.5 crore, Children's Park at Marine Drive, Ernakulam (Rs 4 crore), Construction of Yathri Nivas at Idukki - balance work, Idukki (Rs 3.82 crore), Tourism development works at Payamkuttimala, Kuttiadi, Kozhikode (Rs 2.15 crore), Chavakkad beach area tourism project (Rs 2.5 crore), and Muziris Heritage Project (MHP)- repair and maintenance of Paliam Oottupura, North Paravur (Rs 2.03 crore).  

Rani George IAS, Principal Secretary, Tourism, said in the face of most adverse circumstances, tourism sector has shown the potential to overcome them all. “We have set an example for other states through our aggressive and multi-pronged strategy to defy all odds. The new projects will be a big boost to the locations in the seven districts,” she added.

Noting that renovation of MHP sites will make the visit to these spots more attractive, Tourism Director P Bala Kiran IAS said the completed projects also contributed to the basic infrastructure development of the respective locations.   

Other projects in the list are: Renovation and upgradation of Manakkachira Tourism project, Changanassery; augmentation and enhancement of the STP at Kumarakom; renovation of Prakrithi Gramam at Ezhattumukham -Phase I -Angamaly; repair and maintenance of Paliam Interpretation (MHP), North Paravur; renovation of Paravur Market (MHP); Bengalakadavu, Mathilakom, Kodungallur (MHP); construction of Children's Park, Kottapuram, Kodungallur (MHP); Mala Cemetery compound wall construction, Kodungallur (MHP); renovation of Mala Synagogue, Kodungallur (MHP); and Stadium Square, Kasaragod.

The Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series held its 76th webinar titled “Vocal for Local: Empowering Local Communities: Gujarat Experience” on 13th February 2021.

The tourism sector has a huge effect in India by providing immense economic opportunities to the local community. Entrepreneurship has been identified as essential factor for creating job opportunities, generating income, increasing standard of living and generally growing the income levels of local communities through tourism. The webinar discussed about the empowerment of local communities around Kevadia, the site of Statute of Unity and the Weaves of Gujarat which is a tourism product in itself.  It also spoke about how these handicraft legacies of the State created employment for locals. It has not only created the employment opportunities for the local people, but it also plays vital role in preserving the centuries old arts and crafts.

The webinar was presented by Gautam B. Popat , Regional Level Guide from Gujarat. Popat has served in Indian Air Force for 20 years and has a keen interest in tourism. He spoke about the rich history of the weaves of Gujarat and facts related to weavers’ community and legacy. The detailed information on Kevadia as a destination was presented by Mayursinh Raul.  

Kevadia – The unique and fastest developing tourist destination in Gujarat. The 182-metre-high statue of ironman of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel known as Statue of Unity is located in Kevadia of Narmada District Nestled between the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges.  A humble commemoration of Sardar Patel by his countrymen, saluting his contribution to bring everyone together. The Statue of Unity overlooks the vast surrounds and the river basin of the Narmada River and the sprawling Sardar Sarovar dam. Kevadia is well connected by rail, road. Seaplane service is available from Ahmedabad to Statue of Unity. Kevadia has been developed as a family destination suitable for every age group. Leisure & adventure activities and visit to different theme parks such as Dino Trail, Jungle Safari, Valley of Flowers, Butterfly Garden, Vishwa Van, Cactus Garden, Ekta Nursery, cycle tracks etc. makes this place more interesting.

In the second presentation, the rich legacy of weaves from Gujarat was unfolded. Textile have been a part of India’s heritage since the Indus Valley Civilisation. Kutch region, Patan, Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, Surat, Jamnagar, Wadhwan, Bharuch and Udvada are main textile and embroidery centres of Gujarat.

To name few waeves or textiles are Ajrakh Block printing, Kharad Weaving, Bandhani (Tie & Dye), Ahir Embroidery, Suf Embroidery, Rogan Painting, Aari Embroidery, Tangaliya Weaving, Patola Weaving. The Government and NGOs are actively involved in preserving these local handicrafts. Special tours, workshops etc organised to understand these arts and crafts which not only empowers the local communities but also motivates to preserve the centuries old heritage.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday inaugurated India’s first full-fledged international criose terminal in Kochi, Kerala.

T3 carries here the PM’s speech:

Kochi is a city of trade and commerce. The people of this city understand that time is of the essence. They also appreciate the importance of proper connectivity. That is why, dedication of Ro-Ro Vessels to the nation is special. Almost thirty kilometres on road becomes 3.5 kilometres through waterways. This means: Convenience up. Commerce up. Capacity building up. Congestion down. Pollution down. Transport costs down.

Tourists come to Kochi not only as a transit point to go to other parts of Kerala. The culture, food, beaches, marketplaces, historical places and spiritual places here are widely known. The Government of India is undertaking many efforts to improve tourism related infrastructure here. The inauguration of Sagarika, the International Cruise Terminal in Kochi is one example of this. Sagarika Cruise Terminal brings both comfort and convenience for tourists. It will cater to over a lakh cruise guests.

I have been seeing something in the last few months. A lot of people are writing to me and even sharing pictures on social media about their travels locally. Since the global pandemic has affected international travel, people are going to nearby places. This is a great opportunity for us. On one hand, this means added livelihood to those in the local tourism industry. On the other hand, it makes the connect between our youth and our culture stronger. There is so much to see, learn and discover. I urge our young start-up friends to think about innovative tourism related products. I also urge you all to use this time and travel to as many nearby areas as possible. You would be happy to know that the tourism sector in India has been growing well in the last five years. In the World Tourism Index ranking, India moved from sixty fifth to thirty fourth position. But there is a lot more to be done and I am confident we will improve even more.

Two important factors that shape economic development are: Capacity Building and Making infrastructure modern for future needs. The next two development works are related to these themes. ‘Vigyan Sagar’, is the new knowledge campus of Cochin Shipyard. Through this, we are expanding our human resource development capital. This campus reflects the importance of skill development. It would particularly help those wanting to study marine engineering. In the times to come, I see a prime place for this sector. Youngsters who have knowledge in this domain will have many opportunities at their doorstep. As I said before, economic growth requires augmenting existing capacities. Here, we are laying the foundation stone of reconstruction of the South Coal Berth. This would bring down logistics costs and improve cargo capacities. Both are vital for the business to prosper.

Today, the definition and scope of infrastructure has changed. It is beyond only good roads; development works and connectivity between a few urban centres. We are looking at high quantity and top-quality infrastructure for the coming generations. Through the National Infrastructure Pipeline, Rupees hundred and ten lakh crore is being invested for infra creation. In that, special attention is being given to coastal parts, the Northeast and the mountain areas. Today India is embarking on an ambitious programme of broad-band connectivity to every village. Likewise, India is devoting topmost importance to developing our Blue Economy. Our vision and work in this sector include: More ports. Improving infrastructure in current ports. Off-shore energy, Sustainable Coastal development, Coastal connectivity. 

This year’s Budget has devoted significant resources and schemes that will benefit Kerala. This includes the next phase of the Kochi Metro. This metro network has come up successfully and has set a good example of progressive work practices and professionalism.

With the aim of connecting people to Singapore and igniting their passions to travel, National Geographic, with its immersive and visually appealing style of storytelling will take viewers on an tour of the city through an eight-part series titled – “Reimagine Passion in Singapore”. The films will be exclusively released on National Geographic India’s social media platforms that have reach of over 10 million fans.

These 60-120 second films will take audiences through a journey in Singapore to find diversity and marvel at the right balance in modernity, greenery and culture that will ignite one’s passions in the arts, photography, culinary and urban wildlife. Uniquely shot and edited to appease the digital audiences and fans across National Geographic’s social media platforms, all eight films will give viewers different perspectives on the various activities and experiences in Singapore.

National Geographic spokesperson said, “We offer a special, unfiltered view of our planet, cultures and distinct places through our National Geographic social media platforms for our fans across the country. Singapore, is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular locations in the world and we thought of creating special short, bite-size yet impactful stories and giving our very engaged community of 10 million+ fans, a unique perspective of the city.”

The association with National Geographic India is one of the initiatives undertaken by Singapore Tourism Board to invite the Indian audience to reimagine travel to Singapore as part of its global SingapoReimagine campaign. Over the past few months, Singapore’s tourism sector has been working towards showcasing both resilience and ingenuity to meet the evolving needs of visitors in a Covid-present world and ensure that every aspect of their experience is safe, yet delightful.

With international border restrictions still in place, this is a way to bring the Singapore experience closer to the Indian audience, who appreciate and enjoy Singapore as the destination for both leisure and business travel.

GB Srithar, Regional Director, India, Middle East & South Asia (IMESA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said, “We are happy to collaborate with National Geographic India, presenting Singapore through their trademark creative, passion-filled lenses. The films, featuring four creative Indian personalities and their takes on the city destination’s charms and offerings, will be entertaining and engaging for viewers. Each short film invites audience to reimagine Singapore and discover the city’s many layers. They will re-spark the desire to travel and enjoy the experiences, when the time is right.”

Pride Group of Hotels has signed up to launch Pride Biznotel City Center at Rajkot, in the state of Gujarat.

Atul Upadhyay, VP Operations, Pride Group of Hotels, said, “Gujarat state hosts ample potential across industries and a hospitality partner is surely needed to ensure these industrial expansions are supported suitably alongside satisfied employees. We’re glad to further expand our presence in Gujarat with the Pride Biznotel City Center, Rajkot. It’s indeed a proud moment to be part of the growing state and economy in whatever little way possible. Guest safety will be assured by our efficient team at Pride Group of Hotels.”

Pride Biznotel City Center, Rajkot is the 3rd property added to the hotel portfolio in Gujarat after the recent signing of Pride Hotel, Bharuch (2021). Pride Group of Hotels are already operating hotels in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara, Anand and (2021) Surendranagar.

With its presence around 20 other great locations across India, Pride Group of Hotels boasts of 2500+ Rooms, 52 Restaurants, 73 Banquets and Conference Halls, reinforcing itself as a one-stop destination for MICE. Currently, Pride Hotels operates and manages a chain of hotels under the brand name “Pride Plaza Hotel” an Indian Luxury Collection, at Aerocity - Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata, “Pride Hotel” at Bangalore, Chennai, Nagpur, Pune, Rajkot, Indore & (2021) Bharuch along with “Pride Resorts” at Goa, Puri, Jaipur, Manali, Dharamshala (HP), Bharatpur & Gangtok and also Mid-Market Hotels under “Pride Biznotel” at Vadodara, Anand, (2021) Agra, Jabalpur, Bhavnagar & Surendranagar.

 

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