Tag Archives: India

Indian business travellers prefer earning loyalty points: Study


According to a new survey commissioned by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT),  92 per cent of Indian business travellers believe in earning personal loyalty points or rewards as a suited reason to book outside of company policy.  With airlines and hotels nowadays offering a range of personal incentives for continued loyalty, it appears that personal rewards provide sufficient justification for some employees to ignore standard company policies. While a large majority of business travellers from India acknowledge the value of travelling for work, and are aware their company has a travel policy, many are reluctant to comply with company travel policies citing issues including wanting business lounge access (93 per cent), using preferred airlines not within current policy (88 per cent) and desire to stay in a safer location (94 per cent). Ashish Kishore, GBT’s Managing Director, India, said companies need to regularly review their travel policies and ensure they are fit for purpose. Desiring accommodation closer to a meeting or business event venue (96 per cent), staying in a more convenient location (96 per cent), and staying in a better quality hotel (96 per cent) were the top reasons Indian business travellers provided as a rationale for booking outside the company travel policy. “Businesses can set themselves up for success by ensuring their travel policies cover the most suitable airlines and hotels. Offering a wide variety of appropriate options will help encourage employees to book within policy while also enjoying luxury of choice. Automated travel approval technology can also make it easier for travellers to make the right decisions.” “When employees book within travel policy it not only helps companies keep track of their staff and fulfil their …

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Emirates Skywards reaches 20 mn members


Emirates Skywards, a loyalty programme popular for its unique offerings has reached 20 million members. Those travelling from Dubai on Emirates flights during the week beginning March 4, 2018, can look forward to surprises at check-in, onboard and in the lounges for some of its longest-standing members. “The programme has evolved in the 17 years since its inception in line with changing travel and lifestyle habits. Emirates Skywards is focused on delivering ever more personalised experiences for its members. We provide a wide array of earn and redeem options across a number of categories – travel, retail and lifestyle and across geographies, leveraging more than 100 partners worldwide,” explains Dr Nejib Ben Khedher, Senior Vice President, Emirates Skywards. In an average month, Emirates Skywards welcomes 220,000 new members across the globe. The top five countries with the largest member bases are spread across four continents reflecting Emirates’ six-continent global network. UK has the biggest membership base at 2.6 million, followed by the US with 1.8 million members, Australia with 1.7 million members and India and the UAE following closely with 1.4 million members each.  

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Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center offers new MICE space

riyyadh convention centre

InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the opening of Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center. The 326-room hotel is located in the Al Ra’idah Digital City (RDC). The Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center offers a comprehensive range of facilities to meet the needs of corporate and MICE guests. The hotel features over 12,000 m2 of exhibition and conference space including a three-level circular conference center, a ballroom, large pre-function areas and 12 daylight meeting rooms equipped with modern digital technology. Pascal Gauvin, Managing Director, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of the Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center. The hotel is located in the new information technology area of Riyadh, that will be developed as the IT and Communications hub in the city, and is expected to attract business travellers from across the world. We are observing an increased demand for guests who would like to have access to world-class business amenities. This hotel and the overall master development are perfectly suited to cater to this demand. The IHG brand has built an excellent reputation in the Kingdom and we are proud to add the Crowne Plaza – RDC Hotel and Convention Center to our growing portfolio in the Middle East region.” Waleed Al Eisa, Chief Operating Officer, Al Raidah Investment Company, said: “The Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel and Convention Center reflects our commitment to bring a full range of amenities to our tenants and to business travellers who are looking for a high quality hospitality experience.” Additionally, Crowne Plaza Riyadh – RDC Hotel is in close proximity to the new …

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Israel simplifies visa process for Indian tourists

Hassan Madah - Director Israel Ministry of Tourism India Philippines (002)

To encourage more Indian travellers to visit Israel, the country has eased the visa application procedure for Indian citizens. The relaxed visa rule involves less documentation for Indians who have availed visas of Schengen countries, US, Canada, Australia or Israel and have completed their travel to these countries.  For these travellers, the documents include a valid passport, completed visa application Form, two photographs, cover letter with travel information, traveller’s insurance and passport copy. Hassan Madah, Director of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, India, says, “This is an initiative we have been working very closely with Interior Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry to introduce in India and I am happy to see this change for the Indian travellers who wish to travel to Israel.  Easing the visa requirements will not only make the application process faster, I am confident it will also increase travel to Israel as well.  We are also working on an express service with VFS which will be introduced soon.  In addition to this, we are working towards e-visa processing as well as easing the group visa process.” In September this year, one year multiple entry visas for business travellers was introduced. Visa processing is available through VFS processing centres located all over India for the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai and Bengaluru as well as the Embassy of Israel in Delhi.  The Ministries are working with the VFS offices to introduce express visa services, which will be available to applicants for an additional fee.

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All cheers for passenger demand in October: IATA


According to global passenger traffic results by International Air Transport Association (IATA), the passenger demand in airlines rose 7.2 per cent in October compared to the same month last year. The capacity grew 6.2 per cent and load factor climbed 0.8 percentage points to 80.8 per cent, a record for the month. October’s performance was a strong rebound after the hurricane-related disruptions in September. Domestic and international travel growth largely was in balance. “As expected, the recent severe weather in the American region had only a temporary impact on the healthy travel demand we have seen this year, and we remain on course for another year of above-trend growth,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 45 per cent of the region’s operations. Asia-Pacific airlines led all regions with traffic growth of 10.3 per cent compared to the year-ago period, which was up from an 8.7 per cent rise in September. Capacity climbed 8.4 per cent and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 78.0 per cent.

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Air Astana plans to start Mumbai flights in 2019

air astana logo 4x3

Having completed 13 years of service between India to Kazakhstan and Eurasia, Air Astana plans to start a new connection to Mumbai in 2019. Currently, the airline operates 10 flights a week between Kazakhstan and India. This includes a daily service between Almaty and New Delhi and three flights between Astana and New Delhi, which started in July this year. Peter Foster, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Astana, said, “India is an important destination for Air Astana and has connected both business and leisure passengers well between both the countries. The number of passengers carried between India and Kazakhstan in 2017 is 43,459, an increase of 43 per cent as compared to that in 2016. In fact, the number of transit passengers travelling from New Delhi via Almaty to other international destinations grew by 33 per cent in 2016.”

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Standard Chartered’s ‘ultimate’ card for business travellers

Standard chartered

Standard Chartered Bank has announced the launch of its new credit card to enable lucrative benefits for travellers, business and leisure, alike. Called as ‘Ultimate’ credit card claims to be optimal with one of the highest reward point value in the market. The credit card will also provide consumers a range of attractive and enhanced benefits like upgrades at luxury hotels, cashback at duty free shops and access to total of 170 premier golf courses in India and across the globe, among others premium benefits. This card is available for a nominal fee of Rs 5,000 however customers will get a host of benefits, such as Rs 10,000 cashback on spends on a specific travel portal in first three months of on boarding. These customers will also earn 5X rewards on all spends while availing exclusive rewards redemption platform with options across air travel, hotel booking and premium products catalogue. Shyamal Saxena, Country Head – Retail Banking, India, Standard Chartered Bank, said, “We had recently launched our Premium Banking programme for the emerging affluent customers with key benefits extended to the customers’ family members. Now, we believe this Ultimate credit card too will be a compelling product in the HNI & affluent segments with its feature rich offerings.” Benefits offered: Value of One reward point is equal to Re 1 Complimentary access to over 900 airports across the world Complimentary access to 20 premier golf courses across India & 150 across the globe. Upto 25% instant discount at top 200 restaurants through the Standard Chartered Bank concierge Travellers can earn cashback up to 5 per centat duty free shopping Reduced Forex mark-up at 2 per cent

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Asia-Pacific sees growth in the meetings and events space: CWT


A report on future trends in the meetings and events space by the CWT Meetings & Events (CWT M&E), a division of global travel management company Carlson Wagonlit Travel, revealed that the overall cost per attendee per day for meetings and events around the globe increased in 2017 and is expected to continue rising next year. Titled as 2018 Meetings and Events Future Trend, the report also looks into regional differences and cost projections, as well as the latest industry trends and top destinations. According to the report, the cost per attendee per day for meetings and events in Asia Pacific has increased by 5 per cent in 2017, the greatest for any region globally. It stated that the prices are not changing much in Asia Pacific, for either hotels or air fares, with a surge of 3.5 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively. The top 10 destinations for meetings & events in Asia Pacific in 2017 as in the report are as follows: 1. Singapore 2. Sydney, Australia 3. Bangkok, Thailand 4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 5. Hong Kong 6. Shanghai, China 7. Melbourne, Australia 8. Tokyo, Japan 9. Mumbai, India 10. Seoul, South Korea

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Israel tourism board conducts roadshow in India

Hassan Madah - Director Israel Ministry of Tourism India Philippines (002)

In continuation of its goal to increase the number of Indian arrivals to the country, the Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) conducted its second roadshow for 2017 in India.  The roadshow was in a networking workshop format and commenced on August 21 in Mumbai followed by Delhi on August 22. Other cities include Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru. The roadshow shall conclude in Chennai on August 30. The Israeli delegation was led by Hassan Madah, Director – Israel Ministry of Tourism, India, along with Judah Samuel, Director – Marketing, Israel Ministry of Tourism, India and included representative partners from the tourism industry of Israel.  The roadshow witnessed a participation of over 100 travel agents in each city. Madah said, “Over 34,000 Indians have already visited Israel in the last six months of 2017 marking a growth of 37 per cent in Indian tourist arrivals.  The historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel has sparked a renewed interest among Indians to visit Israel and we want to leverage this to increase destination awareness among Indian travel trade and MICE agents. The response across the 6 cities was very positive and promising.” Israel recorded an exponential growth of 79 per cent in Indian arrivals in June compared to the same month last year.  Currently, El Al provides direct connectivity between India and Israel and has 3 (3 in the summer, 4 in the winter) weekly flights from Mumbai to Tel Aviv. Other connections to Israel include Turkish Airlines from Mumbai and Delhi to Tel Aviv (via Istanbul), Ethiopian Airlines from Mumbai and Delhi to Tel Aviv (via Addis Ababa) and Aeroflot Russian Airlines from Delhi to Tel Aviv (via Moscow), including other European …

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IHG signs two new properties in Dubai


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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