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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Signum Hotels & Resorts announced its expansion in Rajasthan with Signum Eco Dera Resort & Spa, Jaipur. This is the company's second property in Rajasthan. The resort is located 70 kms south of Jaipur, near Malpura town.

Spread over 10 acres of land, Signum Eco Dera Resort & Spa is a 36-room property offering the intertwined charms of heritage as well as modernity.

On the hotel launch, Mehul Sharma, Founder & CEO, Signum Hotels & Resorts said, “we are happy to expand our footprint in the state of Rajasthan. Though times are challenging but leisure travel will still be the first segment to bounce back as soon as the current pandemic surge subsides. We are hopeful the current situation will improve, and business will be back on track soon.”  

The resort is also an ideal wellness escape. The hotel spa offers a range of ayurvedic treatments to help relax and rejuvenate. It offers multiple event venues that can accommodate from 80 to 3000 pax. Guests can choose to organise events indoor or plan a more lavish, yet intimate celebration outdoors at the open-air amphitheatre with a picture-perfect mountain view as the backdrop.

FAITH, the Policy Federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India has made suggestions to Finance Ministry, RBI & Tourism Ministry on ECLGS 3.0, introduced on 31st March, 2021, the special credit guarantee window created for tourism, travel and hospitality. 

First recommendation draws attention towards the Borrower Status. As per the guidelines issued under clause 4 & clause 7, under clause 1 in the NCGTC letter and in the FAQs number 8 & number 109, this scheme proposes to extend support to tourism, travel & hospitality accounts which were classified as regular, SMA -0 & SMA -1 and whose DPD (days past due ) were not beyond 60 days as on 29th Feb 2020. 

However, clause 19 of the operational guidelines mentions that the scheme will not be applicable to accounts classified as NPAs ‘as on’ date of disbursement would not be eligible. This clause is inherently contradictory to the proposed spirit of the scheme which is to help borrowers by assessing their accounts on a pre- pandemic status. 

All Government data whether that of GST or of income tax repeatedly has highlighted and affirms that tourism, travel & hospitality is the worst hit sector and there has been negligible to NIL business for majority during the 13 months period since the time pandemic struck India.

Thus, FAITH has suggested to reissue the necessary instructions to have that clause 19 issued in operational guidelines of the scheme to be immediately annulled as it is sending a contradictory message to all MLIs (member lending institutions)

The second recommendation is on Calculation of outstanding. FAITH seeks to consider eligible outstandings for tourism, travel & hospitality as an average of 11 months of FY 2020 (April 1st 2019 - February 29th 2020) as just against the outstandings as of 29th Feb 2020. 

The rationale for the same is that October - February is traditionally the peak tourism season in India and thus credit outstanding levels are usually the lowest during February. Accordingly, an 11 months average of outstandings would enable a correct need assessment of the Indian tourism, travel & hospitality enterprises as it would balance out the off- seasons and the peak season accordingly. 

The third recommendation is on Moratorium on Interest. There is no moratorium on Interest on funds drawn under this scheme and it has to be paid as per clause 10 of the Guidelines and clause 16 of the FAQS. 

FAITH highlighted that due to the second wave of the pandemic there is literally no domestic tourism business. This is on top of complete shutdown of all other segments of tourism - inbound , outbound , corporate and also group tourism business. Without any business, it is practically impossible for tourism, travel & hospitality entities to generate cash flows and to service interest. 

It therefore requests allow moratorium on interest too to enable drawdown under the proposed scheme.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has issued enabling guidelines to facilitate the vaccination program in a fast and efficient manner to ensure timely vaccination of the aviation community. During the COVID-19 surge, the aviation community has worked tirelessly to ensure unhindered services for the movement of people in need and essential cargo including critical medical cargo like vaccines, medicines, Oxygen Concentrators, etc. Secretary, Civil Aviation sent a letter earlier to all the State Governments with a request to consider the personnel involved in aviation and related services as a priority group under the vaccination program.

As per the guidelines, all players in Civil Aviation Sector would be advised to cover their personnel under the ongoing vaccination program. Guidelines further state that the organizations which have already made arrangements with Government/Private service providers for the vaccination to their employees may continue to do so.

Further, a dedicated vaccination facility is advised to be established by the Airport Operators in their respective airports to facilitate expeditious vaccination for the personnel involved in aviation or related services (including the contractual, casual, etc.). It is stated that the Airport Operator should immediately contact State Governments/Private Service Providers (Hospitals), who are willing to set up Covid Vaccination Centres at Airports.

The guidelines state that required facilities like setting up of vaccination counters, segregated waiting area (pre as well as post-vaccination) are to be established by the Airport Operators. Basic facilities for the personnel visiting (help desk, drinking water, ventilation fans, washrooms, etc.) to be arranged following COVID safety protocols. The cost per vaccination dose can be decided by the Airport Operator with the service provider. These facilities would be available for all aviation sector stakeholders at the same cost. It further states that all agencies working in the airports eco-system need to sponsor their personnel to avail the facilities as operators/service providers would not be dealing with individual cases. Further, online Payment mechanism to the service provider for vaccine doses administered for their respective personnel has been advised to be devised.

It is stated that for the smaller airports (where the numbers to get vaccinated are less and private players do not find it viable), the Airport Operators can approach the District/local Administration for extending the vaccination program. The facilities created by Airport Operator would be available for all the Civil Aviation Personnel in first phase and can be extended to the family members subsequently.

The guidelines suggest that priority should be made to cover the ATC, crew of airlines (both cockpit and cabin), mission critical and passenger facing staff on priority. All Airport Operators have been advised to designate a nodal officer (an alternative nodal officer may also be kept in readiness) for coordinating the efforts.

The guidelines said that Chairman, AAI will hold regular meetings to review the progress and coordinate with the Ministry and DGCA to address issues and challenges. If there is an issue of vaccine availability Ministry would take up at appropriate level for smooth supply.

FAITH, the Policy Federation of all the national associations representing the complete tourism, travel and hospitality industry of India has made suggestions to Finance Ministry, RBI & Tourism Ministry on ECLGS 3.0, introduced on 31st March, 2021, the special credit guarantee window created for tourism, travel and hospitality.  

First recommendation draws attention towards the Borrower Status. As per the guidelines issued under clause 4 & clause 7, under clause 1 in the NCGTC letter and in the FAQs number 8 & number 109, this scheme proposes to extend support to tourism, travel & hospitality accounts which were classified as regular, SMA -0 & SMA -1 and whose DPD (days past due ) were not beyond 60 days as on 29th Feb 2020.  

However, clause 19 of the operational guidelines mentions that the scheme will not be applicable to accounts classified as NPAs ‘as on’ date of disbursement would not be eligible. This clause is inherently contradictory to the proposed spirit of the scheme which is to help borrowers by assessing their accounts on a pre- pandemic status.  

All Government data whether that of GST or of income tax repeatedly has highlighted and affirms that tourism, travel & hospitality is the worst hit sector and there has been negligible to NIL business for majority during the 13 months period since the time pandemic struck India.

Thus, FAITH has suggested to reissue the necessary instructions to have that clause 19 issued in operational guidelines of the scheme to be immediately annulled as it is sending a contradictory message to all MLIs (member lending institutions)

The second recommendation is on Calculation of outstanding. FAITH seeks to consider eligible outstandings for tourism, travel & hospitality as an average of 11 months of FY 2020 (April 1st 2019 - February 29th 2020) as just against the outstandings as of 29th Feb 2020.  

The rationale for the same is that October - February is traditionally the peak tourism season in India and thus credit outstanding levels are usually the lowest during February. Accordingly, an 11 months average of outstandings would enable a correct need assessment of the Indian tourism, travel & hospitality enterprises as it would balance out the off- seasons and the peak season accordingly.  

The third recommendation is on Moratorium on Interest. There is no moratorium on Interest on funds drawn under this scheme and it has to be paid as per clause 10 of the Guidelines and clause 16 of the FAQS.  

FAITH highlighted that due to the second wave of the pandemic there is literally no domestic tourism business. This is on top of complete shutdown of all other segments of tourism - inbound , outbound , corporate and also group tourism business. Without any business, it is practically impossible for tourism, travel & hospitality entities to generate cash flows and to service interest.  

It therefore requests allow moratorium on interest too to enable drawdown under the proposed scheme.

As the humanitarian crisis in India worsens, British Airways has flown a Boeing 777-200 aircraft loaded with emergency aid to Delhi to support the Indian government as the country continues to battle rising Coronavirus cases with dwindling oxygen supplies.

The airline commissioned a special project team to organise the flight (BA257F), which landed in Delhi at 5.45am (local time) on Thursday May 6. The aircraft loaded with more than a thousand items from the High Commission of India and charities including Khalsa Aid International and the largest Hindu Temple outside of India, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in Neasden, London. The load includes hundreds of urgent life-saving oxygen cylinders and shipments of oxygen concentrators, respirators and blood oxygen saturation monitors. British Airways is also donating care packages for families in need.

While IAG Cargo and British Airways have maintained a vital air link between London and India throughout the pandemic, sending aid on scheduled flights, this air lift is a special charter, fully funded by the two companies. 

Sean Doyle, Chief Executive and CEO, British Airways, said, “The British Airways family has been deeply affected by the terrible scenes in India of the deepening humanitarian crisis that has impacted the lives of many of our people. We are fortunate to be in a position to help transport aid and I am so proud of the volunteers from across the airline and IAG Cargo who have stepped up to make this happen. We continue to stand with our friends in India as the country endures one of the worst crises it has ever known.”

British Airways works in partnership with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is organising the UK’s humanitarian response.  Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said, “The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to respond quickly and effectively to disasters, with the fantastic support of partners in the corporate sector, including British Airways. We are hugely grateful to British Airways for springing into action to support our emergency appeals, enabling us to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in India and elsewhere across the world when disaster strikes.”

Captain Minesh Patel, a member of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple, has been instrumental in helping to organise the flight and is commanding the relief service.  He said, “It seemed natural to connect British Airways with the wealth of aid and relief material amassed by BAPS in the UK to enable the medical supplies to reach the organisation’s volunteers in India who can provide relief, medical and social aid to the victims in the worst affected regions.”

The airline’s people have also raised several thousand pounds for the DEC’s appeal through internal online donations.

Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (I/c) Prahlad Singh Patel participated in G20 Tourism Ministers' Meeting held in Italy on 4th May 2021. The Minister congratulated Massimo Garavaglia, Minister of Tourism, and Government of Italy for holding G20 Tourism Ministers' Meeting in these difficult times and also thanked him for bringing together the member States for a dialogue to collaborate in protecting tourism businesses, jobs and taking initiatives to frame policy guidelines to support the sustainable and resilient recovery of travel and tourism.

Patel said that tourism has been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with unprecedented impact on jobs, businesses, communities and the wider economy. He appreciated and supported the focus of the Italian G20 Presidency on recovery and ensuring new opportunities for People, Planet and Prosperity by putting in place Guidelines on the seven key interrelated policy areas: Safe mobility, Crisis management, Resilience, Inclusiveness, Green transformation, Digital transition and Investment and infrastructure which are comprehensive and relevant for resilient, sustainable and inclusive tourism framed with the support of the OECD. He also conveyed India’s support for the Principles for the transition to a green travel and tourism economy submitted by UNWTO as a further contribution to the policy area “Green Transformation” to embrace sustainability in tourism.

Patel also highlighted the initiatives taken by Ministry of Tourism to promote community-based tourism and rural tourism by involving local population in the employment opportunities and income generating activities through sustainable and responsible tourism. Post COVID, the Ministry’s focus would be on promoting off-beat destinations and places such as nature and eco-tourism, wildlife, wellness retreats, mountaineering and trekking among others. Besides, India has a strong and vibrant system of traditional medicines, which provide for holistic healing. India would like to offer to the world, post COVID-19, calm, peace and health through Yoga, Ayurveda and other forms of traditional treatments and spiritual surroundings.  The Minister expressed optimism that the tourism sector would fully recover from the impact of COVID 19 disruption and the sector will emerge stronger post COVID with the roll out of vaccination programs across the countries.

The Minister concluded with the thanks to the Italian G20 Presidency for its leadership and India will continue its support and cooperation to ensure further progress under Indonesia’s G20 Presidency in 2022.

IndiGo has transported a total of 4142 oxygen concentrators weighing about 72461.5 kg, within and across the country. Out of the total oxygen concentrators, as many as 2717 have been airlifted from Thailand, China, Qatar, Hong Kong, and Singapore to India, while 1425 oxygen concentrators have been transported domestically between 36 airports. A massive load of other medical supplies was also flown in with the help of IndiGo CarGo team, to support the country amidst the shortage of medical equipment in the wake of a severe second wave.

Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer and Wholetime Director, IndiGo said, “We recognize that having access to oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders has become a life and death situation for many of our fellow countrymen. In this crisis situation IndiGo is going all out, pursuing every lead, responding to each request, using our offices in every country to scour for oxygen concentrators and cylinders and transporting them to our cities and towns. We will leave no stone unturned in utilizing our aircraft and our highly trained, dedicated employees to secure this critical resource at this time of need”.

The flight 6E1702 airlifted a total of 20 pieces of CarGo from Doha to Delhi on Apr 30, 2021, while flight 6E9657, 6E9691 airlifted a total of 808 pcs of CarGo from Hong Kong to Delhi. Flight 6E9650, 6E9802/7302 and 6E9024 transported 36, 1851 and 02 pieces from Bangkok, Guangzhou, and Singapore to Delhi, respectively.

IndiGo has also transported a total of 1,60,596 kg of COVID vaccine shipments between January 12 to May 03, 2021. The airline will continue to fly in oxygen concentrators to and within the country to ease the shortage of medical equipment.

Sarovar Hotels and Resorts, has launched self-isolation facility “Stay Safe Stay Healthy” where guests can book themselves, for self-isolation or quarantine, to support the healthcare system of the nation.

Guests, who have relocated to a new city, want a quiet place to ‘work from hotel’, self-quarantine themselves or want a safe and comfortable zone to stay, can head to the nearest Sarovar Hotel and utilize the self-quarantine facilities as required. The hotels are well- equipped, with all requirements, for institutional quarantine, along with exceptional cleanliness & hygiene measures.

“Stay Safe Stay Healthy” program is currently launched in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Faridabad and Ghaziabad with more than 24 hotels providing the facility.

UNWTO has served as tourism’s global voice as the Tourism Ministers of the G20 nations met to devise a way forward for an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable recovery for the sector.

Upon assuming Presidency of the G20, Italy has drawn on UNWTO data to highlight the impact the pandemic has had on tourist numbers globally and how this translates into lost jobs and revenues, as well as lost opportunities for social development.

Addressing the meeting, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, stressed the continued need for coordination at the very highest level, in order to advance “common, harmonized criteria for the easing of travel restrictions, and for increased investment in systems that support safe travel, including testing on departure and on arrival.”

With the crisis far from over, the Secretary-General welcomed the G20 Rome Guidelines for the Future of Tourism and called for “schemes aimed at supporting the survival of tourism jobs and businesses to be sustained and, wherever possible, expanded, especially as millions of livelihoods continue to be at risk”.

Italy’s Minister of Tourism, Massimo Garavaglia, outlined the G20’s priorities, including safe mobility, supporting tourism jobs and businesses, building resilience against future shocks, and advancing the green transformation of the sector. Furthermore, the Tourism Ministers recalled that the current crisis represents an opportunity to rethink and restart tourism, with an emphasis on guiding the sector towards greater sustainability.

Rethinking tourism

In addition to ensuring the safe restart of international travel and supporting jobs and businesses, the G20 Tourism Ministers committed to taking action in driving the digital transformation of the sector, with particular reference to ensuring everyone has fair access to the opportunities that will come from greater innovation, and in promoting more investment in green tourism infrastructure.

The new UNWTO Recommendations for the Transition to a Green Travel and Tourism Economy, developed in partnership with the G20 Tourism Working Group, were identified as a key resource for advancing progress in the policy area of “Green Transformation” of the world’s leading economies. The Recommendations present the main lines of action and showcase frontrunning initiatives of tourism businesses and destinations leading the way in achieving greater sustainability while also outlining steps that can help tourism recover from the worst crisis in its history safely and responsibly.

UNWTO will continue to work with the Italian G20 Presidency as well as the previous and forthcoming presidencies, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, in advancing the contribution of tourism to the G20 objectives.

With a peak in daily cases across the country, COVID-19 has led to a shortage of safe spaces for the underprivileged during their recovery from COVID-19. GiveIndia and OYO Care have launched a fundraising campaign #ShelterForAll with an aim to raise INR 10 crore to offer rooms as isolation and quarantine shelters for COVID-19 positive patients in need.

Through this initiative, GiveIndia will begin with opening doors to three dedicated OYO Care properties as quarantine centers with meals in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon/Delhi NCR for symptomatic as well as asymptomatic COVID-19 patients during their recovery. As the campaign progresses towards its goal, more and more hotel partners will be equipped to turn their properties into quarantine facilities across cities

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Atul Satija, CEO, GiveIndia said, “During such distressing times, this is a unique and meaningful campaign with the support of OYO Care for the neglected segments of our society. While patients who need critical care are running out of beds and oxygen, those who are positive and mildly symptomatic are also in grave need for spaces to recover. A huge chunk of the population in our country doesn’t have the means to find a shelter when recovering or isolating themselves at home or can’t afford facilities available outside their homes. We hope this campaign will raise awareness of underprivileged COVID-19 patients, their basic right to shelter for isolation and a chance to recover. We also have several other campaigns running in parallel to boost oxygen supply, support the families of COVID-19 deceased, among others. We hope that partners like OYO Care come forward to help us help those in need.”

 

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