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Karishma Sen

Karishma Sen

Kesari Tours recently witnessed a reshuffle of its top management and is now planning to add more feathers to its cap by setting up a travel and tourism academy and offices in five international locations, as well as adding new products and enhancing services. Shailesh Patil, who has recently taken charge as Managing Director, revealed the company’s future plans and explained the way forward at the company’s 29th Foundation Day celebrations.

“We have worked out a lucrative and effective strategy for the company and we feel that the time is right to grow our current portfolio. I believe that, moving forward, technology and Human Resource development will play an important role in the development of the company,” he said. A book written by Kesari Patil, Founder of Kesari Tours, ‘A Journey Called Life,’ narrating his life experiences was released at the Foundation Day function.

Elaborating on the new management structure Shailesh Patil explained that Kesari Patil and his wife, Sunita Patil continue as Chairman and Vice President respectively, while Zelum Chaubal has been appointed as Joint Managing Director and Sangita Patil as Director. Himanshu Patil is still on the Board of Directors of Kesari Tours. “Veena has moved on to fulfill her vision and another quality company will only be beneficial for travellers,” he stated.

Commenting on their new venture - Kesari Travel & Tourism Academy, he stated that the course will comprise four months of theory and six months of practical training. “The classes will be held at new office and the course fee will be around Rs 25,000-30,000. Students will be paid a stipend during their practical training. We plan to carry out two batches in a year and lectures will be by experts and professionals from the industry.” The first batch of 40 students has commenced the course.

Kesari Tours will focus on innovative, quicker, faster and better services this year. “We will move on from discounts and schemes and will purely concentrate on providing quality holidays to our clients. Moving forward, we are investing heavily on staff training. We will soon roll out an online payment system and also release a documentary on the company website on visa procedures. The documentary will help them understand the procedure while applying for a visa with the consulate,” said Shailesh Patil.

In order to offer personalised service, the company is launching new products and services. Elaborating further, Shailesh Patil said, “The first phase of ‘Kesari Home Service’ will be launched in Mumbai shortly. The service will guarantee that once the Kesari call centre receives a query from the customer, information regarding the same will be delivered to them. We will train around 50 employees for this project.”

He further informed that the company plans to launch Kesari VIP Tours soon and also expand its footprint in international destinations by setting up offices in Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Nepal and China.

At the recently concluded ATM 2013, Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group (IMG Group) officially unveiled ‘The IMG Worlds of Adventure (IMGWOA)’. At the unveiling, the Galadari brothers, who own the IMG Group, announced that the new 1.5 million square foot theme park will be open to public by December this year. “We are positioning the theme park as a destination in itself. IMGWOA will be in excess of 1.5 million sq. feet in the first phase and will be the largest temperature controlled indoor entertainment destination in the world including four themed zones: MARVEL, Cartoon Network, The Lost Valley and the vast IMG Entertainment Zone,” said Adam Alexander Page, Vice President- Marketing, IMG, adding that at ATM 2013 the group showcased its family entertainment centre and struck new avenues with business entities.

The park on Mohammed bin Zayed Road will be located in the City of Arabia district forming part of Dubai Properties Group’s sprawling Dubailand scheme on the edge of the city. It will include themed rides many of which will be based around the Marvel comic heroes and characters from Cartoon Network. Rides in the four-zone park will include an electromagnetic super fast roller-coaster which travels outside the building and includes more twists and turns than the one in Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World. “The park will have a capacity to accommodate 20,000 people and is hoping to attract more than 10,000 visitors per day,” stated Page. IMG also intends to include conference facilities to attract corporate events to the park.

Page informed that the visitors from the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific are their key source markets, “We will be concentrating on source markets that bring in a lot of groups and families into Dubai, as our product targets mainly families and youth. Moreover, a recent report puts UAE tourism sector growth at 6.5 per cent per annum between 2011-2021, with visitors from the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific the key source markets.” He further added that entertainment destinations such as IMG Worlds of Adventure will add to the attractions in UAE hence making it potentially the most sought after global central entertainment hub in the future.

At the recently concluded three-city interactive seminar in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Mumbai, Instituto Nacional de Promoción Turistica (INPROTUR), the Argentina Tourism Board educated travel agents about the destination and its various offerings.  The interactive seminar gave the tourism board a chance to interact directly with India’s leading tour operators, key decisions-makers from the industry, airline representatives, travel agents and the media.

Commenting on the success of the tree-city seminar, Pablo Cagnoni, Market Coordinator - Asia, Oceania and Africa, INPROTUR said, “We interacted with over 400 agents during the three-city seminar and received an encouraging response. We plan to aggressively promote Argentina in the Indian market, since we see great potential for Argentina as a mono-destination in the market.”

After observing a growing interest in the Indian market for Argentina, Cagnoni thinks this was a great platform to educate the travel agents about their products helping them design appropriate packages for clients. “The main target segment, currently, is the high-end consumer and discerning travellers as it is generally an option considered by these two segments due to high airfares.”
 
According to Medha Sampat, Director, Knack Marketing, India Representative for INPROTUR, the aim of the seminar was to reach out to the three major markets. She also stated that the destination has seen an ascent in the number of Indian arrivals, especially after the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which brought the entire continent of South America in the limelight of global tourism. “Argentina is a still a new destination and it is imperative that we promote this destination more to put it on every travellers list,” she said. 

The Argentina Tourism Board is currently developing a marketing strategy for the Indian market on similar lines of the “International Marketing Plan 2012 - 2015 ConectAR” that provides some guidelines that will position Argentina as a destination of excellence. “Various strategies have been implemented based on the needs, wants and expectations of potential tourists. Our current aim is B2B promotions to penetrate the Indian market. Our focus is to get the distribution in place and get travel agents familiar with the destination,” informed Sampat further adding that Argentina Tourism has also developed a new experiential website: www.argentina.travel, which is extremely user friendly.

Touching on the topic of visa clearance, Tomas Ferrari, Consul General of Argentina in Mumbai, said, “We have witnessed a growing interest in Indian travellers to come visit Argentina which clearly shows the relationship the two countries share. We are very encouraged by this interest and want to assure people that getting a visa for Argentina is not difficult if all the paperwork is in order.”

Explaining the importance of working together with the travel trade Cagnoni stated that they want a mutual exchange between Indian and Argentine suppliers, which will promote tourism ties between both countries. “I want Argentine suppliers to understand the market and bring tourists to India.”
 
INPROTUR will be participating with a delegation of five to six suppliers at major travel trade events in India such as SATTE.

SATTE, South Asia’s leading B2B travel and tourism event was originally coined as an industry podium for promoting India among its generating market. Established in 1994, the travel expo purely focused on Inbound Tourism. The main aim behind the whole show was to showcase India as prominent and emerging destination in the global tourism market. In 2003-04 SATTE decided to add more feathers to its cap by incorporating domestic tourism as a component of the show. This segment soon became a vital part of the expo. Moving forward SATTE realised the potential of the rising profligate middle class population who were now taking holidays abroad and added Outbound Tourism to its portfolio. With this significant addition SATTE evolved into a comprehensive tourism event, showcasing various facets of tourism globally. With 590 exhibitors from 35 overseas countries and 23 Indian states; buyers from over 43 countries and 74 cities of India, SATTE 2013 has seen the participation of many new countries as their launch platform to showcase their diverse tourism profile to Indian travel trade.

Over the years SATTE has enjoyed much acclaim in international business circles, having worked closely with renowned travel associations, organisations and media  houses such as UNTWO and International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI), Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA), Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) and Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI).

SATTE looks forward to a power packed 2014 and will include exhibition, knowledge seminars, networking galas, B2B Pre-Scheduled Appointments (PSAs), destination briefings, buyer briefings all under one roof, thus making it a global event that powers business  for the travel & tourism industry in India.
Moving forward, keeping up with the industry’s demand to expand the canvas of SATTE by incorporating new segments, SATTE is exploring the possibility of launching few niche and emerging segments such as MICE and Travel Technology at its 21st edition in 2014.

SATTE 2014 is scheduled to be held in New Delhi at Pragati Maidan from 29 – 31 January 2014 and in Mumbai at Nehru Centre from 3 – 4 February 2014.

The event, titled ‘Tourism & Aviation: Building a common agenda for growth’, held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, was opened by Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General and Mark Walsh, Portfolio Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions- Organiser of ATM. The Forum witnessed intensive dialogue on leveraging the potential the tourism industry and the corrective measures that need to be taken to further enhance the role tourism plays in a country’s economy.

Participating in the Forum were the Ministers and senior representatives from Oman, Mauritius, Morocco, Egypt, Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunisia and Maldives among others. Representing the aviation industry were the Vice President of International & Public Affairs of Etihad Airways, the CEO of Dubai Airports and the Senior Vice President, Revenue Optimisation and Distribution of Emirates Airline.

Rifai, in his opening remarks, said that destinations should emphasise on the three most important travel segments: family tourism, business travel and events – in their promotional strategy. He also highlighted the co-relation between aviation and tourism. “Tourism and aviation are siblings, and have been working together in parallel lines. With 52 per cent of world travellers reaching their destination by air, their growth is intrinsically linked. However, economic regulations, taxations and travel facilitations are the few major focus areas that tourism and aviation stakeholders should look into,” he added.

Agreeing with Rifai, Alain St.Ange, Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, opined that it is important that tourism and aviation stay on the same side of the equation. He said that the time had come for all to agree that the triangular approach to tourism and airline consolidation – Ministry of Tourism or Tourism Boards, Civil Aviation Authorities and Airlines - was the way forward and that the world should stop talking about it and instead implements this accepted approach.

Lahcen Haddad, Tourism Minister for Morocco, opined that air transport drives the tourism inflow to the destination. “It is very important for both the parties to work together and create a synergised model to help grow the tourist arrivals,” he said. Michael Sik Yuen, Minister of Tourism & Leisure, Government of Mauritius, commented that no tourism destination and the country’s economy should be held captive to their national airline. This point was echoed by the Minister from Egypt. Going a step ahead, Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, said that the alliance between tourism and air transportation is very much a non-separable alliance, and it is very important to focus on aligning these two sectors to make places more accessible and affordable.

Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director, Higher Committee on International Expo Dubai 2020, suggested that, first and foremost, to foster tourism and look to the future, countries and cities should look at adopting open sky policies. She believes that the development of airport, attractions, and hotels are all important but the key is to allow airlines to fly without restrictions.

Participants stressed the need to identify the links between tourism and aviation and set structures where tourism, civil aviation and airlines can work together. Other issues highlighted were the need to extend the principle of liberalisation to more and more countries, particularly in view of attracting long-haul markets and the importance of aligning tourism objectives with airlines profitability.

Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of Dubai, used the Middle East as a prime example of how tourism and aviation can work together, and what the rest of the world can learn from the region.

Concluding, Rifai highlighted the importance of moving this agenda forward. “We have started a debate that has to go on and on. We will carry on at World Travel Market in London in co-operation with Reed Travel Exhibitions after setting a framework today, and keep the conversation going,” he said.

At the recently concluded three-city interactive seminar in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Mumbai, Instituto Nacional de Promoción Turistica (INPROTUR), the Argentina Tourism Board educated travel agents about the destination and its various offerings. The interactive seminar gave the tourism board a chance to interact directly with India’s leading tour operators, key decisions-makers from the industry, airline representatives, travel agents and the media.

Commenting on the success of the tree-city seminar, Pablo Cagnoni, Market Coordinator - Asia, Oceania and Africa, INPROTUR said, “We interacted with over 400 agents during the three-city seminar and received an encouraging response. We plan to aggressively promote Argentina in the Indian market, since we see great potential for Argentina as a mono-destination in the market.”

After observing a growing interest in the Indian market for Argentina, Cagnoni thinks this was a great platform to educate the travel agents about their products helping them design appropriate packages for clients. “The main target segment, currently, is the high-end consumer and discerning travellers as it is generally an option considered by these two segments due to high airfares.”

According to Medha Sampat, Director, Knack Marketing, India Representative for INPROTUR, the aim of the seminar was to reach out to the three major markets. She also stated that the destination has seen an ascent in the number of Indian arrivals, especially after the recent FIFA World Cup in Brazil, which brought the entire continent of South America in the limelight of global tourism. “Argentina is a still a new destination and it is imperative that we promote this destination more to put it on every travellers list,” she said.

The Argentina Tourism Board is currently developing a marketing strategy for the Indian market on similar lines of the “International Marketing Plan 2012 - 2015 ConectAR” that provides some guidelines that will position Argentina as a destination of excellence. “Various strategies have been implemented based on the needs, wants and expectations of potential tourists. Our current aim is B2B promotions to penetrate the Indian market. Our focus is to get the distribution in place and get travel agents familiar with the destination,” informed Sampat further adding that Argentina Tourism has also developed a new experiential website: www.argentina.travel, which is extremely user friendly.

Touching on the topic of visa clearance, Tomas Ferrari, Consul General of Argentina in Mumbai, said, “We have witnessed a growing interest in Indian travellers to come visit Argentina which clearly shows the relationship the two countries share. We are very encouraged by this interest and want to assure people that getting a visa for Argentina is not difficult if all the paperwork is in order.”

Explaining the importance of working together with the travel trade Cagnoni stated that they want a mutual exchange between Indian and Argentine suppliers, which will promote tourism ties between both countries. “I want Argentine suppliers to understand the market and bring tourists to India.”

INPROTUR will be participating with a delegation of five to six suppliers at major travel trade events in India such as SATTE.

Sri Lanka welcomed a total of 170,000 Indian tourists in 2012, which is the biggest number from a single country. With the promotion of the ‘Get Sri Lankaned’ campaign across various cities in India, the tourism department is looking at increasing these arrivals to 400,000 by 2016, thus helping Sri Lanka achieve its goal of 2.5 million visitors by 2016. “Our main objective behind the campaign is to achieve maximum influx of tourists from the Indian market. India is one of our key source markets and holds vast opportunities for growth in the sector. According to UNWTO reports, Indian outbound tourists will rise to 50 million in 2020, and we want a large slice of that pie,” said Bhashwara Gunaratna, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism. According to him, the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism in Sri Lanka has realised the potential this segment holds and has driven promotional campaigns of this nature to develop travel and tourism industry of Sri Lanka.

While speaking with T3 at the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market 2013 in Dubai,  M.L.A.M.Hizbullah, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Sri Lanka, said that India and Sri Lanka share many similarities, and being close neighbours creates immense opportunities for both countries. “India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of all inbound arrivals. Sri Lanka Tourism launched a five year strategic development plan for the sector, from 2011-2016, based on the development policy framework. It includes serving the needs of all stakeholders and ensuring the economic benefits of the industry within a larger cross section of the society.”

Rumy Jauffer, Managing Director, Sri Lanka Tourism, further informed that tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka in December 2012 rose 25.4 per cent, the highest monthly total ever, and annual arrivals were up 17.5 per cent. “We are very confident that Sri Lanka will become the most favoured destination for tourists from all walks of life. As part of our strategy to increase MICE traffic from India, we plan to hold roadshows and workshops to educate the travel trade about the various attractions and facilities for MICE in Sri Lanka,” he said. Jauffer further informed that SriLankan Airlines has recently introduced a MICE brochure for the Indian market. “The brochure showcases the diverse attractions that the country has to offer as a MICE destination. It highlights the scale of MICE facilities, besides a variety of interesting MICE locations, including Colombo.”

Gunaratna opined that tourism is one of the main contributors to the country’s GDP. A major component of the Indian arrivals was MICE, followed by FITs and families. Jauffer also highlighted the fact that working in close synergy with the Indian trave

l trade will help Sri Lanka. “We will continue to organise many such campaigns, road shows, B2B meetings, and travel and investment forums.”

The tourism board also plans to open three offices in India, starting with Mumbai in July, followed by New Delhi and Bengaluru offices by end of this year. Commenting on air connectivity Gunarathna said, “Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for Indian travellers due to proximity and air connectivity, serviced by SriLankan Airlines, Jet Airways and Air India. SriLankan Airlines operates in eight Indian cities, offering easy connectivity.”

Clearing the air on the political relations between India and Sri Lanka, Gunarathna said, “Our statistics show that these issues  have not hampered tourist influx into Sri Lanka. We will continue to work in harmony with India and promote tourism exchange between the two countries.”

In 2012-13, the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa, witnessed a record arrival of 27.8 lakh tourist of which 4.5 lakh were foreigners, showing an increase of 4.4 per cent in the inflow. The government is now focusing on new markets such as South East Asia, Australia, USA and New Zealand.

Nikhil Desai, Director of Tourism, Goa said, “To further increase international as well as domestic tourist arrivals into Goa, the state government has decided to take up 18 places of tourist interest for the beautification in 2013-2014. We feel this will help us diversify our product offerings  and cater to all kinds of tourists. We want to explore new source markets and to support our efforts. We have recently designated 14 project management consultants for preparation of detail project report, drawings, plans, etc for upgradation and development of places of tourist importance.”

He further added that with the government approving a multi-crore restoration and revitalisation plan, it will go a long way in developing local infrastructure for tourism. “The proposal for beautification of tourist areas in Porvorim is under consideration. Saligao has high tourism potential and is adjacent to the developed tourist belt of Calangute and Candolim and hence has been accorded priority.”

Speaking about their marketing and promotional strategy, he informed, “We have recently rolled out a new marketing strategy. We will soon be releasing advertisements in print and electronic media in India and abroad.” As part of their new strategy, the tourism department will continue to participate in domestic and international road shows and trade fairs. “We have also explored the social media platform. We will soon be appointing a brand consultant to develop brand architecture, work out creative options and implement a brand strategy for Goa tourism.”

In a bid to showcase Brazil as a leisure destination to the Indian travel trade, the Brazil India Business Council recently organised its first tourism-focused event ‘Discover Brazil’ in Mumbai. Josal Luiz Pellegrino, Consul General of Brazil sated that the Indian market is of great importance and has high potential for the destination. “India is expected to record 20 million outbound tourists and Brazil is looking forward to attract them to the upcoming events. Our aim to highlight the importance of the Indian market and spread awareness of the diversity and offerings that Brazil has for everyone,” he said, adding that tourism contributes to 2 per cent of Brazil’s GDP and the government intends to increase this percentage.

Pellegrino further opined that the Council will promote and assist cultural and tourism exchange and business investment between the two countries. “We will hold two more meets later this year in Mumbai and Delhi to promote and highlight Brazil’s vast offerings for the Indian market. We want to promote Brazil as a leisure hub.” The Council will aggressively promote the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014 and Olympic Games 2016. Brazil aims to have 10 million foreign visitors a year before the World Cup. “These events can show the image of the country to the world. If we don’t achieve our visitor target, we will still reach close to those numbers. It’s fair to say that there will be a significant level of interest from visiting fans in Brazil’s main cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and the government has taken note, investing plenty of funds into suitable infrastructure,” Pellegrino said.

Commenting on upping their hotel room inventory in light of the upcoming events, Pallegrino informed that hotels would certainly go some way to maximising Brazil’s tourism potential. Current estimates suggest that there are only 100,000 hotel rooms in the country. “There are plans to add 42,000 new hotel beds in the north-east of Brazil. Aparecida, which is already a well-known tourist resort, has been granted funds to construct a brand-new 330 room hotel. Moreover, some of the country’s most well-established accommodation facilities have received funds for further expanding their properties. The Hotel Gloria in Rio, which is the second largest in the country, has received money for renovation work in order to reach standards of safety and sustainability,” he added.

Commenting on air connectivity, Pellegrino said that Brazil is now well-connected globally via connections with six airlines, including Dubai through Emirates, Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways, Johannesburg with South African Airways, and Doha with Qatar Airways. “The country will be connected with Addis Ababa via Ethiopian Airways in June this year,” he informed.

At the event, industry players such as LATAM Airlines Group, Emirates and Etihad Airways, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts made presentations highlighting Brazil’s versatile offerings, including ecotourism, adventure, leisure and scenic attractions

In 2012-13, the Department of Tourism, Government of Goa, witnessed a record arrival of 27.8 lakh tourist of which 4.5 lakh were foreigners, showing an increase of 4.4 per cent in the inflow. The government is now focusing on new markets such as South East Asia, Australia, USA and New Zealand.

Nikhil Desai, Director of Tourism, Goa said, “To further increase international as well as domestic tourist arrivals into Goa, the state government has decided to take up 18 places of tourist interest for the beautification in 2013-2014. We feel this will help us diversify our product offerings  and cater to all kinds of tourists. Tourism development is a top priority for the Government of Goa.  We want to explore new source markets and to support our efforts,  we have recently designated 14 project management consultants for preparation of detail project report, drawings, plans, etc for upgradation and development of places of tourist importance.”

He further added, “With the government approving a multi-crore restoration and revitalisation plan, it will go a long way in developing local infrastructure for tourism. The proposal for beautification of tourist areas in Porvorim is under consideration. Saligao has high tourism potential and is adjacent to the developed tourist belt of Calangute and Candolim and hence has been accorded priority.”

Speaking about their marketing and promotional strategy, he informed, “We have recently rolled out a new marketing strategy. We will soon be releasing advertisements in print and electronic media in India and abroad.” As a part of their new strategy, the tourism department will continue to participate in domestic and international events such as road shows and trade fairs. “Apart from the usual one, we have also explored the social media platform. We will soon be appointing a brand consultant to develop brand architecture, work out creative options and implement a brand strategy for Goa tourism.”

 

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