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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) and its field offices are organising and supporting different tourism promotion events under Dekho ApnaDesh Campaign showcasing various tourism assets and products of the country with aim to create awareness among the stake holders and citizens.

MoT’s Indiatourism Kochi Office in association with Kerala Homestays and Tourism Society (HATS), organized a workshop for sensitizing homestay/B&B unit owners on Ministry’s scheme for homestays/B&B units. The workshop also imparted information on NIDHI &SAATHI certification which was specially introduced for hospitality industry.

Indiatourism Bengaluru Office organised a Domestic Tourism Road Show in Bengaluru on 22nd February 2021 to showcase the tourism potential of Buddhist Circuits and pilgrimage destinations in Uttar Pradesh.

Indiatourism Mumbai Office has participated in a tourism exhibition in Pune from 23-24 February 2021 showcasing varied tourism products of India and dissemination of information to the Visitors. This is the 2nd exhibition in the Western Region that Indiatourism Mumbai will participate in Physical mode after unlocking of destinations.

Indiatourism Hyderabad and Varanasi offices jointly organised "Visit Uttar Pradesh" Roadshow on 24th February 2021 in Hyderabad under Dekho Apna Desh. 17 travel trade representatives from Buddhist Inbound Tourism Fraternity (BITF) participated in the Raodshow with Travel Trade from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Indiatourism Delhi Office organised a field trip cum for the Regional Level Guides to Sundar Nursery in wherein 70 RLG participated. Regional Director briefed them about MoT initiative in promoting Domestic Tourism and participation of RLGs in Sharing their experience.

Workshop on River Tourism was organized by Indiatourism, Guwahati. The workshop was attended by 35 stakeholders and emphasized the importance of river cruises / cruise tourism in North-East Region and in India.

China's total hotel construction pipeline dipped slightly at the end of Q4 2020 to stand at 3,375 projects/639,811 rooms, down 4% by projects and 1% by rooms year-over-year (YOY).

This is the second quarter off the peak reached in Q2 ’20, where construction pipeline totals stood at 3,574 projects/647,704 rooms. However, due to China’s robust manufacturing and export industry, their GDP has remained strong throughout the pandemic, as has their construction industry.

China currently has 2,293 projects/413,874 rooms under construction, an increase of 3% by projects and 2% by rooms over last quarter’s totals. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 641 projects/116,884. Projects in the early planning stage stand at 441 projects/109,053 rooms, down an incremental 1% YOY.

The country opened 910 hotels/114,502 rooms in 2020. In Q4 2020, China saw 176 new hotels accounting for 25,442 rooms open. LE is forecasting another 840 projects/131,197 rooms to open in 2021 and 994 projects/169,716 rooms to open in 2022.

Chengdu leads China’s hotel construction pipeline with 133 projects/27,304 rooms. Next is Shanghai at 130 projects/25,215 rooms, followed by Guangzhou with 125 projects/25,139 rooms, then Wuhan with 103 projects/13,890 rooms and Xi'an with 89 projects/16,006 rooms. 

Franchise companies topping China's construction pipeline are Hilton Worldwide with project and room record totals of 551 projects/109,254 rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), is also recording all-time high project counts with 425 projects/90,630 rooms, and Marriott International, is setting record high project and room counts as well, with 381 projects/104,485 rooms. Next is JinJiang Holdings with 249 projects/24,865 rooms and AccorHotels with 196 projects/34,263 rooms.  

Hilton Worldwide’s top brands are Hampton by Hilton, at an all-time high, with 327 projects/49,909 rooms. Hilton's second-largest brand, also with an all-time high project count, is Hilton Garden Inn with 70 projects/15,228 rooms. IHG's leading brand in China is Holiday Inn Express with 198 projects/33,255 rooms and then Holiday Inn, with a record number of projects and rooms, at 71 projects/17,520 rooms.

Marriott International's top brands are Marriott Hotel & Resorts with 62 projects/18,831 rooms and Sheraton Hotel, at an all-time high, with 61 projects/18,633 rooms. Leading brands for JinJiang Holdings are 7 Days Inn with 106 projects/8,341 rooms followed by Vienna Hotel with 61 projects/5,962 rooms. AccorHotels' leading brands are the Ibis brands with 75 projects/7,942 rooms and Mercure Hotel with 54 projects/9,004 rooms. 

Kochouseph Chittilappilly, Chairman Emeritus of V-Guard Industries Ltd, has made an investment in Kerala based travel technology start-up Verteil Technologies as part of its Pre-Series A funding round.

Founded by Jerrin Jos & Satheesh Satchit, Verteil Technologies is a travel technology company transforming the 40 years’ old legacy airline distribution space with its state-of-the-art retailing and distribution platform for Airlines using the new distribution capability (NDC) standards promulgated by IATA. Within a short span of time, Verteil has on-boarded more than 26 leading airlines from around the Globe. This includes the likes of Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, British Airways, and Singapore Airlines making it the world’s leading player in the new distribution ecosystem. Verteil operates from Kochi, Kerala and has an operating unit in Tokyo, Japan. Verteil has sales presence all over the world including USA, UK, Middle East, China, Hong Kong. The investment banking for this deal was done by Finlead Services, a boutique investment banking firm in Kochi and an early angel investor in Verteil Technologies. Bluebell Group is leading this Pre-Series A funding round for Verteil Technologies.

A beneficiary of the vibrant start-up ecosystem in Kerala, Verteil has been backed by Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and actively supported by Kerala Startup Mission in the formative years. The amount of the Pre-Series A Round was undisclosed. Verteil will use the money raised for onboarding more airlines into the platform and will invest further in technology to augment additional features to the current product.

Jerrin Jos, Founder & CEO, Verteil, said, “We are elated to on-board Kochouseph Chittilappilly in our mission to drive the largest transformation that the airline distribution has seen in decades. Our platform unleashes the retailing and merchandising capability of the airlines and we are onboarding more and more airlines as we move ahead. Both airlines and travel companies understand that direct connect is the future of airline distribution and we are seeing rapid adoption of our product across the globe, despite Covid-19. This investment has come at the right time and it will help us broaden the platform capabilities as customers continue adoption of our technology”

“Verteil Technologies has demonstrated excellence in building a truly world class technology product. Airline technology space has high entry barriers in terms of technology and domain expertise, and we are happy and excited to see Verteil’s product being adopted by several global airlines and large travel companies across the world. Kerala has an abundance of entrepreneurs and skilled engineers & we hope to see more such enterprises coming up in Kerala”, said Kochouseph Chittilappilly.

With the number of states and countries being added for testing, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) has taken a step further towards passenger safety by not only allowing Mylab Discovery Solutions a space to set up the RT-PCR testing counter, but also to facilitate the processing of the sample for a quick turnaround. The counter is set up at Level 1 of the Terminal (East Side) for the international passengers, while for the domestic passengers, the counter is set up at the arrival corridor. The additional facility is introduced for the convenience and offering a speedy report to the arriving passengers.

Mylab Discovery Solutions’ facility was inaugurated on February 22 for both international and domestic passengers arriving at the airport. The lab provides passengers with test results within eight hours at a minimal cost of Rs. 850. The diagnostic lab offers passengers an efficient turnaround time of generating the reports as it provides a unique solution of undertaking the test, processing the sample, and generating the report within stipulated time frame.  The facility is in compliance with the standard of ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) certified agency for testing COVID-19 samples.

CSMIA currently hosts three testing facilities at the terminal, which are handled by Suburban Diagnostics, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd. and Lifenity Wellness International limited. Further, the airport has 30 counters of testing facilities wherein 12 counters are set up for international travellers and 18 counters for domestic passengers. Additionally, these counters are equipped with molecular testing facilities that offers passengers the option to process their test results in 13 minutes post sample collection. The express test is available at Rs. 4500 and aims to provide the arriving passengers with a quick and accurate diagnosis.

With an aim to ease the travel experience, CSMIA is striving to facilitate passengers with the best-in-class services. CSMIA continues to follow all protocols laid down by the government and maintains the highest standard of hygiene along with all necessary standard operating procedures to curb the spread of the virus. The test facilities are available at both departures and arrivals at the airport; passengers can easily travel through CSMIA with comfort, making their journey memorable.

The aftermath of the pandemic leaves us with a wide range of new trendsetting patterns in the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ industry that have now turned into smaller hybrid ones. Sima Taparia, the Indian Matchmaker joined Kerrie, Vice President Commercial, Accor India & South Asia at Pullman New Delhi, Aerocity to discuss some of these nuances on how the millennial audience is meeting, dating and making the decision to get married.

Taparia, said, “I come across all kinds of people in my profession, as a matchmaker and having the ability to understand each individual need. Trying to come up with solutions that cater to most or the most important requirements is my biggest strength. We have to take the family, the children, grandparents, aunts and uncles into consideration when matching two families together. The past few months have been virtual conversations, discussions between families me and as well as the boy and the girl and we have all adapted to it and made it work.”

Hannaford said, “Sima Aunty from Mumbai has become a household name and we are very excited to have her join us and speak to our loyal members and guests about her experience of matchmaking. Having spoken to thousands of millennials, their parents and their families, Sima is in a unique position and understands the dynamics of marriages across the world. Our ‘Vivaah at Novotel’ offering fits in perfectly with today’s requirement for a hybrid wedding and this creative collaboration is a perfect fit for each other.”

The new normal has witnessed a complete transition towards contact less food services and micro wedding ceremonies, while keeping in mind the present norms of socially distanced gatherings. Keeping up with the need today, we developed ‘Vivaah at Novotel’, a modern-day concept focused on virtual weddings. With ‘Vivaah at Novotel’ our aim is to bring the couple’s dear ones closer to them on their wedding day through a web telecast of the wedding to their relatives and friends present in different cities. The extended family gets a chance to share every moment of the wedding with their loved ones in real time - the joy of togetherness, the singing and dancing during the baraat, several rituals, multiple ceremonies, even from miles apart. Two very interesting additions to this concept are ‘Dawaat by Novotel’ and ‘Shagun by Novotel’ for food and gift hampers respectively, which are the two integral parts of any Indian wedding.

IndiGo will be operating flight numbers with subset series 6E 5500 - 6E 5900 to and from Terminal 1 at the Mumbai International Airport from March 10, 2021, as directed by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). All other flights, including 5000 series, will continue to operate from Terminal 2.

IndiGo has taken measures to ensure passengers are informed of this change at every stage of their journey with 6E. IndiGo is reaching out to all impacted passengers and their respective travel agents via SMS, calls, and emails provided in reservation details. IndiGo passengers are requested to retrieve their PNR on IndiGo’s website or mobile app to check their terminal before leaving for the airport. The airline is committed to providing a safe and hassle-free travel experience onboard its lean, clean flying machine.

Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) got off to a start, as state Governor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurated the tourism meet with a call to highlight domestic tourism for better collaboration among states and greater understanding between people.

Khan said through videoconferencing, that the state aims to revitalize the travel sector in the post-Covid scenario. He added, “A better industry-level co-ordination in hospitality and transportation and an inter-state understanding to rationalize and simplify taxes and tariffs will help in leveraging the true potential of our domestic market in tourism.”

Stressing the need to embrace the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) by treating domestic tourism as the mainstay for the industry when global air travel is facing restrictions, the Governor said, “Let tourism enable people of every part of India to understand and value each other so that we strengthen our cultural unity as a nation.”

Khan complimented Kerala’s tourism projects aimed at making it a “complete and different” destination with focus on cultural heritage. “We need to re-configure our business strategy by emphasizing on safety and security so as to meet the post-pandemic global demands and aspirations,” he added.

This is the chief aim of the 11th KTM, with close to 500 international buyers and 650 domestic buyers, facilitating 15,000 meetings between the buyers and exhibitors. By striving to restore the pace of growth of tourism that has slid since the outbreak of the global pandemic, the event by KTM Society will exhibit the various products of the state’s vital tourism sector. The summit is being attended by all members of the KTM Society, which is India’s biggest organisation in the travel and tourism segment.

The Governor, addressing delegates at Uday Palace Convention Centre here, expressed the hope that the post-pandemic global consciousness will expect governments and communities to renew work to meet the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. “This is vital in tourism where the basic assets are Nature and the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity. ‘Green, clean and safe’ should be the motto of all tourism activities,” he added at the function organised in adherence with Covid-19 protocols.

Dr V P Joy, Chief Secretary of Kerala, chairing the ceremony, said Kerala tourism is on a revival path, involving right from grassroots workers to top-level functionaries.

He noted that the ongoing vaccination, which is to pick up in Kerala from March, would help the state get out of the pandemic — to the benefit of its tourism. “Once we are through with Covid-19, the industry will be back on the rails,” Dr Joy added.

Rani George, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism spoke how new campaigns were helping the state resume tourism after the outbreak of Covid-19. Ayurveda can be an added attraction for the tourists arriving in the state, known for the ancient wellness system.

Listing a set of new heritage products, George specially invited tourists to visit the state’s northern parts that have been given a fresh focus.

V R Krishna Teja, Director, Kerala Tourism, said KTM 2021 gives deserving space to small and medium buyers, adding to the synergy of trade and tourism.

D Venkatesan, India Tourism Regional Director (Chennai) said several destinations, despite the Covid-induced issues, have begun to clock footfalls. “Kerala has done well in conserving nature and devising products while making strides in tourism,” he noted.

Baby Mathew Somatheeram, President, KTM Society welcoming the gathering, said the virtual mart would show the world that Kerala is successfully fighting out the novel coronavirus. The event highlights the state’s capability to bring in tourists amid a changed world order, he added.

KTM Society former president E M Najeeb reiterated the need to review the quarantine for domestic tourists. Shri Abraham George, another past president of the Society, proposed a vote of thanks.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the March 1-5 virtual Kerala Travel Mart 2021 (KTM). This is for the first time that the event, which ensures a stellar convergence of domestic and foreign buyers in the vital sector, is being held virtually and in strict observance of the pandemic protocols.

Kerala’s Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran will chair the inaugural function at the Uday Palace Convention Centre at Kowdiar in the heart of the city on February 28 at 7.30 pm. Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac will be the Chief Guest at the ceremony being organised by KTM Society, which is India’s biggest organisation in the travel and tourism segment.

“The virtual event of KTM is an innovative approach to overcome the present crises. It is also a major step for the rejuvenation and revival of tourism sector,” Surendran said.

KTM will facilitate domestic and foreign buyers to hold online interactions with sellers. As many as 40,000 meetings are scheduled between the buyers and exhibitors during the five days. The prime aim is to restore the pace of growth of tourism that has been affected for a year owing to the outbreak of the global pandemic.

Present at the inaugural function will be Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Kum Arya Rajendran. S, Shashi Tharoor, MP; V K Prasanth, MLA; M. Vijayakumar, Chairman, KTDC; Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Rani George; Director V R Krishna Teja; Municipal Corporation Member S Sathikumari; KTM Society President Baby Mathew Somatheeram and Secretary Jose Pradeep besides former Presidents of KTM Society.

Somatheeram said that around 600 sellers, 500 foreign buyers and 1,500 tour operators will be part of the event. He also added that KTM has made itself the high-end virtual platform for the event.

The event will showcase the various alluring products and services of the state’s tourism sector. It will also display Kerala’s resilient spirit in tourism. Further, it aims to function as a springboard that can inspire confidence in the various stakeholders.

The deliberations would strive to chart out ways that can help the sector lessen the losses owing to the COVID-19 and its lingering effects.

Already, the government’s measures against the pandemic have won Kerala appreciation from across the globe. In fact, steps to strengthen the inflow of tourists have started showing positive results with a surge in travellers in the past four months. Sticking to the pandemic protocol, the state’s tourism department has been working in association with the hotels, resorts and home stays.

Also, the government has rolled out a Rs 455-crore relief package for both the entrepreneurs and employees/workers in tourism. The state-level bankers’ committee gives loans up to Rs 25 lakh to entrepreneurs in tourism. The government is paying half of the interest amount for the first year.

Further, Kerala Bank gives loans between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 to those employed in the tourism sector. The beneficiaries need to pay only 3 per cent interest, as the government pays the rest 6 per cent as subsidies.

The upcoming election of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has brought the clear-cut division in the existing committee to the fore. There are two teams, from the existing committee, fighting for the scheduled election on March 6, 2021. These teams are titled as ‘Moving Forward’ and ‘Team for Change’.

The ‘Team Moving Forward’ is led by the Rajiv Mehra of Uday Tours & Travels for President, Sarab Jit Singh of  Travelite (India) for Sr Vice President; Ravi Gosain of Erco Travels  for Vice President, Rajnish Kaistha of Paradise Holidays India for Hony. Secretary.

The ‘Team for Change’ is led by Lally Mathews of Divine Voyages for President, EM Najeeb  of Airtravel Enterprises for Sr Vice President, Lajpat Rai of Lotus Trans Travel for Vice President and Rajesh Mudgill of ’s, Planet India Travel for Hony. Secretary.

Both the teams are claiming to bring radical changes in the functioning of IATO as an association. While Mehra believes there is a need for continuity with change, Mathews is of the opinion that there is a need for total change at IATO.

Speaking to media, Mehra said that IATO has been quick to solve the problems of the industry at many occasions with the proactive support of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India. The current team, under the leadership of Pronab Sarkar and Mehra as Vice President as well as Hony. Secretary and Hony. Joint Secretary, understand the burning issues of the industry well and in discussions with governments at various level will augur well for the industry, Mehra said.

Mathews on the other hand, with current Sr Vice President and Hony Secretary in his team, supports the total change for the better working of the association. Both the existing office bearers of the ‘Team for Change’ – Najeeb and Mudgill, expressed that they have not been heard in the existing committee and hence not been able to do much for the industry.

Sarkar was of the opinion that all office bearers of the current committee have been given adequate space to voice out their opinion and decisions were taken as per the governing rule.

Both teams are claiming to bring amendment in IATO’s constitution, greater transparency, better synergy with governments and expanding the membership and geographical representation if they are elected in the forthcoming election.  

 

The Ministry of Tourism organized a three days training Workshop for homestay owner in Darjeeling from February 22 to 24, 2021 to enrich the hospitality skills of the owners of the region. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Tourism’s Regional Office (East), Indiatourism Kolkata in association with Eastern Himalayas Travel & Tour Operator Association as Resource Partner and IIAS School of Management as Knowledge Partner.

Overall, 725 homestay owners from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and foothills of Dooars participated in this three-day Workshop where they have been trained in marketing, sales, attitudinal development, product knowledge etc. to make them self-reliant in promoting their homestays in more efficient manner.

The training would not only ensure a better hospitality experience for the tourists, but also establish Eastern Himalaya and Dooars as a preferred destination for the Domestic and Inbound Tourists.

“An Atmanirbhar self-reliant tourism-based economy will provide opportunities to the youth of the region for gainful employment,” Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of Tourism (IC), Govt. of India, said.

 

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