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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the public sector undertaking under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism, posted a significant performance in half yearly results of the current financial year 2018-19. The company registered a total turnover of Rs. 169.72 cr in H1 ending September 2018. Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 19.05 cr was achieved during this period as compared to Rs. 13.96 cr in the corresponding period last year i.e. 2017-18, clocking an increase of 36.46 %. It also registered Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 15.52 cr as compared to Rs. 10.40 cr during the same period in the previous year. 

These details were announced in the Board of Directors’ meeting of the company on 14th November, 2018 at the Group’s flagship hotel, The Ashok, New Delhi. The momentum generated in last financial year has also continued in first half of the financial year 2018-19. Ashok Travels & Tours (ATT) and Ashok Events Division (AED) were among the major revenue contributors for the mentioned period.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is delighted to welcome the government’s decision to grant a visa-on-arrival (VoA) fee waiver for tourists from 20 countries.

From 15 November, 2018, to 13 January, 2018, citizens of Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China including Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the 2,000 Baht visa-on-arrival fee for the purpose of touring in Thailand not more than 15 days.

“This is good news for Thailand’s tourism industry as we’re preparing a range of year-end activities and promotions, including the launch of Amazing Thailand Grand Sale ‘Passport Privilege’ during the same period,” Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor, TAT said.

Tourism promotions and events in the pipeline between now and January, next year, also include the New Year Electronic Music Festival in Pattaya on 30-31 December, and TAT will hold the Countdown Celebration in five destinations in the five regions of Thailand. These are: Chiang Rai in the North, Nakhon Phanom in the Northeast, Ratchaburi in the Central Region, Satun with its world renowned geopark in the South, and Sa Kaeo in the East.

TIRUN, the exclusive India representative of Celebrity Cruises, recently announced the launch of Celebrity Edge, the first-of-its-kind ship in Celebrity’s Edge-class fleet. Celebrity Edge promises to change cruise experiences for travellers across the world.

The futuristic 129000 tonne ship can accommodate 2,918 guests at a time and offers cutting-edge design envisioned by world-renowned interior designers such as Kelly Hoppen, MBE, Tom Wright of WKK and award-winning interior designer Nate Berkus. The entire ship has been designed in ultra-modern 3D technology. The design team consists of talented individuals who are new to the world of cruise designing and have specifically chosen to break the conventions and give the ship a truly edgy look, reflected in its unique outward-facing design.

The ship features innovations like the Magic Carpet, the world’s first cantilevered, floating platform that keeps changing its position to offer breathtaking views to guests. It goes up to 13 storeys, and keeps intuitively changing its location on the ship throughout the day.

80 per cent of the staterooms are equipped with Infiniti Veranda, a feature that enables guests to transform their entire living space into a balcony opening out into the vast ocean, all with the touch of a button. With Celebrity Edge, Celebrity has more than doubled the number of available suites, adding two spectacular new categories. At the top of the line are two new Iconic Suites situated above the ship’s bridge. These near 2,600 sq ft, two-bedroom, two-bathroom suites feature mind-blowing views thanks to panoramic windows enveloping the dining room, living room and bedrooms. The 700 sq ft veranda offers a 270-degree view of the ocean. Another new Suite Class comprises six split-level Edge Villas, which offer stunning views from two storeys of windows, private plunge pools and direct walk-out access to The Retreat Sundeck.

In a first, the ship features Eden, an on-board garden and a recreational area that includes some of the most exotic and beautiful plants across three levels ensconced in glass, looking out to the beautiful ocean outside. Spread over11,800 sq ft where Eden offers the ideal location to hold a variety of events-from business luncheons to wedding celebrations-in the intimate company of nature.

Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive, TIRUN Travel Marketing said, “Celebrity Edge represents an ultra-modern cruising experience that the Celebrity fleet has come to be synonymous with. Unexplored destinations, luxurious rooms including villas and suites, an array of dining options with delicacies prepared by world-class chefs and innovative outdoor spaces never seen before, all of this and more awaits the cruise guests on board Celebrity Edge. It is undoubtedly the most exciting ship in the modern-day cruising landscape, and travelers can expect a surprise at every corner of Edge.”

The state-of-the-art spa, sprawling over 14,000 sq ft, with an accompanying gym and café covers 22,000 sq ft and offers a wide variety of treatments and facilities that will help guests foster a deeper connection with the ocean. The spa will offer 124 treatments including a Zero Gravity Wellness Massage, Restorative Salt Stone Massage, and Thousand Flower Detox Wrap.

Imagined by celebrated architect Tom Wright, the Rooftop Garden is a place for guests to unwind and relax in nature’s company. While travelers can enjoy different games throughout the day, at night they can look forward to the classic outdoor movie-and-meal pairing experience, aptly named ‘A Taste of Film.’

Celebrity Edge is scheduled to set sail in December 2018 offering 7 Night Eastern & Western Caribbean Itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. The ship will visit exotic ports in the paradise islands such as San Juan; Puerto Rico; Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Key West; Florida; Costa Maya & Cozumel, Mexico and many more.

After its maiden season in the Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises' latest ship Celebrity Edge will head overseas to offer seven-night Barcelona and Rome sailings in the peak season and early summer of 2019.

This year's Abu Dhabi Food Festival (ADFF) is set to return with events, promotions, and culinary experiences, taking place across the city between December 6 - 22. ADFF is organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), attracting foodies, families and friends. Visitors will be entertained with food trucks, markets, movies, photography workshops and celebrity chef appearances. With more than 100 restaurants involved, six new initiatives, partnerships with major hospitality industry players and hotel groups, participation of more than 10 local and international personalities and chefs, ADFF will be the place to visit this December!

Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of the Tourism Sector, DCT Abu Dhabi said, “Abu Dhabi Food Festival is undoubtedly one of the premier culinary events in the region. Events such as Abu Dhabi Food Festival position the emirate as a culinary attractive destination for tourists to visit and have a positive impact on our industry growth in terms of the number of visitors arriving. With the large number of culinary tourists coming to the region, promoters involved with ADFF have an unmissable opportunity to grow their respective operations.”

ADFF 2018 will feature hot new culinary concepts, innovative tastes and amazing deals. Festival goers can expect the World of Food Abu Dhabi coming for the first time at the Corniche, Big Grill on Yas Island, and the Abu Dhabi Food Festival Scavenger Hunt competition with the chance to win a big prize. In addition, Festember will be back to be hosted at a new exciting location, alongside Abu Dhabi Restaurant week, SIAL Middle East as well as many more culinary diverse offerings. 

World of Food Abu Dhabi will lead visitors on a culinary journey through more than 15 World Kitchens, with award winning MasterChef’s from those countries who are passionate and proud of their cooking heritage - all of whose designs will likely go viral on social media.

The food festival this year will also visit Manarat Al Saadiyat to see a MAS Vegan Market that features an array of inventive takes on vegan cuisine from UAE's vegan hotspots, along with activities promoting a holistic and healthy lifestyle, such as Yoga and Reiki sessions, as well as food photography sessions which teach attendees how to create aesthetic and enticing images of food that can be used for advertising, cookbooks, or other media. Art studio workshops will also be on offer to this year's attendees with activities where Art Studio will adapt its drop-in workshops on these dates for adults, juniors and children.

Over the past three years, ADFF has successfully attracted both residents and visitors alike to enjoy not only exciting cuisines from some of the best chefs from around the globe, but also some of the most scrumptious food-related experiences available anywhere in the world today. Each year has seen a packed creative programme of delectable offerings that further position Abu Dhabi as a truly F&B hub of culinary inspiration; and 2018 looks set to be even more sought after than what has been experienced before! More news and details of the festival will be revealed very soon.

A consortium led by Jin Jiang International Holdings Co., Ltd (Jin Jiang International) announced that it has completed the acquisition of Radisson Hospitality. In response to the announcement, John M. Kidd, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Radisson Hospitality, issued a statement.

The statement mentioned, “This marks yet another incredible milestone in our company’s storied history and one that I’m confident will elevate Radisson Hotel Group to a new level of strength as a global leader in the hospitality industry. When we announced our re-branding earlier this year to Radisson Hotel Group, we shared our vision for the company, which was to be the company of choice for guests, owners and talent. We are now owned by one of the leading travel and hospitality companies — the fifth largest hotel company in the world.1 Additionally, Jin Jiang’s loyalty program encompasses more than 100 million members. This type of size, coupled with the record number of Chinese consumers travelling abroad, provides a number of new opportunities for Radisson Hotel Group. The consortium led by Jin Jiang will work with us to improve and execute our five-year plan, while continuing to deliver outstanding customer and guest service.”

Minor Hotels, a hotel owner, operator and investor, currently with a portfolio of over 160 hotels and resorts in 23 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, South America, Africa and the Indian Ocean, has announced that it has taken a stake in the Global Hotel Alliance, (GHA).

Minor Hotels have been longstanding members of the GHA since 2007, first entering with the Anantara brand. As the GHA will enter its 15th year in 2019, Minor Hotels took the opportunity to support the alliance which is currently investing in new CRM and shared technology to build on the success of the DISCOVERY loyalty programme.

Following this shareholder announcement, Dillip Rajakarier, Minor Hotels CEO will now join the GHA Board of Directors. The investment is worth a total of $3.2million, representing a 10 per cent share of the Global Hotel Alliance.

Rajakarier said, “Since joining the GHA in 2007, we have grown and developed our own brands and continue to acquire new ones, and membership of GHA fits well with our multi-brand strategy. GHA has consistently demonstrated the value of global customer reach and a strong CRM and loyalty programme for our hotels, and so we are delighted to be able to take our place as a shareholder in the business, with the opportunity to help guide its growth over the coming years.”

The 13 million DISCOVERY members will produce US$1.7 billion in room revenues in 2018, of which around US$125 million is from customers moving between our member brands. We plan to double those numbers in the next few years, as independent brands look to collaborate with each other to share the common challenge of competing with the ever-consolidating major brands and third party distribution providers.

BLS International Services Limited (BLS), a specialist services provider of Visa, Passport, Attestation and Citizen Services to the Governments and diplomatic missions globally, reported a net profit of Rs 32.9 crore for Q2 FY19, up by 23.1 per cent, as compared to Rs. 26.8 crore in the corresponding quarter of last fiscal. The company’s Q2 FY19 PAT margin stood at a robust 17.3 per cent, as compared to 14.3 per cent in Q2 FY18.

Total Income for the quarter ended September 2018 stood at Rs. 191.2 crore, up by 2 per cent, as compared to Rs 187.4 crore in the same period last year. The company’s earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) in Q2 FY19 stood at Rs. 45.4 crore, up by 2.8 per cent as compared to Q2 FY18 which stood at Rs 44.2 crore. Its EBITDA margin improved from 23.6 per in Q2 FY18 to Rs. 23.8 per cent in Q2 FY19.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter ended Q2 FY19 stood at Rs. 3.22, as compared with Rs. 2.62 for the quarter ended Q2 FY18.

Commenting on the financial performance, Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International Services said, “We are happy to report another quarter with strong results. The encouraging performance in the Q2/H1 FY19, is led by timely and quality deliverables of our contracts in domestic and international market. We are proud that during this quarter BLS International not only got listed in Forbes Asia’s ‘Best Under A Billion’ company list but also received Spain Esquema Nacional de Seguridad (ENS – National Security Framework) accreditation after rigorous assessment and audits by ENS Certification Entity from Spain.”

He further added, “Being the face of government across the globe, we will continue to rally our focus on execution, operation and swift rollouts of projects for our client governments across globe and we believe that we are well positioned for sustainable growth in the current year and future”. 

In order to showcase these diverse options, Switzerland Tourism has taken its multiple offerings across the four Indian cities of Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata and Delhi through its recently-concluded annual roadshow. Key partners included the cities of Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken and St. Moritz, regions such as Lake Geneva Region and the Swiss Travel System among others.

Switzerland’s increasing number of Indian overnights can be attributed to the very successful and talented Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh coming on board as the brand ambassador in August 2016.  There was a 23.4 per cent increase in the overnights spent by Indians in Switzerland in 2017. This number has exponentially gone up, primarily on account of the well-received Ad campaigns that had Ranveer Singh showcasing the different experiences available in Switzerland.

“This year has also been a very exciting one for Switzerland Tourism with the passionate and effervescent Ranveer Singh continuing as our brand ambassador... Each year, we see a growing interest among Indian travellers but 2017, thanks to Ranveer, the overnights have been extremely high. Our numbers this year are also encouraging – we are up 10 per cent in hotel overnights in the period January to August 2018 as compared to the same period last year. Besides this campaign, we also continue our travel trade campaigns – with regular webinars, training sessions in tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well our new e-learning modules on the Switzerland Travel Academy,” said Claudio Zemp, Director – India, Switzerland Tourism.   

“We together with Swiss International Airlines have recently introduced the Stopover Switzerland program allowing travellers to stop in Switzerland from 1 to 4 days on their way to any other destination. We offer multiple packages – for individual cities as well as multi-destination packages. This would give travellers a chance to sample Switzerland without having to pay anything extra for airfare. We are sure that these travellers will then return for a longer holiday once they have experienced the charms of Switzerland. We are happy to note that in the last few years, apart from the metro cities, we have managed to penetrate the Tier 2/3 markets as well and we see not only group travel but also FIT’s from these cities,” said Ritu Sharma, Deputy Director, Switzerland Tourism India.

Internet Moguls, one of the largest digital marketing agencies in the tourism and hospitality sector, has come on board with Treehouse Hotels for developing online marketing solutions for the chain. Internet Moguls will now be accountable for the brand’s social media management, website maintenance, search engine optimization and paid media activities. All activities will be aimed towards driving new strategies for augmenting revenue and branding of Treehouse Hotels, and the subsequent 11 hotels under its umbrella.

“The personalization, guest experiences and attention to details this group of hotels bring is parallel to none. My teams and I are happy to take this project and help this hotel chain achieve new heights of success with their digital revenues,” Avijit Arya, Founder, Internet Moguls

Internet Moguls will now take care of designing campaigns & strategies on social media platforms like Twitter, FB, Instagram; increase search visibility of the hotels, by optimizing the brand’s website from the point of view of SEO and speed. It will also drive paid activities on the search engine markets; include display campaigns, lead generation and branding.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) recently announced a new brand identity, under the creative platform   “So Sri Lanka”. Revealed at the World Travel Market trade show in London, the new brand platform “So Sri Lanka”, created by advertising agency JWT Sri Lanka and Landor Singapore, is grounded on the insight that Sri Lanka is more than just a destination, it’s a feeling. Sri Lanka is the essence of a people renowned for their hospitality; a stunning landscape, rich biodiversity and a wealth of incredible, immersive experiences on offer for travellers.

The rebrand marks the start of Sri Lanka’s fresh approach to destination marketing. Madubhani Perera, Director Marketing, SLTPB said, “There has never been a better time for a rebrand. Sri Lanka has just been named The Lonely Planet’s Number One Destination for 2019. For us “So Sri Lanka” symbolises our evolution with the digital revolution. The modern traveller goes online to seek inspiration and to find the next life-changing travel experience. “So Sri Lanka” helps us evoke the inimitable feeling of our beautiful, vibrant, authentic and generous country through the smartphones of potential travellers.”

The campaign will target millennial travellers who select holiday destinations based on what they can hope to experience there. The “So Sri Lanka” brand platform has a contemporary, social and engaging design to reflect the heart and individuality of the country. It will roll out across all tourism promotion materials in a multi-channel, international campaign starting early next year – this will be a significant global campaign that will be amplified across all relevant digital platforms, targeting tourists from key source markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

To drive mass awareness of the new brand platform, the SLTPB is partnering with award winning* wildlife producer, Nicola Brown, whose previous accolades include David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, to create the first-of-its-kind film shot from the viewpoint of Sri Lanka’s rich and diverse wildlife.

To encourage travellers to choose Sri Lanka for an experience like no other, the film will showcase the country’s unique landmarks, vibrant cities and breath-taking landscapes including Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy and Ella through the eyes of the island’s inhabitants who know it best. The film will be distributed across digital and owned social channels, as well as being the focus for an earned media PR campaign across key markets - India, China and the UK. A sneak peek of the film is released today with the full-length film being released in early 2019.



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