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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Malaysia gears up to boost its shopping experience with some never-seen-before shopping offers. Malaysia has three major shopping seasons in a year, including 1 Malaysia Grand Prix, 1 Malaysia Sale Carnival and the Grand Year End Sale. To boost the grand retail finish and retain customer confidence, Malaysia brings forth the exclusive Tourist Refund Scheme.

According to a survey conducted recently by Tourism Malaysia, tourists spend maximum on shopping and the country witnesses dedicated tourists for shopping across key market hubs. The survey shows that tourist expenditure on shopping took the top spot from accommodation as travel component for the first quarter of 2015, with an increase of 10.8% to RM4.9 billion against the same period last year.

Royal Malaysian Customs Department (RMCD) has appointed IRIS Global Blue TRS Malaysia SDN BHDto implement the Tourist Refund Scheme which allows the shoppers to claim refunds from the participating 400 retailers across key shopping destination. With a minimum spend of MYR 300, customers can ask for GST Refund Form. In order to avail refunds, the customer simply has to present the Refund Form along with passport and with a simple verification process, the refund can be claimed before departure from the country. Customers may combine receipts from the same Approved Outlet over a three month period prior to their departure from Malaysia.

ITB Asia has announced it has enhanced its conference programme this year with new partnerships and conferences covering key industry areas including corporate, leisure, MICE, travel technology and responsible tourism. The three day event will be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore from 21-23 October.

Anchored by a stellar keynote line-up, the 2015 programme will kick-start the first and second day with a series of sessions led by unparalleled thought-leaders and visionaries from Tuniu, Ctrip, Airbnb, Agoda, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Uber, Venture Republic Global and MakeMyTrip, who will share insights on trends and developments that will drive industry growth. These two sessions will be moderated by Phocuswright founder and industry veteran, Philip Wolf, and is set to inspire attendees with learnings and anecdotes to propel and shape businesses for success.

"Our audience experiences real-time interaction with the very leaders who are shaping our industry’s growth,” commented Wolf, known for moderating lively sessions on stage. "It’s one of the best ways travel professionals can gain valuable strategic insight that can be put to use.”

“Every year, we plan our conference line-up around the trending topics within the rapidly changing market that is shaping the future of corporate, leisure and MICE travel. We address these topics by partnering with leading professional associations as well as bringing in forward-thinking speakers who are at the top of their game. These specially invited movers and shakers help set our agenda for each session, sharing insights into their own experiences and pitfalls to lead delegates into the next stage of their business and guide the progress of our industry,” said Katrina Leung, Executive Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organisers of ITB Asia.

Enhancing the region’s meetings and conferences

ITB Asia has partnered with the Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP) for a half-day conference focusing on the incentive, conference and events market (IC&E) and exploring key areas of interest from technology developments to practical solutions that can make meetings more effective. The show has also strengthened its partnership with K.I.T. Group to enhance its Association conference programme focusing on how European and International associations can optimize their activities and relationships within the Asia Pacific region. There will also be a Business Travel Day hosted by Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) that will deep dive into the current outlook on business spending over the next two years.

Sharing the latest travel trends and insights

As the global travel industry faces challenges in a growing and complex market, it is important to anticipate development trends. There will be two separate sessions on this topic. The first session will be addressed by market research company GfK on how delegates can embrace every opportunity both online and offline to engage consumers and increase profitable growth.

The second session will be jointly held by STR Global and Google on key statistics for the Asia Pacific region such as mobile queries and the way travellers search. There will also be a separate panel session where experts from InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Starwood and Travelodge discuss the current and emerging industry trends.

CAPA - Centre for Aviation, a leader in global aviation knowledge, will hold its inaugural industry outlook forum at the event this year. Other highlights include a partnership with DestinationElite to organise the show’s first ‘Luxury Travel & Hospitality Forum’, as well as a session with TravelDaily China to highlight China’s growing importance in the travel industry.

Identifying opportunities in social and digital arena

The first day of the show will see a session in collaboration with the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA) addressed by PTBA President, Matt Gibson on how blogging and social media can be profitable. This session will outline how investment in social media, blogging and email marketing results in benefits and ultimately profits for an organisation.

On the last day of ITB Asia, Euromonitor will host a session titled ‘The New Online Traveller in Asia’ that will shed light on the evolution of online consumers and how it affects travel patterns.

Taking a stand for Responsible Tourism

A continuation on the successful ITB Asia CSR Day that was launched in 2014, this year’s show also features a comprehensive CSR programme providing insights on how social media can encourage sustainable tourism practices around the region led by discussions with panellists from Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Traveltek, TripAdvisor and Dorsett Hospitality International. A series of Responsible Tourism Clinics and sessions such as the Responsible Tourism Event & Networking supported by Wild Asia and The Blue Yonder will also shine a spotlight on a wide range of issues including tips to tap key grow markets such as Myanmar, how tourism can be an incentive for conservation, the benefits of partnerships with local communities and other sustainable tourism opportunities for emerging markets. In line with this focus, ITB Asia will also be choosing food items sourced regionally from the venue’s Harvest Menu, and be utilising the venue’s environmentally friendly ECO360 settings.

The Cox & Kings Group has acquired 100 per cent of the issued and outstanding shares of Late Rooms Ltd (UK) for GBP 8.5 million.

LateRooms is a profitable, leading online hotel booking specialist in the UK. Its extensive offering encompasses a full range of accommodation options with over 54,800 properties globally, which can be booked up to a year in advance. LateRooms has a 3.5 million opted-in and active consumer database and had c93 million online visits in the financial year ending September 30 2015, generating total transaction value (TTV) of c.GBP 300 million and net revenues of c.GBP 50 million.

The acquisition fits the Group's strategic intent to expand its global online and B2C leisure proposition. The Group also expects to drive synergies and value from LateRooms' association with the Cox & Kings subsidiary, SuperBreak Mini-Holidays Limited, a leading short break packaged holiday specialist in the UK. LateRooms' industry-leading technology platform, now built for mobile is a key strength which Cox & Kings will look to leverage more widely across its footprint.

Peter Kerkar, Director, Cox & Kings, said, "We are confident that bringing the LateRooms brand and technology into the fold will provide a significant boost to Cox & Kings' growth trajectory and technology capabilities".

Hugo Kimber, Executive Chairman, Cox & Kings Leisure Division-EU, said, "The acquisition of LateRooms and access to its online technology platform bolsters the Group's delivery capabilities across all geographies for the Leisure business.

LateRooms operates a Single Web Platform, which optimises the website for mobile device usage. In FY15 c57 per cent of traffic was driven from smartphone and tablet. LateRooms also owns various brands and domain names including AsiaRooms.com.

Qatar Airways will showcase four of its latest generation aircraft at the Dubai Airshow, 8-12 November, where the team is looking forward to welcoming the aviation industry and media on board to experience some of the world’s most sophisticated and technologically advanced passenger aircraft.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, said: “The Dubai Airshow is the ideal stage to introduce the latest generation aircraft type into the Qatar Executive fleet, our Gulfstream G650ER, as well as showcase the long-range, state-of-the-art aircraft that drive our commercial BUSINESS, our 25th B787 Dreamliner, the A350 XWB, for which Qatar Airways was the global launch customer, and one of our A380 aircraft.

“The Dubai Airshow has grown to be one of the biggest and most influential gatherings for commercial and non-commercial aviation since its debut in 1986, a trajectory SHARED by Qatar Airways, which has participated in the show for many years. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to our static display and introducing them to another level of world-class hospitality.”

 The airline will also display its 25th Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will fly to the airshow from the delivery ceremony in Seattle on 4 November. Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner has a two-cabin configuration, comprised of 22 seats in Business Class and 232 Economy Class seats with a high standard of comfort on board, including individual 10.6 inch television screens for all Economy Class seats and a full complimentary food and beverage service.

Qatar Airways will showcase both the Airbus A350 XWB, for which it was the global launch customer, and an A380, two of the 166 in the fleet of highly-sophisticated, most technologically-advanced aircraft in the sky.

Realizing the immense potential lighthouses in India have as attractive tourism destinations, the Ministry of Shipping, along with the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) has drawn up an ambitious programme to develop 78 lighthouses in the country as centres of tourism in the first phase under Public Private Partnership (PPP).

The identified lighthouses are in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The land adjacent to these lighthouses may have hotels, resorts, viewing galleries, maritime museums and heritage museums, adventure sports facilities, thematic restaurants, souvenir shops, LASER shows, spa & rejuvenation centers, amphitheaters and allied tourism facilities to attract the tourists, subject to viability and necessary clearances.

The DGLL has already invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from prospective and potential developers for eight Lighthouses at Aguada (Goa), Chandrabhaga (Odisha), Mahabalipuram, Kanya Kumari and Muttom (Tamil Nadu), Kadalur Point (Thikkodi, Kerala), Kanhoji Angre and Sunk Rock (Maharashtra) and Minicoy (Lakshadweep). An Expression of Interest (EOI) has also been issued by DGLL for another 70 lighthouses.

To invoke greater interest of public and private players, the Ministry of Shipping is also organizing three Road Shows at Kochi, Vizag and Chennai on 14th, 17th & 19th October, 2015 respectively, and Investor Summit in Mumbai on 29th October, 2015 where it will seek active participation from the hospitality players and developers (in the private sector) and the support of the State Government agencies at these events.

Traditionally, lighthouses have been beacons of navigation for mariners for centuries, but in the 21st century, lighthouses are going through a major transformation as tourist destinations. All over the world lighthouses enthrall tourists with their scenic and serene surroundings and rich maritime heritage.

The Ministry has decided to tap into the opportunities to promote tourism at these sites.

The Ministry and DGLL intend to promote lighthouses across India as tourism destinations and means of promoting Lighthouse Tourism in India with the following key objectives:

• To enhance and develop the existing Lighthouses and their surrounding areas into unique tourism destinations and maritime landmarks.

• To identify and develop possible tourism infrastructure components to facilitate promotion of tourism at Lighthouse premises.

• To explore the possibilities of developing these projects under PPP by integrating commercially viable interventions at the feasible locations in order to make the project viable.

India has 189 lighthouses dotting its vast coast line of 7517 Kms, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea. Steeped in rich maritime heritage, each lighthouse has its own story to tell to the wayfarers and has tremendous tourism potential just waiting to be tapped.

The DGLL has successfully developed 4 lighthouses as tourist attraction centres at Madras and Mahabalipuram Lighthouses in Tamil Nadu & the Alleppy and Cannanore Lighthouses in Kerala, which have been garnering substantial tourist footfall.

Qatar Airways has announced new partnerships with Booking.com and Rentalcars.com, providing its passengers with an easy and cost-effective way to access competitively priced places to stay and car rentals when booking their flights via the Qatar Airways website, www.qatarairways.com.

Under the partnerships, Qatar Airways’ passengers can book and pay online for accommodation at over 800,000 properties in nearly 83,000 exciting destinations, and rent from more than 40,000 car rental locations in 167 countries. This also provides the airline’s Frequent Flyer Programme Privilege Club members the opportunity to earn Qmiles for every HOTEL room and car rental booking made through the website.

“Qatar Airways is excited to have partnered with booking.com and rentalcars.com, both among the world’s leading booking platforms for travellers,” said the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Hugh Dunleavy.

“We look forward to the new partnerships being taken advantage of as our passengers can now benefit from having easy access to a wider selection of places to stay and car rental options from the moment they log on to the Qatar Airways website. This is a great opportunity for us to offer new ancillary products to our worldwide customers, enabling Qatar Airways to take our award-winning service to a new level.”

Carlson Rezidor Hotel has announced the signing of a multiple-property deal with Saphir Group for Radisson Red Jakarta CBD, Radisson Red Bali Legian Camakila, Radisson Bali Legian Camakila and Radisson Bali Tanjung Benoa.

With this deal, Carlson Rezidor will introduce Radisson RED to Indonesia, grow the Radisson brand and almost double its hotel pipeline in this market. The two Radisson RED properties will be new builds, while the two Radisson branded properties will open by Jan. 1, 2016.

"We are pleased to welcome on board a new partner in the key market of Indonesia, where strong growth opportunities are supported by the government's pro-tourism measures. With this four-property deal, that includes three hotels in Bali, one of the country's top tourist destinations, as well as one in the gateway city of Jakarta, we continue to reinforce our presence in Indonesia, a key market for us in Asia Pacific," said Thorsten Kirschke, President, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

Carlson Rezidor now has a total of nine hotels under development in Indonesia. The other five are Radisson Blu Bali Uluwatu, Radisson Golf & Convention Center Batam, Radisson Jakarta Cengkareng, Radisson Medan and Park Inn by Radisson Lampung.

James Kantono, Director, Saphir Group said, "Carlson Rezidor has the right brands, an excellent reputation and deep expertise. We are confident that our partnership will deliver strong returns on our investment."

The 4th International Tourism Mart (ITM) was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Tourism  and Culture (I/C) and Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, along with the Chief Minister of Sikkim, Pawan Chamling in Gangtok, Sikkim. The ITM has been organized by the Union Ministry of Tourism in association with the North Eastern States and the state of West Bengal.

Inaugurating the Mart, Sharma said that the ITM helps to showcase to the world the rich and untapped potential of the North East States. He said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a great vision to develop the North East which has a very high tourism potential in the country. Promoting tourism in these states will be one of the prime focus areas of the Ministry of Tourism, the Minister added. He said that improving connectivity is the key to promoting tourism in the North East. The Minister informed that Sikkim will have its own airport in Pakyong, 35 Km away from Gangtok by December 2016. Centre will work to create better road connectivity for the public through National Highways for the North East. He assured that he will discuss the matter of road connectivity with the concerned ministry.

Sharma appreciated the fact that Sikkim is soon going to become the first 100% organic state in the country. The Prime Minister will declare Sikkim as a full organic state on his visit to the state next year in January 2016, he said. He praised the cleanliness and‘no smoking drive’ of the Sikkim Government and said that the state has all the potential to become an ideal tourist state.

Highlighting the importance of tourism for a country, Sharma said tourism is an economic engine for the country’s growth and development. Tourism can contribute 8-9% to the GDP if we achieve 1% share of International tourist arrivals around the World. At present India’s share in International tourist arrivals around the World is 0.68%. Tourism helps to generate employment and women empowerment, he added. Dr Mahesh Sharma also said that the facility of e-Visa have been extended to 113 countries and the Government will extend it to 150 countries by March Next year.

Chamling, delivering the keynote address, highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government of Sikkim to make the State a most preferred tourism destination in the region. Chamling said that we have created a comprehensive action plan to develop tourism in order to showcase and share the cultural and natural heritage of Sikkim with the world. Village Tourism and Home Stays have a tremendous potential in Sikkim as the villages are well developed and well connected. A Village Development Action Plan has been prepared for the purpose, he explained.

Zutshi said that the Government is developing North East region in terms of all aspects–tourism, education, health, transport networks, telecommunications, information technology, electricity grids, flow of investment and trade and everything else that is needed to harness its economic and commercial potential and raise the standards of living of our people in this region.

This 4th International Tourism Mart 2015, spread over three days is seeing participation of 52 international delegates comprising of tour operators and media persons from 23 countries. These delegates are from Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam. This mart also has participation of 71 tour operators from eight north eastern States and West Bengal besides domestic buyers (tour operators) from different regions of the country.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the opening of the InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort in India. The Resort will join InterContinental Mumbai Marine Drive to be the second hotel under the company's luxury portfolio in India.

Shantha de Silva, Head of South West Asia, IHG commented, “The opening of InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort marks an important milestone in IHG’s journey in India. Chennai is a city that boasts the perfect mix of diversity and culture with a glossy layer of cosmopolitan glamour. Whether for a leisure break, an intimate wedding or a romantic getaway, our newest property in Chennai will offer unrivalled facilities and access to many cultural opportunities of one of the country’s biggest cities.”  

The 105 room resort offers three gourmet dining options which includes an The Melting Pot with three live kitchens that serves the best in European, South Asian and Peninsular Indian cuisine, a Chinese Specialty Restaurant, Tao Of Peng & Lounge Bar, 

The luxury resort has been designed by CV Sydney, a firm which is an offspring of the renowned Singapore based Kerry Hill design firm. All rooms are elegantly designed and furnished to provide maximum comfort to guests. In addition to the breath-taking view, the hotel has state-of-the-art architecture and décor to add to the luxurious experience of world-class accommodation, personalized service, and dedicated amenities.

Vijai Singh, General Manager, InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort said, “The InterContinental brand is trusted around the world for its superior service which  guests have come to know and appreciate. InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort will be one of the first five star beach resorts on the east coast of India and is sure to offer unforgettable memories to the guests visiting the city.”

Having analyzed the importance of Indian food for the Indian traveler, the IMOT (Israel Ministry of Tourism) has invited India’s prestigious flight kitchen company, Taj Sats to conduct workshops at culinary institutions in Israel to familiarize chefs of the leading hotel chains with Indian food.

Over the years Israel has been receiving more and more Indian tourists and the demand for Indian cuisine has always been growing. The tourism industry in Israel is ensuring that they cater to every need of the Indian traveler.

Indian restaurants already operate in various cities in Israel. However serving Indian food in hotels has several constraints on account of kosher requirements. Kosher are Jewish dietary laws where there is total separation of meat and dairy and certain foods are forbidden. Keeping in view of these restrictions, Israel will introduce Kosher Indian meals to our tourists which will suit both vegetarian and non-vegetarian palettes.

“We feel that our leading chefs will be able to assist Israeli chefs to make a difference in making the Indian tourist feel at home in Israel.” says Sagar Dighe, CEO, Taj Sats

“This is a positive step to further boost tourism and facilitate the needs of the Indian traveler in Israel.” says Hassan Madah, Director, India.

 

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