Category Archives: Incentives

Philippines witnesses surge of 37% in Indian arrivals

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The Philippines has recorded a whopping growth of 37 per cent in Indian arrivals in the month of May, 2017, in comparison to the same period last year, as per a release shared by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines. The city of Manila, Pagsanjan, the heritage city of Cebu, Boracay, and Bohol are some of the most popular places among Indian travellers visiting the Philippines. India is currently the 11th source market for the island nation in terms of foreign tourist arrivals and DOT is aiming for double-digit growth this year through aggressive marketing initiatives. Commenting on the growth of arrivals, SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India, said, “We are pleased to announce such a ground breaking growth rate in Indian arrivals to the Philippines. DOT engages travel trade partners in various awareness programmes and travel shows in order to maintain and sustain tourist traffic from the Indian market. In 2017, we aim to achieve the mark of 100,000 visitors to the Philippines from India.”

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TCEB highlights focus areas to enhance MICE

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The new President of Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has highlighted four focus areas to enhance MICE in the country: growing in parallel with the development of the country, growing in a high potential market, growing with equality and growing strongly. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of TCEB, said, “TCEB has the direct duty of developing every aspect of the MICE industry, from considering the needs of the market, the strengths and weaknesses of the country, the problems within the country, and to find ways to overcome those issues, as well as developing every area related to MICE, which is the appropriate role of the public sector.” From statistics over the last 10 years, Thailand has received approximately 150 billion baht of revenue from the MICE industry, both domestic and international, created approximately 164,000 jobs, and gained around 10.5 billion baht of revenue from taxation. Furthermore, in 2016, the International Congress and Convention Association, or ICCA,placed Thailand as having hosted174 events, ranking Thailand 24th, an improvement from 27th in 2015, with Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya ranking higher than the previous year as well. In terms of exhibitions, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, or UFI, ranked Thailand the number 1 among ASEAN nations in terms of exhibition space sold over the past 5 years (2011-2015). In terms of general exhibition space, Thailand ranked in the top five ASEAN countries. Additionally, Thailand has a total of 256,984 metres squared of exhibition space across nine exhibition centres in Bangkok and other important MICE cities. To build MICE into a key sector in developing the country, therefore requires the use of four directions for enhancing the MICE industry and create …

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Yatra acquires Air Travel Bureau

Yatra Online, Inc. logo (PRNewsfoto/Yatra Online, Inc.)

Yatra Online, Inc. has announced acquisition of  Air Travel Bureau, India’s largest independent corporate travel services provider, under definitive agreement through its subsidiary, Yatra Online. “This acquisition will allow us to deliver best-in-class experiences to an even wider set of travellers, through our web and mobile app platforms and enhance our reach to cross-sell our entire product suite, including hotels, to this customer base ” said Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Yatra Online, Inc. “ATB has built a very strong presence over the last 30 years in the corporate travel space,” said Sunil Narain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ATB.

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BuyForexOnline introduces online remittance for students

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BuyForexOnline.com has announced the launch of convenient and affordable online remittance services for Indian students planning to study abroad. BuyForexOnline’s wire transfer service allows students to make university payments online at attractive rates. Wire transfer services are available in 26 currencies to 200+ countries worldwide and are executed within 48 hours. “Wire transfers or remittances are a popular method of transferring funds abroad using the SWIFT platform. To remit money one needs to have a sending bank account and a receiving Bank account. The prevailing Forex rate viewed online will be frozen at the time of placing the order, and the sending fee levied by the sending bank and a Beneficiary fee or BEN charges levied by the receiving Bank are also transparently displayed ”said Ananth Reddy, Founder and Managing Director of BuyForexOnline. “So for instance if you are sending US$10,000 abroad through a bank or offline vendors, you might be charged a sending fee of Rs 2,500 and BEN charges of up to US$50, and be offered rates at a margins of up to four per cent, which all could add up to a cost of around Rs 30,000! We are trying to make the process affordable by offering the lowest wire transfer rates and zero sending fee, so a similar remittance transaction online with us would cost the student just about Rs 5,000 or less.’’ “Wire transfers are still an indispensable way to make university payments, especially during the university application and Enrollment phases, though Forex cards are gaining in popularity for making in-person University Fee payments and for maintenance expenses. And to bring-in added convenience we have made documentation much easier by enabling online upload and offering …

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8.7% hike in air pricing likely in 2018: GBTA & CWT

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According to the 2018 Global Travel Forecast, airfares in India are forecast to see an 8.7 per cent hike in 2018. The Asia Pacific region will see a 2.8 per cent rise in airfares in 2018, with domestic demand increasing in India and China. The report has been prepared by GBTA Foundation in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and with the support of the Carlson Family Foundation. The report suggests that global airfares are expected to rise 3.5 percent in 2018; hotel prices are expected to be 3.7 percent higher; and ground transportation such as taxis, trains and buses are expected to rise only 0.6 percent. Jeanne Liu, Vice President – Research, GBTA Foundation, said, “The most successful programs will have to keep a watchful eye on both geopolitical risks and a rapidly-changing supplier landscape as they re-evaluate strategy often and adapt as necessary.” Kurt Ekert, president and CEO, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, said, “The global numbers from this forecast should be considered strong leading indicators of what 2018 will mean for global businesses, as we anticipate higher spending.”

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TCEB’s TIME 2017 lures MICE players to Thailand

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Around 40 buyers from India, comprising corporate buyers and travel agents, participated in Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau’s (TCEB) second edition of TIME (Thailand Incentive and Meeting Exchange) that was held in Bangkok from June 29-30, 2017. This year, TIME had laid its focus on the Indian market; last year, it had highlighted China’s MICE industry. TIME has been initiated and designed as a Knowledge Exchange, Business Exchange and Experience Exchange programme where buyers and sellers have the opportunity to meet and understand market trends and preferences and products of MICE travellers, specifically the meetings and incentives components. Nooch Homrossukhon, Director, Meeting & Incentive, TCEB, informed that 80 per cent of the total MICE traffic from India is for incentives and therefore, the area requires more attention and education. “India is our top MICE source market after China.Thailand understands the culture, behaviour and preferences of Indian customers better than any other destination,” she said while commenting on the reasons for continuing growth and interest in Thailand. TCEB left no stone unturned in ensuring suitable incentives, team-building activities, and gala dinners for MICE participants for the TIME 2017 event. An extended tour to the northern city of Chiang Mai was organised from July 1-4, 2017, to unravel the MICE facilities in the region to these MICE players. Chiang Mai’s KHUM KHAM International Convention Centre also showcased its MICE industry for TIME 2017 through table top sessions where internal players interacted with Indian MICE participants. There were some 24 booths exhibiting their unique offerings to the Indian MICE players.

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Incheon’s Songdo Convensia to double its size by 2018

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Songdo Convensia, a landmark of Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ), located in Songdo, South Korea, will be reopened in July, 2018, with a total floor area of 64,000 sqm, double its current size. It will have 900 exhibition booths, premium ballroom that can accommodate up to 2000 people and 41 meeting rooms, fully ready for its grand reopening. In addition, Songdo Convensia is playing its role as the optimal convention centre that aims for sustainable low-carbon meeting venue as Asia’s first LEED-certified convention centre with MICE application platform support for paperless meetings. When the second stage of the construction is completed, it will be one of the best places for MICE with its newly built exhibition, conference, and sales facilities. The international conference room and multipurpose square are expected to attract a variety of exhibitions and events. Lee Yeong-Geun, IFEZ Commissioner, said, “The exhibition and conference industry is critical for Songdo International District to be globally competitive. The second stage of construction of Songdo Convensia will be a backbone of this high value added service industry.”

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Personal learning experiences now available through Marriott Rewards and SPG

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Available exclusively for members as a result of Marriott International’s unrivalled roster of global brands, property amenities, and partnerships, these one-of-a kind, sought-after learning experiences are designed to be highly personal interactions with superstars in sports, culinary, entertainment, and lifestyle. “Our members believe life is an adventure worth pursuing,” said David Flueck, Senior Vice President of Global Loyalty, Marriott International. “We’re focused on taking the best of Marriott’s loyalty programmes – including our partnerships and extraordinary portfolio of hotels – and stepping them up with master classes that provide transformative experiences travellers cannot get anywhere else.” The first collection in the ongoing global master class series features hands-on learning experiences with basketball great Dwyane Wade, Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sörenstam, celebrated chef Eric Ripert, and legendary surfer Laird Hamilton. These unique elevated experiences are in addition to the thousands of other experiences already offered on both Marriott Rewards Moments and SPG Moments platforms. Future master classes, which will be added in the coming weeks and months, will continue to tap into Marriott International’s unmatched depth and breadth of 30 brands, 6100 properties in 124 countries and territories including the Sound Suite at the W hotels, as well as exclusive partnerships with the largest music company, and some of the most popular music venues in the world.

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Choice Hotels unveils ‘We mean Business’ for corporate travellers

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels International has amplified its focus on the business travel segment with new appealing offerings. The company announced its ‘We mean Business’ platform, signifying a commitment to partner with corporate travel managers and demonstrate expanded services for business travellers. Choice has strengthened its managed travel programme by helping corporate clients drive compliance, improve travel budgets, and keep travellers happy by opening new upscale properties like Cambria Hotels and the Ascend Hotel Collection that provide an experience tailored to meet the needs of today’s modern business traveller, while enabling organisations to control travel costs. Transforming upper midscale and midscale brands like Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, and Sleep Inn, the group helps to ensure that corporate managers are recommending the best products in those segments to business travellers. Expanding to nearly all of the top business markets with 6500 hotels worldwide, travel managers can feel confident in Choice being able to provide accommodations in virtually any location. Choice Hotels also offers preferred rate programmes that can minimise an organisation’s total travel costs, provide dedicated corporate contacts who partner in managing business travel programmes, deliver essential amenities,and offer the one-of-a-kind Your Extras benefit as part of the award-winning Choice Privileges loyalty programme. Designed with the corporate traveller in mind, Your Extras lets members digitally select additional instant rewards on every midweek stay. “Choice’s diverse portfolio of brands enables our guests travelling on business to find the right option for every trip. We’re constantly adapting and improving our brands based on guests’ feedback because, at Choice, We mean Business,” said Tom Disantis, Vice President, Sales Strategy and Operations, Choice Hotels.

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Korea takes first place in UIA global meetings ranking

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Korea now ranks in the number one spot worldwide for global congresses hosted in 2016, according to the latest International Meetings Statistics Report released by the Union of International Associations (UIA). The result is a reflection of strong growth by established Korean meeting cities such as Seoul, as well as rising destinations like Busan, Jeju, and Incheon, contributing to the country’s increasingly diverse business events portfolio. Supporting this growth is the Korea MICE Expo that is jointly organised by the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) along with its 11 Regional Convention Bureaus. The nation recently concluded the 18th edition of Korea MICE Expo 2017, its leading business events trade show that brought together 250 businesses and more than 300 buyers from around the world, including India. The expo showcased their MICE products in a two-day expo at Incheon’s Songdo Convensia between June 15-16, 2017 that recorded a total of 3,000 attendees. This reflected a 21.6 per cent increase in attendance over the previous year. Kapsoo Kim, Executive Director, Korea MICE Bureau, says, “These latest findings are a strong reflection of Korea’s broad growth not only across the country’s meetings section, but across the country itself. Established event destinations like Seoul are continuing to show their prowess, while an increasing number of regional capitals are giving global meetings planners an increasing variety of options, and so boosting Korea’s appeal for congresses

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