Kanchan Nath

MICE important for growth of hospitality: Cassé

Elaborating on the growth of hospitality sector in India in the last few years, Jean-Michel Cassé, COO, AccorHotels, India and South Asia said, “There has been a visible and a definite growth in the market. MICE is also an important aspect to help this sector grow. Market is more evolved now, guests are demanding varied services, multiple innovations across services and the industry as well is flourishing with more supply each year. The industry continues to witness high occupancy and ARR’s, thus, continuing to show promising progress. This is true across segments from luxury to premium and economy.” “One of the noticeable evidences is the availability of hotel brands and properties panning across luxury, mid-scale, economy etc. They have many options to choose from based on the nature of travel, be it for leisure or work. We also cannot deny the contribution of digital and technological innovation to the hospitality industry. Be it internal processes or software for multiple functions and departments or the social media platforms used by guest, technology has eased down everything for both hoteliers and guest, he concluded.

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Ethiopian to launch Chennai- Addis Ababa flights from 3rd April, 2020

Ethiopian Airlines is looking to expand in the south Indian market with the launch of its Chennai flights to its capital. Sharing more details is Tadesse Tilahun, Regional Director, India Sub Continent, Ethiopian Airlines, who bid goodbye to the India market after completing a stint of 7.5 years. He says, “We have seen that the south India market has huge potential and is a growing market. To tap this, we have just finalised launch of Chennai operations. We will be starting this from April 3, 2020 with three frequencies per week. We recently launched Bengaluru operations connecting Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with a direct flight with four frequencies on 787 aircraft. This takes a total of seven flights, daily operations out of the south region to our capital.” Ethiopian Airlines also welcomed its new Regional Director, Tigist Eshetu.

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Delhi to soon offer M!CE infrastructure at a global scale: Kant

Stressing on the importance of M!CE in India, Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog,shared, “I think there is a huge possibility of M!CE tourism in India and therefore the Government is creating two global scale products for this sector—one near Dwarka, which is about five minutes from the airport, and I have been personally involved in it with an aim to create probably the biggest exhibition and convention centre there. It will be an iconic exhibition and convention centre and will be the largest in Southeast Asia, at par with what exists in Shanghai. It should be ready in about a year’s time as 50 per cent of work is already complete. We will also have around 14 hotels there. It will have a large-scale shopping and commercial development. It’s like creating a completely new city in the heart of Delhi in Dwarka. It will also have two metros linked to it, and the roads have been widened for the same. It will be the biggest M!CE destination in Delhi and the Government has taken the initiative of giving this land of around 350 acres at just Re 1. In addition to this, Pragati Maidan has been completely redeveloped again into a global scale development to drive the M!CE market. We have requested all other states to take similar initiatives to develop M!CE tourism and create similar kind of global scale infrastructure.”

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PCEB to hold roadshows in India in January

Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) will be holding roadshows in India to promote Penang as the preferred location for business events activities in the region. The tentative dates for the same are Mumbai, Jan 13, 2020; New Delhi Jan 15, 2020; Chennai Jan 17, 2020; Kochi Jan 20, 2020. Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) is a state bureau established in 2016 to develop the Business Events and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry in Penang.

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Sarovar to open convention centre in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh by March 2020

In a recent interview, Ajay Bakaya, Managing Director of Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, said, “Sarovar is going to open a convention Centre in Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh which is going to be more of a wedding than a M!CE hotel. It’s linked very closely to port of Kakinada, Vijayawada, Vizag, Hyderabad etc. and should open by March 2020. The hotel, a part of the convention centre, will open a little later. The facility will cover 30,000 square feet and will accommodate approximately 3000 people.

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Accor to open new hotels in Udaipur and Mumbai in 2020

Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer (COO) –India & South Asia, Accor has said that Accor will open new hotels in Udaipur and Mumbai in 2020. “Our upcoming properties for 2020 include the launch of Raffles Udaipur, Novotel Mumbai International Airport and ibis Mumbai LBS Road. We also have the Raffles Jaipur and Fairmont Mumbai Sahar, which are in the pipeline. Over the next few years, our focus is to continue to grow our regional network and introduce new brands. We have 25 hotels and approximately 5,000 keys in the pipeline and under active development.” he informed.

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Indians can now apply for Polish visa from Delhi and Mumbai

Indian residents can now apply for a Polish visa through VFS Global with the inauguration of Visa Application Centres in New Delhi and Mumbai. VFS Global will soon offer Polish visa services in eight other cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, and Kolkata. The centre in New Delhi was officially inaugurated by HE Adam Burakowski, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Afghanistan. Customers applying for their Polish visa through VFS Global can opt to submit their applications through the Premium Lounge, which offers end-to-end personalised assistance throughout the process, including private biometric enrolment, all in a plush environment. There is also a range of additional services offered, including courier return of processed passports and documents, and automated alerts on the progress of an application, among others.

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PATA Travel Mart 2020 to be hosted in Leshan, China

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will organise PATA Travel Mart 2020 in Leshan, Sichuan (China) from September 3-6. The event will be hosted by the Leshan Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism Bureau. The city annually receives over 25 million visitors, and the Leshan Giant Buddha of Mount Emei, surrounded by a unique natural landscape, draws worldwide attention due to its influence on Buddhist culture. “We are delighted to be returning to Leshan, Sichuan, China for PATA Travel Mart 2020, having previously worked closely with our various partners to organise the PATA Annual Summit 2015, as well as the annual Emei Global Summit. It is the perfect setting for people to access decision makers, meet new clients, expand their networks, establish new relationships and consolidate existing business partnerships, and I would like to welcome members and non-members to join us at this very special destination,” says Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA. Leshan is a paradise for holidaymakers, and leisure activities in the area include hot springs, skiing, and rural tourism. Travellers can connect to Leshan via Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, then land transfer by car, bus or by speed train from the airport to Leshan city. It takes approximately one hour and 30 minutes by car or bus, and 40 minutes by speed train.

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Russia to extend e-visa facility to Indians for all its regions by 2021

Russia is set to offer e-visa facility to all regions of the Russian Federation by 2021, after offering free e-visa to Indian tourists travelling to four regions of the Russian Federation – St. Petersburg, Leningrad, Kaliningrad, and Far East region. The Federal Agency for Tourism expects that introducing electronic visas for Indian citizens is an effective way to provide an increase in the flow of both group and individual tourists from the country by more than 20 per cent. The topic of e-visa and the mechanism for obtaining them was the key aspect in the framework of the presentation event, ‘Russia 2020, EURO as a gift’, organised in Delhi by the Federal Agency to present the main tourist products of Russia in the Indian market. India is placed third in terms of growth in tourist flow from the Asian region, at 47.8 per cent.

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Grand Mercure opens in Gujarat’s GIFT City; offers six meeting rooms

GIFT City, developed with India’s first ‘Intelligent and Green Infrastructure’, welcomes its first international hotel with Grand Mercure Gandhinagar GIFT City. Located on the bank of the Sabarmati River, GIFT City connects Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Grand Mercure Gandhinagar GIFT City features 151 guest rooms and six meeting rooms. The hotel has a pillarless ballroom that can accommodate up to 200 delegates. Leisure facilities include a state-of-the-art fitness centre, an infinity pool with a separate party area, and a yoga pavilion to rejuvenate the mind and body. The nine-floor property brings the distinctive culture and traditions of Gujarat to life. “We are extremely happy to launch Grand Mercure Gandhinagar GIFT City, the first international branded hotel, in the foremost operational smart city of the country. With the support of Brigade Group, we have successfully established three Grand Mercure properties in the country and look forward to collaborating for more hotels going forward,” said Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer – India & South Asia, Accor.

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