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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

VFS Global has announced changes in their South Asia operations leadership team with the appointment of Pranav Sinha as Head - South Asia, VFS Global. In this role, Pranav will now be responsible for overall business operations in South Asia with an emphasis on ensuring the highest customer service standards as well as managing client relationships. He reports to Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO, and will be based in New Delhi, India.

Prior to this, Pranav oversaw the company’s operations in West and South India, Maldives and Sri Lanka since 2016.

Sharad Gowani will move on to take over Pranav’s former role and report to him as Regional Head for West & South India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. He has been part of Projects as Deputy Head. Sharad has been with VFS Global for the last 9 years, having managed the company’s operations in Africa and South Asia in the past, besides overseeing the rollout of various projects globally.

The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) has appointed Pankaj Nagpal, MD, Travstarz Global Group as the Chapter Head for North India. He is the first Chapter Head to be appointed in India by TIES.

TIES is a non-profit organization present in 190 countries with over 15,000 active members across the globe who follow the guidelines of sustainability and ecological preservation at global standards.

Pride Sun Village Resort and Spa, Goa reopens its door to welcome back its guests into a safe and hygienic environment under the ‘Pride Safety Assurance’ initiative. This assurance covers hygiene guidelines, booking policies as well as precautions to be taken by guests and staff to ensure safety and flexibility.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has raised exceptional demands on the cleanliness and hygiene standards of the industry. And it can only be attained with the implementation of stringent protocols for the current circumstances. As a part of the ‘New Normal’, the resort has introduced many safety measures like on arrival, thermal screening will be conducted at the entrance and luggage will be sanitised, guests will be greeted with hygiene kit carrying sanitiser, face mask & gloves and immunity boosters will be given as the welcome drink to them.

With travellers being extremely thoughtful about their accommodation, the need for safety of staffs and guests is of utmost priority. To attain the highest level of safety and hygiene standards the resort makes sure that all the key touch-points area in its premises are sanitized in every half an hour. Medical assistance & doctors are available on call 24*7 for emergency and dedicated rooms are also available for guests who have been advised quarantine. The guests can also go for a safe drive, as the resort cars are regularly sanitized.

Atul Upadhyay, Vice President Operations, Pride Hotels, said, “The impact of COVID 19 is unprecedented but we’re grateful to our loyal guests who have bestowed us with their trust during this pandemic. We want them to feel safe when they walk through the doors of our resort at all times. In order to make it possible we need to be transparent with them on the further steps we’ve taken in the areas of cleanliness, hygiene and social distancing. It’s also important for us to make our staff feel safe while working. We’ve launched various training programs for them to be well equipped while serving the guests. We believe in creating a premium hospitality experience for our guest and look forward to delivering a safe, secure and comfortable experience to them.”

Welcoming them to a new era of travel with the ‘new normal’ stay experience the property will give utmost priority to their health, safety and security. The resort is a perfect place to set up a workstation for business travellers and a delight for nature lovers. From social gatherings and high-end product launch parties to corporate meet-ups, the Pride Sun Village Resort & Spa houses a palatial banqueting venue for hosting a variety of occasions and celebrations.

Atout France India continued with its annual tradition of organising its flagship B2B showcase in September with two virtual B2B workshops that took place on September 21 -22, 2020. While the 21st September workshop was exclusively dedicated to Paris and its Region, the workshop of the following day, “Explore France” put the spotlight on France’s diverse destinations. More than 500 pre-scheduled interactions took place between the Indian buyers and the French suppliers over these two days.

The Paris Region Workshop allowed for focused exchanges on tourism opportunities in the City of Lights and its surrounds with a formidable delegation representing luxury hotels, touristic attractions, logistic vendors and nightlife options. The time was opportune for Parisian stakeholders to showcase the charter “Caring Attitude” implemented by the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau which is essentially a series of safety and health measures implemented by tourism professionals to ensure the complete security of its overseas visitors in Paris. The Paris Regional Tourism Board led the initiative alongside Atout France and reiterated the message of commitment to the cause of tourism in the No 1 destination worldwide.

France’s diverse destinations were well represented at the Explore France Workshop with an impressive presence from the Alps. This included the Regional Tourism Board of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, ski resorts such as Courchevel, Megève, Méribel, Val d’Isère, Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, the ski school ESF 1850 Courchevel, luxury accommodation such as le K2 Collections (Courchevel) and the ski-lift company-the Mont-Blanc Natural Resort. Complementing this formidable Alpine presence were delegates from destinations such as Nice, Occitanie Sud de France, Lourdes, Northern France and Lisieux-Authentic Normandy. France’s overseas destinations were represented by Reunion Island and for the first time, the delegation included a telecommunications provider in the form of Bouygues Telecom. 

Adding their signature style to the Explore France workshop, Atout France organised a virtual photo-booth for all participants and also an online interactive baking session with renowned Chef Pooja Dhingra for the Indian buyers. Combining the vintage and the contemporary, digitally enhanced postcards of destinations/services represented at the workshop made for many a virtual journey to France.

Sheetal Munshaw, Director, Atout France India, said “We are very pleased with the support received by both our French and Indian stakeholders. For us, it was always essential to keep the connection between our two countries from a tourism standpoint alive and active. Though we would have much liked our on-ground workshop format with actual interactions and exchanges, we are happy that these digital versions helped reinforce links between our buyers and suppliers.”

Kerala Tourism wrapped itself in glory as its internationally-acclaimed ‘Human by Nature’ campaign today bagged the prestigious PATA Grand Award 2020 for Marketing, giving a huge stimulus to tourism industry in the state that is grappling with the adverse aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kerala Tourism has bagged one of the three PATA Grand Awards, which were announced live during a virtual presentation ceremony in Beijing.

The distant event was attended by Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Secretary Rani George, Tourism Director P. Bala Kiran, PATA Chief Executive Officer Mario Hardy and Macao Government Tourism Office (MGT) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes.

It was for the first time that this year’s PATA Gold Awards, supported and sponsored by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), were announced virtual since its inception in 1995. This year’s awards recognised the achievements of three Grand title winners and 21 Gold Awards.

Expressing happiness over winning the top award, Surendran said ‘Human by Nature’ was a brilliant marketing strategy to revive tourism that had suffered a severe knocking in the wake of the 2018 floods and the outbreak of the Nipah virus.   

The idea of a new campaign showcasing the culture and daily life of the people of Kerala put forth by Kerala Tourism was conceptualized and scripted by Stark Communications.

The campaign which was carried out in national and international channels, newspapers,  magazines, portals and airport displays in key cities helped in achieving Kerala’s record growth rate of 17.2 per cent in 2019, the highest growth rate in tourism arrivals in 24 years.

“I believe the latest award would provide a huge stimulus to the state’s ongoing efforts to rev up our tourism sector through innovative means as it is the mainstay of Kerala’s economy and contributes around 10 per cent of the state’s GDP. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to reboot the travel sector with focus on domestic tourism and safety at every point of destination,” the minister noted. 

 “The PATA Grand Award is a huge affirmation of the creative brilliance of our marketing campaigns and it shows that the Human by Nature campaign has struck the right note with global travelers,'' George said and added that right now we are in the process of supporting the tourism sector with revival package schemes. “Our efforts are also geared towards putting in place SOPs for the tourism stakeholders and be a responsible tourism destination, thereby giving the tourists confidence to visit the State,” she added.

Bala Kiran said, “We are trying to rejuvenate our tourism sector by innovative business models that would create reassurance for travellers and ensure a responsible and sustainable tourism industry. We need to win the trust of travellers. That is going to be the cardinal driving force for tourism industry in the state.” 

 

The PATA Gold Awards 2020 attracted 121 entries from 62 organisations and individuals worldwide. The winners were selected by an independent judging committee of 16 personalities from various destinations.

OYO crossed the 50 million app downloads mark yesterday, with India leading with the most downloads followed by Indonesia, Malaysia, the USA, and Brazil. OYO claims that the company witnessed 32 app installs per minute in 2020. The app data reveals that Delhi ranked as the city with the most active consumer base in India. Across India, the top five cities with the most downloads include New Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Lucknow and Hyderabad.

The OYO app is available in 9 languages across the world, including English, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, Bahasa, Arabic, Japanese, and Vietnamese.

Commenting on the milestone, Rohit Kapoor, CEO, India & South Asia, OYO believes that the pandemic has transformed the company for the better. “There couldn’t have been a better time for us to have hit the 50 million app downloads mark this year. Since Unlock 3.0, OYO has managed to reach 30% of the pre-COVID occupancy levels with bookings led by millennials and small and mid-sized businesses across 20+ states and UTs. This is a positive sign showcasing consumer intent to travel again. It is also a testament to OYO’s resilience, ability to adapt, and most importantly, our strengthening consumer confidence,” Kapoor said.

SITA is partnering with start-up Safety Line to help pilots and airlines limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and operational costs by reducing fuel consumption of aircraft at key flight stages. Safety Line, a young French company that specializes in predictive big data solutions for airlines and airports, has made it its mission to help save aircraft fuel and reduce CO2 emissions during all these flight phases with a software suite called OptiFlight. The focus currently lies on the climb-out – the most fuel-consuming phase of a flight – and the cruise phase.

Safety Line’s software solutions for the cruise phase, OptiSpeed, OptiDirect and OptiLevel, collectively called OptiCruise, have been integrated in SITA’s widely used eWAS Pilot mobile application, which is part of SITA FOR AIRCRAFT’s ‘Digital Day of Operations’ portfolio. eWAS Pilot, used by 50,000 pilots of commercial airlines, business jets and cargo airlines, provides accurate 4D weather forecasts and real-time updates from various sources to warn about weather hazards such as thunderstorms, lightning, clear air turbulence, strong winds, icing and even volcanic ash.

Safety Line’s OptiCruise allows pilots and airlines to achieve significant fuel savings and carbon emission reductions. OptiSpeed shows pilots the fuel and time impact of speed variations with the objective of on-time arrival at the best fuel/time ratio while OptiDirect recommends shortcuts based on historical flight data and indicates possible fuel and time savings. OptiLevel advises pilots on the best initial flight level and cruise level changes, taking tailwinds and headwinds into account.

As part of the new partnership and through the ‘Digital Day of Operations’ portfolio, SITA now also offers Safety Line’s OptiClimb software. OptiClimb uses tail-specific machine learning performance models in combination with 4D weather forecasts, to recommend customized speed changes at different altitudes for each climb. The software predicts fuel burn in tens of thousands of possible flight scenarios and then issues recommended climb speeds to pilots ahead of each flight.

Safety Line data shows that climb fuel savings of 5-6% are possible for each flight without affecting passenger safety or comfort. On a yearly basis, this could reduce CO2 emissions by several thousands of tons and operational costs by several million dollars, depending on the size of the airline fleet. Safety Line estimates that 5.6 million tons of CO2 could be avoided if all airlines in the world were to use OptiClimb.

Sébastien Fabre, CEO for SITA FOR AIRCRAFT said: “We at SITA continue to seek smarter ways to use existing and new technologies and collaborate with partners in the air transport industry with the goal of making airline operations more efficient and environmentally friendly. The partnership with Safety Line is another important step for us that will enable airlines to embrace the digital shift that is needed to reinvent the operation of aircraft. It is about adopting more sustainable and cost-effective practices.”

Sustainability and a sharp focus on cost-efficiency, along with safety and security will remain the top priorities for airlines in the COVID-19 era.

Pierre Jouniaux, Founder and CEO of Safety Line said: “We are delighted to partner with SITA, because pilots and airlines can now easily access our smart technology through SITA FOR AIRCRAFT’s ‘Digital Day of Operations’ portfolio and work towards more sustainable aviation. We look forward to delivering further innovation through this collaboration to save fuel and improve cost-efficiency at every stage of flight.”

Smiths Detection has completed the installation of 34 units of the CTX 9800 DSi checked baggage Explosive Detection System (EDS) at ten airports managed by the Airports Authority India (AAI) and one airport managed by Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL).

The company has also signed a new contract to install six additional units at five domestic airports across the country by end of March 2021. AAI manages a total of 137 airports in India, and is responsible for building, managing, and maintaining civil aviation infrastructure.

In 2018, AAI partnered with Smiths Detection to introduce the CTX 9800 DSi to nine airports, including Chennai and Kolkata International Airport, to meet enhanced standards mandated by India’s aviation regulatory body, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

The new installations at Kolkata and Chennai Airports this year build on AAI’s aim to enhance security and efficiency at their airports and prepare India for the eventual rebound of air travel in a post-COVID19 world.

Vikrant Trilokekar, Managing Director India, Smiths Detection, said, “At this time, airports need to maximise cost efficiencies through technologies that enable accurate detection and seamless flow of baggage. We’re confident that our security solutions, technical expertise, and experience will help AAI meet the industry’s highest security standards and get ready for the future of travel.”

Smiths Detection has also completed training of operational staff at all sites.

Boeing has entered into a patent and technology license with Florida-based Healthe Inc. under which Healthe will manufacture an ultraviolet (UV) wand designed to sanitise airplane interiors. Boeing designed and developed the UV wand as part of the company's Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) to support customers and enhance the safety and well-being of passengers and crews during the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

Mike Delaney, Vice President Digital Transformation and Leader of Confident Travel Initiative, Boeing, said, “The UV wand is designed to be more effective than similar devices. It quickly disinfects surfaces on an airplane and further strengthens other layers of protection for passengers and crew. Boeing spent six months transforming an idea for the wand into a working model, and Healthe will now take that prototype and make it available to the world at large.”

Healthe will produce and distribute the commercial wand, helping airlines and potentially others combat the coronavirus pandemic. The technology could be available for airlines in late fall.

The device is an addition to sanitizing and protective measures already in place, which include the use of high-efficiency particulate air filters that trap more than 99.9 per cent of particulates and prevent them from re-circulating back to the cabin.

Abe Morris, Executive Chairman, Healthe said, “We are proud to be assisting Boeing as they work with their partner airlines to enhance in-cabin plane sanitization efforts. This could also benefit schools, hospitals, offices, wherever pathogens go. As we ramp up deployment of our cutting-edge UVC and Far-UVC 222 light solutions across many sectors, this new commercial-grade wand will be another powerful tool in the sanitization arsenal to protect passengers against the spread of harmful viruses.”

The UV wand uses 222 nanometer UVC light which research indicates inactivates pathogens effectively.

Using the self-contained apparatus that resembles a carry-on suitcase, crews can pass UV light over high-touch surfaces, sanitizing everywhere the light reaches. The UV wand is particularly effective in compact spaces and sanitizes a flight deck in less than 15 minutes.

Etihad Airways was the first to evaluate the device, and the UV wand was demonstrated on the Etihad 787-10 ecoDemonstrator airplane on August 21, 2020.

IATA has called for passengers to be tested for COVID19 as an alternative to quarantine. With international travel down 92 per cent on 2019 levels, IATA sees testing as a way to re-establish global air connectivity.

Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO, IATA said, “The key to restoring the freedom of mobility across borders is systematic COVID19 testing of all travellers before departure. This will give governments the confidence to open their borders without complicated risk models that see constant changes in the rules imposed on travel. Testing all passengers will give people back their freedom to travel with confidence. And that will put millions of people back to work.”

Whilst testing is an option, it won't be easy persuading countries that testing is more effective, economical or easier to manage than quarantine. It is widely accepted that it can take up to 14 days from the time of exposure to COVID19 for any symptoms to show and for a test to be positive. By having a quarantine in place, countries are trying to protect their population and health system by ensuring that the virus does not have a chance to spread within the community undiscovered. However, each country enforces its quarantine regulations differently.

Thailand, a country which has been praised by the WHO for its success in battling the spread of COVID19, has a compulsory 14-day quarantine in place for anyone flying into the country. The quarantine involves two tests, one towards the beginning of the quarantine and the other towards the end of the 14 days. Travellers flying to Thailand are also supposed to get a certificate showing that they are free of COVID19 before they get on the plane. And whilst COVID19 has been discovered in the first test, a considerable number of carriers have only been discovered on the second test.

Unlike Thailand, the United Kingdom has a constantly evolving and porous quarantine system in place which exempts many professions, relies on the individual being honest and doing the self-isolation as outlined, and only covers countries that are deemed high risk by the UK government.

In a press conference in July, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, "No country can get control of its epidemic if it doesn’t know where the virus is. As we have said many times, so-called lockdown measures can help to reduce transmission, but they cannot completely stop it. Contact tracing is essential for finding and isolating cases and identifying and quarantining their contacts ... Contact tracing is essential for every country, in every situation. It can prevent individual cases from becoming clusters, and clusters turning into community transmission. Even countries with community transmission can make progress by breaking down their epidemics into manageable parts. This is all the more critical as countries are opening up ... With strong leadership, community engagement, and a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission and save lives, COVID19 can be stopped. We do not have to wait for a vaccine. We have to save lives now."

Many airlines have now started offering a COVID19 insurance to passengers designed to build confidence and reduce anxiety amongst travellers. Some have also negotiated discounts for customers to get tested if the destination they are flying to needs a certificate.

IATA has said that it does not see COVID19 testing becoming a permanent fixture in the air travel experience, but it will likely be needed in the medium-term for air travel to re-establish itself.

de Juniac said, “Many see the development of a vaccine as the panacea for the pandemic. It will certainly be an important step, but even after an effective vaccine is globally recognized, ramping up production and distribution is likely to take many months. Testing will be a much-needed interim solution.”

 

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