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The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai continues its commitment towards making the city of Mumbai a world class tourist destination, by furthering the Gateway of India Precinct Project. This unique project, which is in its second year, is working with the Mumbai Municipal Corporation, the Mumbai Heritage Committee and the Ministry of Tourism with the objective of making The Gateway of India precinct a world class locality.
Taljinder Singh, Area Director, Mumbai Hotels and General Manager, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai who heads this Project said, “The Taj Mahal Palace has been synonymous with Mumbai’s heritage and has defined the city’s skyline twenty years before the Gateway of India came to be. We are proud to be leading this project and hope to make the Gateway of India precinct a world class precinct that measures up to global standards.”
The Gateway of India Precinct Conservation Project, divided in three phases also aims to ultimately get a world heritage precinct recognition for the area. In the first phase, which is currently ongoing, the hotel is initiating the Swatch Bharat initiative which includes manual cleaning of the entire area around the hotel till the Radio Club, including the roads and pavements in the area. Apart from this, the restoration of 46 heritage light poles, installation of heritage traffic bollards and basic static lighting of the Gateway of India monument are also part of the project. In the second phase, the committee plans to work towards elimination of visible pollution from the water, uniform shop frontages, ensure basic cleaning of the blue basalt stone on the sea front and promenade, besides adoption and restoration of the footpaths on P. Ramchandani Marg and undertaking uniform horticulture in the entire precinct. The final phase will eventually include the adoption of the Gateway of India monument, its restoration, annual cleaning and lighting.
Bloom Hotels (“Bloom”) is swiftly moving ahead with its expansion plans after a primary capital injection of Rs 100 crores by Samena Capital in the company’s Series B investment round. The investment values Bloom at 330 crores and will help roll out the company’s innovative affordable brands to all Indian cities. With this investment Samena Capital has taken a 35 per cent stake in Bloom Hotels.
After pioneering its unique hotel concepts across key India markets like Bengaluru, New Delhi, Gurgaon and Goa, Bloom has recently picked up the pace of expansion in pursuit of its aim to set up 100 hotels across South Asia. The expansion coincides with India becoming the world’s third-largest airline market. Demand growth is also being driven by the emerging middle income group and growing discretionary consumption.
Shirish Saraf, Founder and Vice-Chairman, Samena Capital said, “We are delighted to partner with Bloom, a truly differentiated company that can bring transformational change to the industry. Bloom has proven its unique business model by achieving operational profitability across its current portfolio in a very short period of time.”
Sanjeev Sethi, COO, Bloom said, “We are proud to have Samena on board as we grow the Bloom brand across South Asia in quick time. We look forward to benefiting from the Samena team’s proven track record in working with consumer facing companies at the high growth stage.”
As part of the pan India roll out, in February this year, Bloom Hotels opened two properties in Calangute, Goa. This included the official launch of the newly minted BloomSuites brand at a 140-room hotel. The company has also lined up hotel launches in 20 other locations across the country, from Hyderabad to Kochi to Mumbai.
Airbnb launched the “Office of Healthy Tourism”, a global initiative to drive local, authentic and sustainable tourism in countries and cities across the globe. Along with the launch of the Office, Airbnb is also releasing data that shows the benefits of healthy tourism for hosts, guests and cities around the world, as well as announcing the creation of its new Tourism Advisory Board, which will be made up of travel industry leaders from around the world.
“With travel and tourism growing faster than most of the rest of economy, it is critical that as many people as possible are benefiting - and right now not all tourism is created equal. To democratize the benefits of travel, Airbnb offers a healthy alternative to the mass travel that has plagued cities for decades,” says Airbnb’s Global Head of Policy and Communications, Chris Lehane.
Travelers can now book inaugural season itineraries aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest ship, launching in February 2020. The first voyage beginning on February 7th, 2020 will take guests on an unforgettable 14-night transatlantic journey from Barcelona to Miami.
"For Seven Seas Splendor’s inaugural season, we included voyages to destinations that are as extraordinary as the ship herself,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Based on guest response to our current itineraries through the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and North America, we anticipate these new offerings will be popular among both new and repeat guests wanting the exclusive opportunity to be one of the first to sail on the newest luxury ship in our fleet.”
The inaugural season reveals a lineup featuring a variety of destination-rich itineraries calling on iconic locations throughout the Caribbean, North America and the Mediterranean. Through free unlimited shore excursions, guests will have opportunities to explore renowned museums and famous landmarks on every voyage. The ship will visit highly sought-after ports of call such as San Juan, Barcelona, Cabo San Lucas, New York, Saint-Tropez, Portofino, Los Angeles, Dubrovnik, Amalfi/Positano, Corfu and Cartagena.
After her first transatlantic voyage on February 7, Seven Seas Splendor crosses through the Panama Canal on her way from Miami to Los Angeles on February 25, 2020, and calls on storied places like Cartagena and anchors along the stunning coastline of Cabo San Lucas. Then, she offers guests the opportunity to traverse the mighty canal west to east, as she sails from Los Angeles to Miami on March 14, 2020. Guests will call on romantic Catalina Island, Acapulco and Puntarenas, among the 8 ports on this 16-night itinerary.
Back on the Atlantic coast, she embarks on a spring sojourn between Miami and New York on April 1, 2020. Highlights of this voyage include an overnight call on Oranjestad, Aruba and Charleston, South Carolina, before arriving in the midst of the cosmopolitan bustle of the Big Apple. Then, from New York, she sets her course toward Barcelona, departing April 16, 2020 for 14 nights.
Beginning April 30, Seven Seas Splendor begins her inaugural Mediterranean season from Palamos to Toulon to Kotor.
SriLankan Airlines and Air Seychelles have entered into a Special Prorate Agreement that will enhance their respective route networks and provide greater travel options in a seamless manner to passengers of both airlines with effect from 1st April 2018.
Capt. Suren Ratwatte, CEO of SriLankan Airlines, said: “We are indeed happy to embark upon this partnership with Air Seychelles, which we are confident will be a win-win situation for both airlines and most of all to our valued customers. For SriLankan’s passengers, this will allow easy access to three new destinations in South Africa, Mauritius and Madagascar via Seychelles, while customers of Air Seychelles will have enhanced options to connect to India and the Far East on SriLankan flights.”
Remco Althuis, CEO of Air Seychelles, said: “We are delighted to begin working together with SriLankan Airlines as our new interline partner. This deal will provide our guests with more travel options to Asia and, on the reverse side, allow travellers flying with SriLankan Airlines to connect onto our Indian Ocean network. Partnerships such as this are essential in widening our reach and providing more value to travellers.”
Passengers on SriLankan Airlines will have expanded options to fly on Air Seychelles to Johannesburg, Mauritius, Madagascar and the domestic destination of Praslin in the Seychelles; Passengers travelling with Air Seychelles (www.airseychelles.com) will be able to purchase through-tickets for SriLankan Airlines flights from Seychelles to Colombo, and onwards to Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged aviation stakeholders to follow global standards and make greater use of operational data in order to safely accommodate an additional 3.8 billion air travelers by 2036.
Speaking at the Safety and Flight Operations Conference, IATA’s Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, “Over the next 20 years, we expect to see a near doubling of passengers from the approximately 4 billion who traveled in 2017. Managing this growth, while making aviation even safer than it already is, will be a massive undertaking.”
De Juniac noted that 2017 was a very strong year for safety. There were no fatal accidents involving jet passenger aircraft and the fatal accident rate was 0.14 per million flights--the equivalent of one fatal accident for every 6.7 million flights--according, to IATA’s just released 2017 Safety Report.
“If we look at it another way--using fatality risk--on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 6,033 years before experiencing an accident in which at least one passenger was killed. Yet we still have accidents, so we know there is room for improvement. Each fatality is a tragedy. And that rededicates everyone in the aviation industry to our common goal of having every flight take-off and land safely,” said de Juniac.
Global standards and best practices are vital to sustaining safety improvements. This is demonstrated by the performance of airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry. “Now in its fifteenth year, IOSA is the recognized global standard for operational safety. Over the last five years, the accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry has been nearly three times better than for non-IOSA airlines,” said de Juniac.
“As the number of accidents declines, future safety advances primarily will lie in achieving a better understanding of what happens in the more than 100,000 flights operating safely every day, through analysis of flight information and other data resources. IATA’s Global Aviation Data Management initiative is a crucial part of this effort. The GADM program now includes information from over 470 different organizations. Over 90% of IATA members are contributing to at least one of the GADM databases,” said de Juniac.
De Juniac also said that IATA is developing a global database of turbulence reports to provide airlines with an enhanced situational awareness tool. “When our innovative turbulence data repository is operational early next year we expect to see a significant decrease in turbulence-related injuries.”
Nijhawan Group in partnership with Turkish Airlines recently conducted a familiarization trip for top travel agents from India. The aim was to increase the knowledge of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a versatile tourist destination and to ensure the better visibility amongst travel trade fraternity in India.
The travel trade partners who participated in the FAM trip from India were Cox and Kings, Thomas Cook, N Chirag Travels, Carnation Travels, Pacific World, Khanna Enterprises, Krisia Holidays and Aurora Travels. The group visited Sarajevo, Blagaj, Mostar, Mokka Gora, Zlatibor and Belgrade. The trip aimed at showcasing some of the best hotels to the agents educating them about the various offerings Bosnia as tourist destination has in the luxury living space. This trip will help the travel agents to create their customized itineraries with different experiences which will further result in promoting Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is an unexplored destination.
Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director, Nijhawan Group said that “The group who participated in the FAM trip loved Bosnia as a tourist destination, its properties, various attractions and cuisine. We look forward to reengaging and working with these valuable partners in 2018 and beyond.”
Marriott International will introduce one set of unified benefits across Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) for its members in August 2018. This will create an incredibly rich hospitality loyalty program in which members will earn more points faster than under the prior programs -- on average 20 per cent more points for every dollar spent.
For the first time, members will have access to book stays and earn or redeem points among 29 participating global brands comprising 6,500 hotels in 127 countries and territories. “We listened to the travel aspirations of our members and set our sights on unlocking the full potential of our loyalty programs,” said David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, Marriott International. “We are excited to announce that this August, our members can enjoy one set of benefits across our extraordinary portfolio of hotels from iconic full and select service, to extended stay, to unique boutiques and luxury brands. We hope to inspire our members whatever their travel passion, whether it is resorts featuring overwater bungalows, peaceful secluded island settings, ski-in / ski-out mountain resorts, towering hotels with picture-worthy views or even former palaces converted into hotels.”
Beginning in August, members will be able to combine their separate Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and SPG accounts into a single account spanning the entire loyalty portfolio. The Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) names will continue to live on under the new set of unified benefits until a new program name is introduced in 2019.
“There are no more important customers than our loyalty members,” said Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer, Marriott International. “With good news for our members, we decided to announce the new benefits now and launch them as quickly as possible, so members could take full advantage. At the same time, we will continue to introduce more exclusive member experiences throughout the year on our Moments platforms.”
icanstay.com has successfully raised fresh round of funding of Rs 1.30 crore from an angel investor Manoj Prasad, Executive Chairman at Singapore-based venture capital and management advisory firm MP Morgan Capital Partners. This is addition to Rs 2.24 crore raised few months earlier from the same investor who has picked up 6.54 per cent stake in the company. The overall funds acquired are $550,000. This investment values FTTL at more than Rs 36 crore in a short span of just nine months since its commercial launch.
Commenting on his investment, Prasad said, “We see tremendous growth opportunities in the travel and hospitality space in India. FTTL is an exciting start-up with a unique model that brings value to all its stakeholders – customers as well as hotels and is well positioned for growth. We are excited to partner with such an exceptional management team and continue to build and grow this business over the long term.”
Puneet Gupta, COO and Co-Founder, FTTL said, that the investment would be utilized to beef up the technology and expand hotel network. We are strongly placed to help hotels fill their vacant rooms and increase their yield per room. Further we are continuously strengthening our product offering and user experience. We are targeting a turnover of Rs. 700 crores by 2020.”
Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) has launched ‘L.A. Insider,’ a new online training tool for travel trade professionals. The program has been designed to help travel trade across the globe better sell the city and stay up-to-date with its latest offerings by means of international market-specific modules.
"We’re proud to launch such an advanced training program, one that will help our clients discover L.A. like an insider and sell L.A. like an expert,” said Ashlee Ciora, Senior Director, Tourism. “Los Angeles’ welcoming spirit, celebration of diversity and perfect weather are bringing visitors in greater numbers. New restaurants, attractions and hotels are opening up quickly to meet demand and it can be difficult to stay on top of all the new developments – L.A. Insider aims to provide the travel trade with a one-stop-shop platform for everything they need.”
A record 48.3 million tourists visited L.A. in 2017, a figure that is expected to reach 50 million by 2020.
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