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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Singapore Airlines has launched Miles of Good, a corporate social responsibility campaign under its #SIAcares initiative. This campaign aims to raise 100 million KrisFlyer miles that will be donated to selected frontline and essential workers, who have been tirelessly serving the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

KrisFlyer members will be able to nominate deserving individuals with a minimum donation of 1,000 miles. The members and their nominees must reside in the same country or territory. Eligible nominees include healthcare workers, public transport workers, supermarket employees, cleaners, as well as food delivery, courier and postal services personnel. Members can also donate their miles without making any nomination.

KrisFlyer members may submit their nominations and donate their miles via the Miles of Good campaign landing page on SingaporeAir.com.

Singapore Airlines hopes to raise 70 million KrisFlyer miles through these donations and will contribute another 30 million miles towards Miles of Good. Nominations end on 10 August 2020, although members have up to 20 November 2020 to donate their miles.

Eligible nominees will be contacted by SIA. They will need to submit their details, provide their KrisFlyer membership number and share their personal story via an online form on the landing page.

Singapore Airlines will then get in touch with the successful nominees, who will receive up to 60,000 KrisFlyer miles credited into their accounts. These miles can be used to book flights on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot or on other KrisFlyer partner airlines. They can also be used to redeem gift items, hotel stays, car rentals, or shopping, dining, wellness and grooming services via KrisShop, KrisFlyer vRooms, and KrisPay*.

JoAnn Tan, Acting Senior Vice President, Marketing Planning, Singapore Airlines, said,  “The Miles Of Good campaign is an opportunity for us to join hands with our KrisFlyer members, and show our appreciation to the individuals who have been working on the frontlines during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is one way in which we can recognise the efforts of those who have been helping all of us through this challenging time.”

Leisure Hotels Group (LH) has announced the re-opening of all its Hotels, Resorts post lockdown. The Group has announced Special Worry-Free Staycation for 5,7,15 and 30 consecutive days.

“Our boutique resorts, bespoke villas & luxury camps are nestled amidst pristine natural surroundings of either hills, forests or beside rivers and are not affected. We would like to reassure all our guests that we remain committed to offer Smarter and Safer Stay Experiences to all our Guests by following industry leading COVID Guidelines & best practices,” Vibhas Prasad, Director, Leisure Hotels Group, said.

These special stays also offer flexi modification & with free cancellation policies allowing a one-time change with no charges if a cancellation is made upto 48 hours (2 Days) before the date of arrival. These special Staycation packages are in line with Uttarakhand Government Guidelines for guests who hold a mandatory COVID-19 negative test result or seven days’ hotel confinement or COVID e-pass.

“Although, remote-working culture of employees will continue to hurt business travel for now, it has opened newer options of travel for them, for instance, planning a Workcation with their families amidst nature at scenic destinations. We are confident that our locations are ideally suited for such options. Furthermore, the scenic beauty, large open spaces, immunity boosting nourishing menu, socially distant and drivable distances to our properties etc. will all add up to be the preferred choice for travellers planning a trip in North India” further added Prasad.

Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) has hosted a virtual press conference recently to commence the reopening of borders for all nationalities in Maldives as well as to launch the “Rediscover Maldives…the sunny side of life” campaign.

The campaign aims to strengthen the market presence to welcome back tourists once again. All marketing activities will be carried out under one campaign tagline; “Rediscover Maldives…the sunny side of life” for the rest of 2020.

In the opening statement, Thoyyib Mohamed, the Managing Director of MMPRC spoke about how the government and private sector have been working hard to ensure safety and hygiene standards for travelers in the new normal. He also mentioned that the Maldives is fully prepared to welcome back tourists and that safety of tourists and staff are top priority.

The remarks were followed by further statements from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid. According to Shahid, responding to COVID-19 has been tough but we have come back stronger as Maldives is a safe destination for all tourists and staff. Minister of Health, Honorable Abdulla Ameen mentioned a sense of relief and excitement as we welcome back tourists. He also gave the reassurance that proper health and safety measures have been put in place around the country to ensure an enjoyable vacation for visitors.

The event and the campaign are amongst the first initiatives to promote the destination once borders are reopened. With the onset of tourism adapting to the “new normal” and under proper safety precautions, MMPRC has a variety of activities planned for the year. President Solih has announced a target of 850, 000 visitors by the end of 2020.

RARE India will host its annual ‘Discover RARE’ event on 23rd July. The event aims to introduce the participants to the latest additions to the RARE India Community as well as share updates on COVID-19 readiness of the RARE India hotels.

Talking about Discover RARE 2020, Shoba Mohan, Founder of RARE India, said, “‘Discover RARE’ over Chai and Samosa is an annual event in the Capital that we eagerly await.  It is an occasion for us to meet friends and colleagues in the travel and hospitality trade, share news and updates as well as showcase the additions to the RARE India portfolio. In the current scenario, we have turned entirely to virtual platforms to engage with the industry. The all-important Chai & Samosa will be DIY in the WFH scenario and we hope this small initiative can help our colleagues in the industry engage with us and the community."

Discover RARE 2020 has been planned as an educative, interactive and fun afternoon. The first session will begin with information on COVID-19 readiness of the RARE Community. This will be followed by presentations on the new hotels in the RARE India Community. These hotels and travel experiences include a luxury desert camp perched on a high dune, tea bungalows in Tamil Nadu, an atmospheric heritage home, stunning mountain getaways, cruising expeditions and a floating hotel. At the end of the event, a fun quiz will be held with the winners receiving prizes sponsored by the RARE India hotels.

Tourism is hit the hardest due to COVID-19. Almost 95% of the Indian tourism industry constitutes of MSMEs. The industry welcomes the bailout package for MSMEs. However, the only thing that helps the industry is the postponement of the installments of loan. We did not get anything else despite tourism being one of the main forex earners. In 2018-19, Indian earned about US$28 bn as forex from tourism. Most importantly, tourism sector also employs more than 30 million people in India. These workers are frontline warriors of the tourism economy of India.

Going by the current scenario, I think that 30% of the travel agencies/tour operating companies will not start working again resulting into a massive joblessness for the country. These are uncertain times. Enterprises and tourism sector are going for pay cut, handing over pink slips or sending people on sabbatical under compulsions due to COVID 19 as there is zero business. We have to come forward with a proper solution to retain the skilled manpower of the industry. We all know that tourism keeps the economic activity going. We have seen that tourism is the economic lifeline in many far-flung areas of the country. Hence, the Govt of India should not ignore this sector.

The Government should look at tourism very seriously. Whatever we have done so far for tourism has not kept pace with the global trends. We welcomed 0.5 million foreign tourists in 1976 and the figure was same for the China. China today welcomes around 75-80 million inbound whereas India is at 10 million. Despite all our efforts, why are we not getting the desired results? Are our strategies not in tune with the changing market dynamics.? Shouldn’t be our inbound arrivals at 40-50 million?

As we all know that every challenge needs a unique solution to convert challenge into the opportunity.  I suggest that Govt of India should look into few things quite seriously to bring the tourism industry back on track.

The most important is Govt. should consider Financial Grant to the tourism industry through its collective body FAITH, that is like CII or FICCI for tourism in India. Like CII and FICCI, Govt should equip FAITH to take the leadership role in terms of marketing and promotion of India tourism in overseas and domestic markets. Government has to follow various processes and regulations that at times delays crucial decisions that impacts outcome.  I believe FAITH is the appropriate body to execute marketing and promotional activities timely and professionally. FAITH can plan all events and activities with proper planning and much in advance. The way we have been organizing our roadshows is not bringing the desired results.

There is a need to have a year- long calendar of roadshows and it should be organized in 50-60 countries. If it is planned well, atleast 2000 tour operators, hoteliers and other stakeholders in the private sector will synchronise their visits accordingly to maximise the impact of such efforts. 

India had 14 Overseas Tourist Offices earlier, but Ministry closed down half of them 4-5 years ago without any alternate arrangement. Govt. should consider mandating all Indian embassies/high commissions to promote tourism also, along with exports, that is being done With Ministry of Commerce. To fast track this synergy between MEA and Ministry of Tourism, Govt. may consider appointing an IFS officer as DG Tourism.  This will make our marketing and promotional efforts directed and also bring the expected results. If implemented well, I am sure that foreign tourist arrivals will witness the accelerated growth.

By Sarab Jit Singh, MD, Travelite (India). He was also the  Founder and Former Vice Chairman, FAITH; Former Sr. Vice President, IATO and Founder and Former President, ITTA.

Dubai has launched a compliance programme to certify and recognise hotels and retail establishments, F&B outlets and attractions that have implemented all public health protocols for the prevention and management of COVID-19.

The specially designed ‘DUBAI ASSURED’ stamp will be issued free of charge and will be valid for 15 days. It will be renewed every two weeks upon further verification by inspectors from the relevant authorities.

“The successful strategy adopted in combatting the pandemic, based on the vision and wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the follow up of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai has helped create an environment that is conducive to reopening our city to tourists from 7 July. Nonetheless, the health and safety of our residents and visitors remains our utmost priority.  The compliance programme that we have now rolled out across the hospitality sector with the wholehearted support of Dubai Economy and Dubai Municipality is not only testament to the continued efforts being made to further enhance health and safety standards but is also a confidence-boosting measure to reassure travellers that Dubai is one of the world’s safest destinations,” Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said.

“With the type and quality of health and safety measures bound to be foremost on the minds of travellers when selecting their destination of choice, the ‘DUBAI ASSURED’ seal is one such simple yet critical mechanism developed in collaboration with our stakeholders to assure tourists of a smooth and safe experience at every stage of their travel journey, right from arrival at our airports to the point of departure from Dubai. “The ‘DUBAI ASSURED’ stamp will also reinforce the global recognition of Dubai as a safe destination, as reflected in the Safe Travels stamps that we received from the World Travel & Tourism Council, which validates the stringent hygiene and safety protocols that are in place and endorses the efforts taken by the city to align itself with international standards and best practices in health and safety,” Almarri added.

According to a survey by global consulting firm HVS on future destination selection, 85 per cent of travellers will prioritise their travel plans based on the destination’s reputation and the type of action taken by its government in managing the pandemic including safety and security measures that have been implemented and the quality of the healthcare system and services that are available.

Sarovar Hotels and Resorts has announced the expansion of its leisure portfolio with the signing of a new hotel in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

Madhuban Sarovar Portico, currently undergoing complete renovation would be ready to welcome guests in mid-2021. The upscale hotel with contemporary interiors will have well-appointed rooms and suites offering scenic views of the valley. Guest facilities include a multi-cuisine restaurant, Bar, Gymnasium and Banquet halls to host different occasions.

Anil Madhok, Executive Chairman, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, said, “We are delighted to mark our presence in one of the most popular hill stations in North India. Mussoorie is an important leisure destination for the domestic market attracting a large universe of nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. We hope to bring in a new level of comfort and facilities to travellers to this region with our superior accommodation and excellent services.”

British Airways has announced that its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, known as ‘The Queen of the Skies’, are likely to have flown their last scheduled commercial service.

After nearly five decades of service and millions of miles flown around the globe, it is proposed that the airline’s remaining fleet of 31 747-400 aircraft will be retired with immediate effect as a result of the devasting impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until 2023/24.

Just a year ago, British Airways re-painted three of its jumbo jets in heritage colours to mark the company’s centenary. The BOAC jet put in a guest appearance with the Red Arrows much to the delight of spectators at the Royal International Air Tattoo, and sadly the aircraft will shortly be heading towards its final resting place alongside 30 others.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050. The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 B787s which are around 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the 747. As part of the airline’s £6.5 billion injection into customer experience in recent years, existing aircraft have been refurbished and the brand new arrivals have come into the British Airways’ fleet complete with a luxurious business class Club Suite product.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO, British Airways, said, “This is not how we wanted or expected to have to say goodbye to our incredible fleet of 747 aircraft. It is a heart-breaking decision to have to make. So many people, including many thousands of our colleagues past and present, have spent countless hours on and with these wonderful planes – they have been at the centre of so many memories, including my very first long-haul flight. They will always hold a special place in our hearts at British Airways.”

He further said, “We have committed to making our fleet more environmentally friendly as we look to reduce the size of our business to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation.  As painful as it is, this is the most logical thing for us to propose. The retirement of the jumbo jet will be felt by many people across Britain, as well as by all of us at British Airways.  It is sadly another difficult but necessary step as we prepare for a very different future.”

BOAC operated its first 747 London to New York service on 14th April 1971 and in July 1989 the first British Airways 747-400, the aircraft type the airline still flies today, took to the skies. Plane spotters who lined Heathrow’s perimeter fences would watch as the magnificent 747-400 would typically take off at 180mph and reach cruising speeds in the sky of up to 565mph.

For the next decade the airline took delivery of 56 more of the aircraft, with its final plane delivered in April 1999. At the time, it was the largest commercial aircraft in the world, and it remained so until the Airbus A380 first took to the skies in 2007.

At one point British Airways operated 57 747-400 aircraft. The original aircraft featured 27 First Class seats and 292 Economy seats. Initially, the upper deck, widely described as the bubble, contained a lounge, with lounge chair seating. It was known as the ‘club in the sky’ and the aircraft also played host to the world’s very first flat bed seat which British Airways pioneered in 1999.

Today’s aircraft can seat up to 345 customers in four classes – First, Club World (Business), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and World Traveller (Economy).  British Airways recently refreshed the interiors of a number of its 747 aircraft which were expected to remain in service for several years to come.

The airline’s jumbo jets are currently grounded at various locations in the UK and are now only expected to reach heights of 35,000 feet as they make their final journeys.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) conducted India Luxury Virtual Connect (ILVC), which was designed exclusively for leading travel partners across key metro cities in India to touch base with the Thai private sector while maintaining social distance from their respective homes. The first ever India Luxury Virtual Connect (ILVC) was conducted on July 15 -16, 2020, witnessed participation from around 28 Thai luxury sellers along with close to 130 travel agents across South West India and 130 agents from North East cities of India

ILVC was conceptualized and executed by BRANDit, the official representative firm of TAT’s Mumbai office, led by Lubaina Sheerazi. The objective of ILVC was to introduce brand new products to cater to the luxury segment in India and further to share situation update in Thailand for the Indian buyers to understand the changing landscape of tourism. Basis industry predictions, TAT is presently concentrating its outreach measures on the luxury segment as the Indian elites are expected to make the first travel movements post complete unlocking of restrictions in India.

ILVC followed round-robin setup wherein the buyers and sellers followed a pre-fixed meeting schedule and interacted and shared information relevant to the product. They also got a chance to download brochures, fact sheets and exchange business cards from the virtual resources centre. The daylong event ‘ILVC’ marked as the commencement of a new remarkable era in the travel trade industry through which the world of travel can be connected by only few clicks.

Cholada Siddhivarn, Director, TAT Mumbai, said, “This year has been extremely challenging for all of us in the travel industry and at TAT, we are working each day to come up with creative solutions for our business requirements. We are extremely delighted to have introduced a platform like ILVC to the Indian market and help the Thai private sector and reach out to buyers across the country and discuss the future of travel in the post unlocking period. We are certain that this networking will help us drive arrivals to Thailand as soon as international travel is permitted.”

Vachriachai Sirisumpan, Director, TAT New Delhi, added, “Through it is still not clear when the international tourists from India will be able to travel to Thailand but it is important for us to stay connected with our partners. TAT India Offices would like to connect our Thai hospitality and travel businesses with travel agents in India and use this platform to update the products and services as well as all safety and health measures be taken in order to ensure and boost confidence of tourists. Luxury travel segment is a very important market for Post-Covid travel period which Thailand can ensure to meet the wish list of all travellers for luxury experiences and accommodation also gastronomy, arts and crafts, nature and beaches.”

Thailand was ranked second best in the world for ongoing COVID-19 recovery owing to which it has led to the resumption of the country’s daily activities, including domestic tourism. The Royal Thai Government has declared the relaxation of public places such as malls, restaurants and attractions with heightened safety measures and health regulations. Additionally, domestic flights are functional and leading hospitality brands are introducing safer precautions for the health and safety of each guest as well as employee. Owing to all of these developments, TAT is certain that soon international borders will be reopened to welcome visitors across the world and tourism will emerge again with the guidelines of ‘new normal’

Thomas Cook (India) has signed an agreement with dnata Travel, to operate as the Travel Management Company (TMC) to service dnata’s customers as it closes its TMC operation in India.

The agreement was concluded after an extensive process of evaluation by dnata, aimed at ensuring the continuity of top-quality service levels for its corporate clients in India who wish to transition to Thomas Cook. The transition is expected to be completed over the next few weeks.

Mahesh Iyer, Executive Director & CEO, Thomas Cook India said, “We are delighted to announce today, that after an extensive evaluation exercise, dnata Travel India picked Thomas Cook India as their choice of partner to take over their Corporate Travel portfolio in India. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve dnata’s corporate client portfolio and meet their evolving expectations with regard to business travel. Our first focus will be ensuring continuity of service needs and building on these strong client partnerships. This agreement helps reinforce the Thomas Cook India Group’s continued leadership in the Corporate Travel space, adding both scale and value to our portfolio. We remain bullish on the business travel opportunity and remain focused on sustainable growth enabled by cutting edge service-leadership.”

Rashid Al Awadhi, Regional VP, dnata Travel said, “Whilst we are disappointed to be exiting the corporate market in India, it has always been our intention to provide our valued customers with an alternative option. We are delighted that we can now offer customers the option of a seamless transition to Thomas Cook India.”

 

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