Category Archives: Incentives

IHG signs two new properties in Dubai

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InterContinental Hotels Group has announced signing two new properties in Dubai: Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay and InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Business Bay. Both properties are in partnership with API Hotels & Resorts. Expected to open in 2019, Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay will be situated on the Business Bay Canal, near the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, as well as other developing commercial and residential communities. With 290 rooms and suites, the hotel will offer guests all day dining options, as well as a gym and an outdoor infinity pool. As a major draw for business bookers and travellers, Crowne Plaza Dubai Business Bay will include a ballroom as well as several meeting rooms to host conferences and events. Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Officer, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, commented: “In the Middle East, we are currently engaged in the strategic expansion of the Crowne Plaza brand, as well as growing the footprint of our InterContinental Residence Suites. In support of these goals, we are delighted to be working with API Hotels & Resorts, an eminent partner with a proven track record in high quality hotel developments across the UAE.” Jassim Al Ali, CEO of API Hotels & Resorts, added: “In order to maximise further growth opportunities in the Middle East, we believe that we need to add a global operator with an internationally recognized brand to our portfolio and IHG, as a market leader with over 5,000 hotels worldwide fits this profile perfectly.”

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MTDC, MPT, MoS to collectively focus on cruise tourism

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Mumbai recently saw a gathering of a high-level delegation from different ministries and government authorities who announced their collective plan and focus to develop cruise tourism. Sharing their perspectives were: Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Government of India; Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra, Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, Vijay Waghmare, MD, MTDC and David Dingle, Chairman, Carnival UK. Titled ‘Dawn of Cruise in India’ the seminar aimed at encouraging cruise tourism in India, more specifically Mumbai, by improving infrastructure, facilitating quick and easy movement of cruise passengers, and easing taxation for cruise companies. Gadkari identified the reasons why cruise tourism had not taken off in India. As one of the initial steps, all relevant government agencies such as port authorities, security agencies, immigration authorities, customs, and port health authorities were identified and formed a task force to first assess the current condition and then look at the global best practices. Rawal said, “Maharashtra is pleased to be the homeport of choice for cruises in India. The association with the shipping Ministry mutually assist to formulate policies to support Maharashtra’s position as a cruise hub. Therefore, there is huge potential for cruise tourism among domestic as well as international travellers. Cruise tourism will assist to earn huge foreign exchange and generate job opportunities.”

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SuperStar Libra to triple homeports from September: Star Cruises

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Star Cruises has announced SuperStar Libra’s latest deployment from September 3, 2017, onwards with triple homeports in Kuala Lumpur via Port Klang and Penang in Malaysia, as well as in Phuket, Thailand, with two cruises per week, including the 3-nights Kuala Lumpur (via Port Klang)/Phuket/Penang cruise or the four-nights Kuala Lumpur (via Port Klang)/Langkawi/Phuket/Penang cruise. With the introduction of Star Cruises’ multiple homeports and fly-cruise options, guests in Southeast Asia as well as the region will now have easy access to take a cruise with SuperStar Libra from any of these three well-connected key cities, especially Kuala Lumpur, which is now a major aviation hub in Asia. Ang Moo Lim, President,Star Cruises, says, “Star Cruises is optimistic this will grow our source markets in Southeast Asia, allowing guests more access to multiple homeports and concurrently developing and stimulating the growth of the cruise tourism sector across borders through fly-cruise options.” With Penang previously as the only homeport for SuperStar Libra in Malaysia, domestic travellers nationwide and international passengers can now celebrate with more options to either embark from the historically rich culture city of Penang or the modern bustling city of Kuala Lumpur via its new main homeport in Port Klang, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur remains one the key gateway to Malaysia and also the Southeast Asian region with an expected targeted inbound tourism of over 30 million in 2017. In Thailand, Phuket is also a renowned destination for many international tourists and Star Cruises is now opening up options for travellers from the island, both domestic and from the fly-cruise travel to hop a cruise with SuperStar Libra. During SuperStar Libra’s triple homeport deployment in Malaysia and Thailand, guests of …

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Alibaba Group and Marriott International enter into a joint venture

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Alibaba Group and Marriott International have announced the establishment of a joint venture to redefine the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers travelling abroad and domestically every year. Drawing on resources from both Marriott and Alibaba, the joint venture will manage Marriott’s storefront on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform. It will also market directly to Alibaba’s customer base, provide a link between Marriott’s loyalty programmes and Alibaba’s loyalty programme, and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programmes and promotions customised for the Chinese traveller. This new venture is designed to satisfy consumers’ expectations for seamless, integrated, personalised, and convenient travel solutions that connect travellers directly to Marriott’s portfolio of international hotel brands. The travel industry is an important growth opportunity as China’s travellers are expected to take an estimated 700 million trips over the next five years. Marriott’s owners and franchisees globally will benefit from the joint venture by capturing a greater share of this growing Chinese travel market and lower distribution costs associated with the joint venture. “We are proud to join forces with Marriott International – combining our large-scale consumer base, leading-edge technology and consumer insights with their unparalleled hospitality expertise,” said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. “Together, we are elevating and redefining the travel experience for Chinese consumers to be more seamless and personalized as they embark on adventures to discover the world.” Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, said, “By forming this partnership, we are pairing our hospitality expertise with Alibaba’s digital travel platform, retail expertise and digital payment platform, Alipay, and driving membership to our loyalty programs. With the growing number of Chinese consumers exploring …

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Singapore Airlines launches campaign with Shangri-La

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In celebration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) 50th founding anniversary, global travel brands Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Singapore Airlines have partnered to launch a regional travel campaign called ‘ASEAN Is More – First Stop Singapore’. The campaign will showcase Southeast Asia’s diverse destinations with specially curated leisure travel offers, which can be reserved from  August 1 to October 31, for stays until December 31, 2017. Families can find exclusive flight offers to exciting destinations and hotel deals for any Shangri-La hotel or resort in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand; Hotel Jen properties in Singapore and Malaysia; as well as Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The ASEAN Is More Family Fun offer includes: Accommodations for two adults and two children aged 11 years old and below Daily breakfast buffet Complimentary extra bed or sofa bed for one child Complimentary daily dinner buffet for two adults and two children aged 11 years old and below with free-flow soft drinks, juices, beer and house wine at selected hotels. Complimentary wireless Internet access To turn up the notch on fun, travellers can take part in the ASEAN 50 Holiday Memory Match game, which will run from August 1 to October 31.  Game participants score points by correctly matching all the cards in the shortest time and the accumulated scores will be displayed on a leader board on the game’s microsite. The top 10 fastest contestants will each win a four-day and three-night stay at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore that includes a SGD200 dining credit at NAMI Restaurant and Bar. Winners of the ASEAN 50 Holiday Memory Match game will be notified through email. At the end of the game, participants are …

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Dream Cruises unveils first all-inclusive services for palace suites

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Dream Cruises has unveiled a new luxury experience for guests  for its prestigious Dream Palace Suite and Garden Penthouses on board Genting Dream and its soon-to-arrive twin sister ship World Dream.  Dream Palace has 142 suites and private VIP facilities including a swimming pool, spa, gym and dining venues. “Since the launch of Genting Dream, guest feedback on our Dream Palace experience has been overwhelming. This has inspired us to create an all-inclusive luxury offering, which upgrades our guest experience to a new level and makes our Dream Palace proposition across our fleet even more exceptional in the market,” said Thatcher Brown, President, Dream Cruises. Guests can enjoy the new Dream Palace experience on Genting Dream from September 1 and on World Dream when it arrives in Asia in November. Dream Palace has truly become even more regal with these benefits: Complimentary set menu meals in all Dream Palace outlets Complimentary set meal credit in five speciality restaurants – each night will feature choice of a unique speciality restaurant experience Complimentary premium beverage package to be enjoyed in all bars and lounges Complimentary soft drinks and bottled water in room Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the cruise Complimentary city shuttle transfers, exclusive for Dream Palace guests Complimentary al fresco seafood barbeque dinner hosted on the Dream Palace private pool deck area during the last sea day of all five night cruises, exclusive for Dream Palace guests Priority at booking at the Vintage Room private food and wine chef’s table

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Ark Travels hosts annual party for trade on SuperStar Gemini

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Ark Travels, the Preferred Sales Agent for Star Cruises in India, is conducting its annual party titled ‘Big Bang Nautical Fiesta’ from August 13-16, 2017 and this time its onboard SuperStar Gemini. The three-night itinerary include Singapore-Penang-Langkawi-Singapore. Anju Tandon, Director at Ark Travels, says, “This is to say thank you for our agent partners for selling us throughout the year. Our target is to take 350-400 agents from across India that will include small regions like Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and surrounding areas, cities in Gujarat not just Ahmedabad and Surat but also Rajkot. The aim this time is not only to take the ones who are already selling us but also those who have given just one or two bookings so that we can encourage them as well as show them the product.” Moreover, Ark has been chartering cruises with entertainment onboard since last year. This includes additional entertainment apart from what the ship already offers. “We take a team of event organisers who do a lot of pool games and conduct aqua zumba, war of the DJs on the deck at night, Bollywood nights that feature well-known singers like Parleen Gill, etc. Since it’s a charter sailing, these perks are available for everyone onboard because they have all booked through Ark Travels. We will continue to focus on selling charter cruises next year as well,” Tandon adds. With respect to the forthcoming travel season, Ark Travels will be focusing on other Star Cruises brands as well like SuperStar Libra (ex-Penang) and SuperStar Virgo (ex-Nansha) till March 2017.

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The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat to open its doors for business travellers from Oct 1

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The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat, perceived as a retreat for business and leisure travellers, will be unveiled on October 1, 2017. Located in dynamic Kolkata near the International Convention Centre and airport, the hotel will have 158 rooms. With abstract artwork harmonising with the ivory colour palette, the Deluxe Rooms invite you to relax in contemporary style. Ample natural light fills the space through double-glazed floor-to-ceiling windows framing spectacular views of the pool, Eco Park Lake, or the Kolkata skyline. If achieving productivity is a priority, the spacious writing desk with ergonomic chair and multi-jack connectivity helps you stay focused.

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MICE crisis in hotels post GST: HRAWI

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Post the Goods & Services Tax (GST) roll out earlier this month, the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) related activities have been hit hard. One of the anomalies that emerged post GST roll-out was that MICE activities and other events held in hotels outside of home state are not eligible for Input Tax Credit (ITC). This has been leading to cancellations and postponements for pre booked events. Given the emergence of MICE Tourism as one of the fastest growing segments, and its potential to disrupt growth, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has appealed to the Government to revisit this particular aspect of the GST. “There is an overall reduction in MICE bookings across hotels in India as compared to the same period last year. Advance bookings are being cancelled and new bookings are not happening. Most companies are considering holding events in the same State where they are registered under GST. Businesses may still have digested the high GST, but without ITC, it just becomes unviable. MICE tourism is too important a segment for the nation to overlook,” says Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI. Talking about the GST slabs for the industry he adds, “The 28 per cent GST rate for rooms with tariff of Rs. 7500/- and above is one of the highest in the world and will seriously affect cash flow. Moreover, the tax percentage will be determined based on the published or declared rate which is creating a lot of hardship for the industry. The association has appealed the Government to remove this condition and determine the tax percentage based on the actual transaction value and has also requested to review the ITC …

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Pacific World unveils new venues for MICE

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Pacific World has introduced its new selection of event venues and immersion experiences for its guests. “We are continuously looking for new venues that are not just cool and stunning, but will achieve our clients’ meetings and events goals,” said Patricia Silvio, Global Marketing Manager of Pacific World. “2017 events are now well under way, and our teams around the globe have been selecting and sharing their findings and choices. We have found that most of the spaces selected answer to the latest industry trends. Clients are craving for immersive experiences to engage with the local destination, culture and tradition. Each of these venues inspire planners to think outside of the box on many levels, and they are the basis to creating unforgettable experiences for years to come.” Pacific World has identified a growing interest in private residences, natural outdoor locations and conceptual venues that highlight culture and gastronomy for meetings and events. In Paris, France, a private luxury apartment located at a bespoke address nestled in the heart of the Right Bank, Marais neighborhood await guests to explore more. In Barcelona, Spain at the Opera Samfaina – a new venue concept combining fine cuisine and cutting-edge technology guests can enjoy standout dishes while immersed in stunning sounds, projections and animations.  For a fully immersive cultural experience in Asia,  Pacific World has created a wholly immersive experience in the village of Mengwi, Bali that utilises the town’s sights, sounds, tastes and residents. It can accommodate up to 200 guests.

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