Tourism infrastructure or lose out on jobs and economic
contribution for the country
Weaknesses in the current state of Travel & Tourism
infrastructure in the U.S. pose a threat to Travel & Tourism growth in the
country and could cost the U.S. in terms of jobs and a reduced contribution to
the economy. That is according to Mr. David Scowsill, President & CEO of
the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the member organisation for the
global Travel & Tourism sector. A new WTTC report out today says the poor
quality of U.S. ground transport infrastructure could see the country fail to
meet its demand growth predictions, lose ground to other advanced economies and
miss out on social and economic benefits from Travel & Tourism.
WTTCâs report, âTravel & Tourism investment in the
Americas: will the regionâs infrastructure and investment constrain or support
future industry growth?â states that U.S. Travel & Tourism infrastructure
is of a comparatively high quality and capacity overall. However, its ground
infrastructure is weak. Given the outlook for Travel & Tourism investment
and demand over the next decade, Mr Scowsill says it raises cause for concern;
âThe United States does not rank favourably for âtourism supportingâ
infrastructure, to transport tourists domestically and internationally. This is
compared to other advanced economies within Asia and continental Europe. Roads,
especially in the major cities, are heavily congested. Rail networks are slow,
compared to their high speed equivalents in other countries. Flight delays and
cancellations are common, with inadequate air traffic control infrastructure.
No domestic or international tourist wants to spend time in road traffic jams
or in lines at airports. Major improvements are neededâ.
The forecast annual average growth of Travel & Tourism
investment over the next decade for North America is 4.4%. The sector is
expected to grow by 3.6% per annum. Against this backdrop of strong demand
growth prospects and an increasingly competitive marketplace, the report states
that the U.S. is at risk of complacency. Mr Scowsill says it is essential for
the U.S. to make significant investment for the ongoing development and growth
of its Travel & Tourism sector; âWTTC fully supports the Build America
Investment transportation initiative announced this summer by President Obama.
It is certainly promising to see the recognition for infrastructure improvement
and the funding being put behind the initiative. However, the Government must
ensure it delivers the right level of investment to effect change. Most
importantly, industry and government need to work in partnership to see through
these critical improvements. This includes the need for the air traffic control
system to be upgraded to the NextGen programme, which is so desperately
required to keep competitive and to improve airline performance for climate
Mr Scowsill says the market is ripe for investment; âThe
economy is now stable. The tourism-supporting infrastructure is recognised as
weak, which means there is an unequivocal case for major upgrade work. There is
a real opportunity for private investors to seize and to work with the U.S.
Government to ensure these improvements are realisedâ.
WTTCâs report out today outlines that investment is
essential for a number of reasons; to ensure current infrastructure is
maintained to a good standard; to adapt and upgrade current infrastructure and
to expand capacity to prevent supply-side bottlenecks.
The U.S. is the biggest tourism economy in the world.
According to WTTCâs 2014 U.S. Economic Impact Report, the total contribution of
Travel & Tourism to GDP was 8.4% (US$1,416.0bn) and visitor exports
generated 8.4% of total exports (US$190.1bn) in 2013, (including direct,
indirect, and induced). Travel is the second-largest U.S. export by industry
and accounts for almost a third (31.2 percent) of U.S. service exports and
almost a tenth (9.4 percent) of exports of all goods and services, according to
the U.S. Travel Association.
Mr Scowsill believes the U.S. has to do the following to
maintain and grow its market share of visitors and appeal to an ever-growing
and diverse group of travellers; âThe U.S. needs to ensure that travel is as
seamless and hassle-free as possible. Bottlenecks need to be removed in air and
in road and rail networks, especially in areas with high population density.
Itâs essential that ground transportation connects directly to airports and
urban centres and that there is more point to point connectivity. A NextGen air
traffic control system would enable airlines to fly more efficient routes and
would cut down on flight delays, cancellations, aircraft noise and emissions.
Only if the U.S. makes a step change in the level of investment will it achieve
the projected levels of demand growth over the next decade and maintain its
current industry competitiveness ranking. If it does not make the investment,
there will be fewer travellers which will cost the U.S. heavily in terms of
economic contribution and jobsâ.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced
progress in the implementation of Fast Travel in the Asia-Pacific region.
Qantas Airways has achieved Platinum status for Fast Travel implementation,
while Narita International Airport Corporation has engaged IATA to conduct a
study on the implementation of Fast Travel at Tokyoâs Narita Airport.
The Fast Travel program responds to passenger demand for a
more seamless travel experience and more control through six time-saving, self-service
initiatives. They includes Self check-in and/or automatic check-in, Bags
ready-to-go, Document check, Flight re-booking, Self-boarding and Bag recovery.
In IATAâs 2014 Global Passenger Survey, over 75% of air
travelers would prefer to check in online or automatically by receiving a text
message or email. Only15% prefer to receive their boarding passes from an agent
at an airport check-in counter. The industryâs target is to implement Fast
Travel projects covering 27% of eligible passengers this year and by 2020, the
goal is to have 80% of passengers offered a complete self-service suite based
on common industry standards.
First Asia-Pacific Platinum Airline
IATA has awarded Qantas Platinum status in recognition of
the airlineâs progress in implementing the Fast Travel program. The award was
presented by Tony Tyler, IATAâs Director General and CEO, during the World
Passenger Symposium held in San Diego.
Qantas is the first airline in Asia-Pacific and the second
in the world to achieve Platinum status. The Platinum status is achieved when
Fast Travel compliant solutions are made available to at least 80% of an
âI congratulate Qantas on this achievement. Travelers have
told us through the annual IATA Global Passenger Survey that they want to be
able to do more things for themselves.
Qantas is leading the Asia-Pacific region in responding to this
self-service expectation. I encourage the Asia-Pacific airlines to fast track
the implementation of Fast Travel across their network so as to provide their
customers with more options to improve their passenger experience,â said Conrad
Clifford, Regional Vice President, Asia-Pacific.
Qantas Domestic Executive Manager, Customer Experience, Paul
Jones said that the achievement of Platinum Status reflected Qantasâ commitment
to a streamlined customer experience.
âTravellers today rightly expect a seamless journey through
the airport, and weâve invested in technology and training to deliver
that. From smart check-in facilities
across airports in Australia to online and mobile check-in, auto bag drops, and
mobile boarding passes at the gate, our goal is to make the process as fast and
efficient as possible,â said Jones.
âCustomer service innovation is central to Qantasâ strategy
and weâre committed to playing a lead role in the development of Fast Travel
across the industry.â
First Fast Travel Consulting Project
IATA has been engaged by the Narita International Airport
Corporation (NAA), which manages Tokyoâs Narita Airport, to conduct a study on
challenges and opportunities for the implementation of Fast Travel initiatives
for international travelers at Narita Airport. NAA is the launch customer for
this service by IATA Consulting.
Through the study, IATA will provide recommendations on how
the various Fast Travel initiatives can be implemented and integrated with the
existing systems at Narita Airport.
âJapan has been at the forefront of many of the advances in
the passenger experience including domestic air travel. Thus, we are delighted
to partner with NAA to take this forward for international travel at Narita
Airport. The airlines are eager and ready to offer a more convenient and faster
experience to their passengers through the use of technology solutions. This
project will help bring the airlines and airports together in delivering a
better travel experience at Narita Airport,â said Clifford.
âGiven the expected traffic growth in the Asia-Pacific
region, major Asian airports are under pressure to handle the anticipated
traffic growth. Partnership between airlines and airports will be crucial to
address this challenge. IATAâs Fast
Travel initiatives will bring more efficiency for airline operations, and
improve the customer experience. From an airport perspective, we can make more
efficient use of the airportâs facilities and improve the airport experience
for travelers. Reducing the waiting time at the various queues also means that
travelers can have more time to use the airportâs facilities and for shopping.
We are happy to work with IATA to identify how Fast Travel can bring more
efficiency and convenience, and on its implementation at Narita Airport,â said
Hideharu Miyamoto, Vice President Corporate Strategies & Planning, NAA.
Mr. Arvind Mayaram IAS has been appointed as new Secretary
of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Currently he is serving as Finance
Secretary and Secretary, Departmemt of Economic Affairs since 2012. He will take
charge from Mr. Parvez Dewan, IAS on his retirement on 31.10.2014. He is a 1978 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan
cadre and he was served as Principal Secretary Tourism and Cultural Affairs department,
Govt of Rajasthan during 2002-2004 periods.A doctorate in finance, Mr. ...
The 2013 UNWTO and WTM MinistersÂŽ
Summit at the World Travel Market (WTM) will put a spotlight on the essential
connection between air transport and tourism, debating the challenges and
opportunities of promoting higher policy coordination between aviation and
Air transport, being an important
factor in outbound or inbound tourism, plays a vital role in foreign tourist
arrival in India. Therefore, the discussions on the matter must be considered
as important for the tourism industry in the country. New alliances with
tourism boards and airlines all around the world is neededto boost the business. The International Air
Transport Association (IATA) called on all partners and stakeholders involved
in passenger travel to work together to deliver greater value to passengers.
This is a remarkable decision that will encourage travellers all around the
world to visit foreign countries.
Air travel is one of the major
part, travellers worried about in their journey. Addressing their issues is the
most important thing for the sector to grow their business. According to IATA
Director General and CEO, Mr. Tony Tyler, Aviation makes possible $2.2 trillion
worth of economic activity and supports about 57 million jobs around the globe.
Every day more than 8 million passengers take advantage of the safety, speed
and convenience of air travel. Therefore, any new strategy implemented will
work as a catalyst that makes big changes.
The alliances by airlines also
play a major part in air transport. The recent joining of Qatar Airways in
âOneworldâ shows a positive approach by major airlines that hold major part of
the market share. These alliances give the consumer better offers, which
encourage them to travel frequently. The initiatives by WTM and IATA are
expected to give new possibilities for air transport and tourism to grow
together. Let's hope for a better connected world that encourages people to
travel and make the tourism industry to grow to a new level.
TAAI signs MOU with H R COLLEGE to offer Degree Course in Tourism & Hospitality ManagementTravel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has signed a MOU with HR College of Commerce & Economics in Mumbai introducing a degree course, Bachelor of Vocation (B. VOC) in Tourism & Hospitality Management.In one of the first in the country, Mumbai University has approved a 3 year degree course (12+3) Â which shall be conducted by HR College.The MOU was signed ...
RezNext announces partnership with Cleartrip; one of Indiaâs
leading online travel portal
RezNextâs real-time two way hotel booking technology powers
Cleartrip in India, UAE, Srilanka and Africa
RezNext, the worldâs leading real-time distribution company
and Cleartrip, a leading online travel portal, have partnered to provide
Cleartripâs customers a real-time hotel booking service. RezNextâs distribution
technology connects ...
Celebrating 2014 as the âYear of Friendship and Exchangeâ
with China, India is all set to showcase its art and culture in Hong Kong, at
one of the worldâs largest festival of its kind, the Hong Kong Harbin Ice
Festival. Organised by Fictional Reality
Communications, Hong Kong, a ten day fair titled âIndian Art, Culture &
Heritage Fiestaâ will be organized from 1st - 10th November 2014 with an aim to
bring Indian cultural ...
Celebrate in style with bespoke creations by AMALYA
Celebrate this festive season with a limited edition of
especially curated gift hampers by AMALYA, lifestyle boutique of The Leela
Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, Indiaâs leading luxury hotel group. Ranging from
the traditional to the extravagantly indulgent, and with price points to
satisfy a variety of budgets, the thoughtfully designed gift hampers are part
of an exclusive ...
Wanderlust Film Festival announces the list of films to be
screened at the festival
List includes travel films from all across the world
Wanderlust Film Festival is a unique travelling film
festival, which is scheduled to take place from 31st October to 2nd November in
Jaisalmer (Rajasthan). It is a one-of-its-kind film festival, which focuses on
cinema that depicts travel. On 31st September, the Wanderlust Film Festival
Director Aditi ...
The SITE Global Conference, the associationâs largest annual
event will be held in India next year for the first time ever. This will take
place in New Delhi from October 21-25 , 2015 and will give a big boost for the
MICE industry in India. SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) is a
global network of professionals in the motivational travel industry (commonly
referred to as Incentive Travel). Each year, a chapter from among the 2 ...
Royal Caribbean International announces special offers , complimentary
Upgrades & 50% off on 2nd guest, exclusively for Indian travellers onboard
the largest cruise ship sailing from Singapore, Mariner of the Seas. Both these
offers are valid on 3 to 5 night sailings from Singapore, between November 2013
February 2014 and will be applicable on new bookings made by 31st
October 2013. With Complimentary Upgrades, guests ca ...
Meru Cab, Indiaâs largest and favorite radio taxi service, announces the launch of operations in Indiaâs fastest developing and growing city Ahmedabad. Neha Dhupia, Bollywood star and icon graces the launch with her presence along with the Meru Cabs, MD and Founder Mr. Neeraj Gupta and CEO, Mr. Siddhartha Pahwa. The world-class metered radio cab service is completely technology and systems driven and will cater to the needs of commuters in Ah ...
Emirates Announces New Vice President Appointment to Support
Dubai Expo 2020 Vision and Beyond
Emirates Airlines has announced the appointment of a new
role within the Commercial division. Reporting directly to Emirates Executive
Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Thierry Antinori, the newly
created Vice President Commercial Product position will be fulfilled by Mr. Mohammad Al Hashimi, who has worked with Emirates since 2006.
Mr Antinori said this of the decision; âAs Emirates, and
Dubai, prepares for the World Expo 2020 and the economic and commercial impact
it will have on the future of travel, it is important to have a strong team in
place to respond to all opportunities. With this in mind, we have created the
position of Vice President Commercial Products Dubai, and are pleased to
announce that Mohammad Al Hashimi has been appointed this vital role to support
our strategy. His responsibilities will include the development of new and
unique commercial products, working closely with Destinaton Dubai on inbound
leisure and business travel, as well as promoting Dubai as a world-class MICE
(Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) destination. We have every
confidence that he will excel in this role.â
Mr. Al Hashimi joined the company soon after graduating from
the American University in Dubai with a Bachelor in Information Technology, and
has gained valuable experience and industry knowledge through his various
positions within the company. His most recent role was within the Destination
& Leisure Management division, where he was the Manager of Strategy for the
Emirates Holidays and Arabian Adventures brands. During this time he was
integral to the strategic development of the portfolio, both externally with
strong relationships with government ministries and associations, and
internally with the management teams.
In his previous position as Head of e-Business & New
Business Development for dnata Travel Services, Mohammad played a key role in
the acquisition of British OTA, Travel Republic which subsequently led to a
position on the companyâs Board of Directors and also that of Travel
Counsellors. Other key responsibilities at dnata Travel included the execution
of the operational and commercial set up of Travel Counsellors in the UAE.
As well as excelling in his roles within Emirates and dnata,
Al Hashimi, an Emirati national, has also continued with his personal
development and has completed an MBA in Aviation Management.
Business Class customers on Singapore Airlines can now enjoy
the exquisite taste of the Prelude âGrands Crusâ from Taittinger. Produced by one of the few remaining
family-owned champagne houses, Prelude âGrands Crusâ is made with the first
pressings of an equal portion of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, selected
from Grand Cru vineyards.
âWeâre pleased to be offering Taittinger Prelude âGrands
Crusâ to our Business Class customers. Prelude âGrands Crusâ is made solely
from the best Grand Cru vineyards in the Taittinger familyâs own estate and is
then aged for more than five years in their cellars. For elegance in the glass
and exclusivity in the air, this is something really special,â said Singapore
Airlines Wine Panel member Oz Clarke.
Clarke is the newest member of the Singapore Airlines Wine
Panel that selected this champagne. The panel also includes Michael Hill-Smith,
the first Australian to pass the challenging Master of Wine examinations, and
Jeannie Cho Lee, the first Asian to be awarded the Master of Wine title.
âOur new Business
Class offering is testament to the lengths we go to for our customers to enjoy
champagne from one of the best vineyards in the world. This outstanding
champagne is a joyous blend of finesse and complexity, which will certainly
delight the most discerning palates,â said Senior Vice President Product &
Services, Mr Tan Pee Teck.
Bhoothathankettu, the scenic dam site, is situated in a vast
virgin forest of the village of Pindimana at a distance of 50kms from Kochi.
There is a legenat the forest and hills was built by the demonsthe or
'Bhoothams' and hence the name Bhoothathankettu, i.e fort of the spirits. The
dam here is built by placing unshaped stones on both sides of the Periyar river
and is one of the oldest existing European structures in Kochi. There is an
artificial pond with pedal boating facility which can take a 20-minute boat
ride to the nearby Thattekkad bird sanctuary.
The story goes those ages ago, demons set out to submerge
the Trikkariyoor temple, whose presiding diety is Lord Shiva, by damming the
Periyar and flooding the area. But, Lord Shiva, suspecting trickery, came up
with a plan to deter them. He made it appear that dawn was approaching by
making a sound like the crowing of the rooster. The demons fearing the arrival
of light fled from their task. But there remains to this day the visible proof
of their effort - the huge stones the demons were supposed to have rolled onto
the riverbed, the Old Bhothathankettu. The Periyar flows on through the narrow
space which the demons did not quite manage to dam up. That's imagination for you. The actual cause
for the formation of the old Bhoothathankettu remains a conjecture. Itâs been
attributed to two great floods - one in the 4th century and the other in 1341,
which threw open the port of Kochi. The massive landslides during the flood are
believed to have caused gigantic rocks to roll down from the mountain and
become entrenched in the Old Bhoothathankettu.
If its curiosity about this place which that brings tourists here, it
will be her beauty that keeps them enthralled forever. Bhoothathankettu has the
potential of becoming one of the must-visit places in Kerala yet it remains
virtually unknown by tourists.
This is mainly because of the lack of infrastructure, even
though plans for its development seems to have acquired some direction and
drive of late. If one is willing to put
up with minor difficulties, one can come away with a veritable feast for the
senses. Once you've arrived at Bhoothathankettu, which is located just eight
kms north-east of Kothamangalam, there are various activities that one can
indulge in. A trip upriver on a house boat that can conveniently accommodate 25
(for a fee of Rs. 500 or Rs. 20 per person), a ride on a speedboat, a trek into
the jungle, rock climbing, fishing ...the possibilities for relaxation and fun
remain endless. A trip on the houseboat
is a must. Cruising up the river that is purported to be a freshwater body,
whose water has medicinal values of the `Neelakoduveli' that grows in the
upreaches of the ghats (where the Periyar has its origin), is a memorable
experience. The river brings a new meaning to the word `quiet' - at least once
the motors of the boat are cut. To one
side of the river lies a dense forest, that grows to the very edge of the
water, so much so it seems as if a part of the forest is growing on the Periyar
itself. On the other side, you can catch an occasional glimpse of habitation
between the coconut and rubber trees, but not enough of them to dampen the
serenity of the place. The scenario remains unchanged for some time before that
side too is overtaken by forest. The
river dips inland at times, creating tempting green coves that beckon you to
swim in. As you go further upstream, to the right the river seems to break away
from its almost straight path to flow between the Thattekad bird sanctuary and
Chelamalai, which might have been the `Vanchi' of the old - the seat of the
Cheraempire. According to locals, the forest on either side of the Periyar was
once home to a thriving civilisation. Remains of wells, walls, pieces of
pottery recovered from there and the ruins of temples, of ancient architecture,
are proof of a highly developed culture that once existed on this river's
bank. Even if one may not be interested
in anthropology, the river itself, embraced as it is by ever-green forests on
both sides, the white storks lazily rising into the air, the kingfishers nearly
torpedoing into the water, sightings of rare migratory birds from Siberia and
above all the absolute peace and quiet that one can experience will make a trip
to Bhoothathankettu worthwhile. A
journey up the Periyar to satisfy your parched senses with her beauty and
tranquility are mere bonuses. The dam is a vantage point from where you can
spot the turbulent water rushing from the dam towards the Old Bhoothathankettu.
The river gives one the impression of sprouting here and there into pools of
blood, due to the presence of a red water plant - possibly algae, that grows on
the rocks just beneath the rushing water. A view of the surrounding area from
up there, will make you forget the scorching rays of the sun that beats down on
you, your companions, everything... to become lost in the legendary beauty of
the Periyar. All serene and placid, a
ride through the waters is a unique experience, especially for the uninitiated.
Lying close to Bhoothathankettu is the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary at Thattekkad.
Trekking through the forests here is an exhilarating experience.
The two main irrigation projects of Ernakulam district - the
Periyar Valley Irrigation Project and the Idamalayar, one of the biggest Hydro
Electric projects are also located nearby.
DTPC, Ernakulam, Ph: +91 484 2367334
railway station: Nearest railway station are Aluva, about 44 km
airport: Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport, about 37 km
Kenya Hosted Indian Travel Trade for 4th edition of the Magical
Kenya Travel Expo
His Excellency Hon. William Ruto, Egh, The Acting President
of the Republic of Kenya inaugurated the 4th edition of the Magical Kenya
Travel Expo in Nairobi organized by the Kenya Tourism Board. His Excellency on
the occasion of the inauguration said, "We are delighted to see that you
have all travelled to Kenya and experienced the magic of our open, warm,
generous and genuine hospitality. This event continues to attract immense attention
from the global tourism sector. Tourism is critical to our economy, generating
11% of our GDP and accounting for 9% of our employment. We are confident that
tourism will contribute more to our economic development as it expands and
diversifies. For this reason, the Government is investing intensively in
projects and initiatives to expand stabilize and maximize tourism."
Mr. Muriithi Ndegwa, Managing Director of Kenya Tourism
Board (KTB) also added that, "We
want to assure you and your clients that Kenya is safe and open for business
and leisure activities."
MKTE is fast becoming the leading tourism event in this
region. This year Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, India, Djibouti, Sudan, Indonesia
and South Africa also exhibited along with over 100 private trades from Kenya.
Over 170 hosted buyers from 36 countries attended the expo and demonstrated
their passion for tourism and love for Kenya. The expo continues to provide a
platform for business to business interactions between hosted buyers and
Kenya`s tourism sector players. On this occasion Kenya Tourism Board hosted 9
Indian Travel Trade in Kenya from 2nd October to 10th October 2014. The Indian
trade delegation included senior members of travel trade fraternity from 8
different cities i.e Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Lucknow,
Chandigarh and Rajkot. Kenya Tourism Board also organized a familiarization
trip for the agents to explore the breathtaking variety of touristic
attractions. The aim of this FAM trip was to establish a connection with travel
agents and to have a better understanding of the destination.
When entering the lobby of the Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel, you can't help but get the feeling that you're stepping into paradise. A huge, stylishly furnished lobby is your first view, with glimpses of an enticing pool in the near distance. I was immediately greeted with a rose and refreshing drink, a nice touch which instantly made me feel at home. A personal tour of the hotel's four acres soon confirmed my first impressions; this was a mini paradise.
Set on the shores of Kovalam's Samudra beach among groves of lush palm trees, it was easy to feel truly at one with nature and completely unwind in the serene setting. There was a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere as I strolled the grounds, which span an area of four stunning acres. The ambience of the entire hotel was completely laid-back, but at the same time quality was never sacrificed.
When I spoke to the resort's Sales, Marketing and Operations Director, Mr. William Hoarsley, he admitted, âIndia is a challenge, but that shouldn't put people off.â Admittedly, from a Western Perspective, India is not the first destination in mind when considering a luxurious and relaxing holiday, but with resort's like the Uday Samudra, I realise now that there is no reason why it shouldn't be. The convenience and familiarity of a European break is no match for the luxury and authenticity which can be found at resorts like this. The hotel combined an authentic taste of India with high quality services, so that guests would never think twice about their choice of destination.
I found the room to be a key aspect of making the resort a laid back place to be. Unlike many hotel rooms, there was no feeling of being 'cooped up'; it was light and immaculately clean, meaning I had no trouble spending hours there. The view from the balcony was terrific; a direct view of one of the three pools, with an expanse of coconut tree groves setting off into the distance. Although the sound of building work slightly offset the peace and quiet, it was infrequent and I was assured it would never be there during peak season.
But for me, the personal highlight was without a doubt the service offered there. Every single staff member I encountered was courteous and polite, and had no hesitations with stopping and chatting when seeing me around the resort. At breakfast, the friendly waiters did more than just serve food, but took extra care to make conversation and enquire as to how my stay was. As a solo traveller, this was an aspect I particularly appreciated, and helped to make the resort that little bit more personal.
A versatile range of cuisine was offered in the resort's restaurants, of which there were five. From authentic Keralan delicacies (which were my personal preference), to freshly caught seafood, the needs of every guest were catered for. I thought the breakfast in particular was superb; there was a huge range of Keralan and continental options, all within an extremely unhurried atmosphere. During October to March, I was told the hotel provides an intimate alfresco dining experience where for a small fee, guests can enjoy seafood cooked before their eyes whilst overlooking the waves on the charming Samudra beach.
âIn terms of audience, Kerala could be a destination perfect for everyone,â Mr. Hoarsley went on to say in our meeting, and I certainly thought this true at the Samudra. There were three large pools to unwind by, meaning peace and quiet could always be found by at least one of them. The hotel has its own private stretch of beach, which I unfortunately couldn't experience due to the high tides of monsoon season. What's more, the tourist hotspot of Kovalam is only a five minute drive, and with transfer services constantly available, it's easy for the more adventurous travellers to get out and about. During my stay I noticed such a variety of guests, from solo travellers, large groups of friends and families, proving the hotel's versatility and appeal to all.
I also had the opportunity of speaking to the resort's Corporate Director, Mr. Prasad Manjali. He admitted that considering the growth and success of the Uday Samudra resort, further expansion was definitely on the cards. âAs well as our two hotels in Kovalam and by Shangumugham beach, there are plans for a 300 room establishment in Trivandrum, a 100 room hotel in the backwater destination of Allepey, and an intimate location set in the Periyar mountains,â he told me. What's more, the UDS experience is not limited by international borders, with Mr. Manjali suggesting expansion as far as Malaysia. It was refreshing to see such great faith in a product's potential, and having experienced the resort myself, could definitely see success in the plans of further expansion.
âWe have a lot of 'repeaters' here year after yearâ, Mr. Manjali told me, and I could see why. It's difficult to achieve the combination of luxury and home comfort which was found at the Uday Samudra, and I think once guests sample it, they would find no reason not to return. Personally, I found the atmosphere friendly and easy-going, which I consider ideal during a holiday, and certainly makes for an unforgettable experience.
âThe Butler Did Itâ Takes On A Whole New Meaning At Anantaraâs
Maldives Resorts & Naladhu Maldives
To meet the constantly evolving needs of discerning guests
from across the globe, Anantaraâs Maldives resorts and Naladhu Maldives
recently put their team of Villa Hosts and House Masters through their paces
with an intensive training course delivered by British-born Steven Ferry,
Chairman of The International Institute of Modern Butlers. Anantara and Naladhu are already recognised
for offering exemplary service, demonstrated through recent awards including
the World Travel Awards and multiple TripAdvisor Awards for Excellence.
Villas Hosts and House Masters, otherwise known as butlers,
are responsible for ensuring the needs of their guests are met from the moment
they step off the plane to the second they return home - and sometimes
beyond. Services include packing and
unpacking guestsâ luggage, creating unforgettable dining experiences such as
gourmet picnics on the beach or breakfast in bed, personalised bath rituals or
once in a lifetime experiences such as marriage proposals and reunions, helping
guests surprise and delight their loved ones.
âIt comes down to the art of being invisible and yet
delivering everything,â says Steven Ferry, who personally trained Forest
Whitaker for his role in the widely-acclaimed movie, The Butler. From the White House in Washington D.C. to
the white sands of the Maldives, the training for Anantaraâs Villa Hosts and
House Masters went far beyond covering the basics of the traditional âBritish
butlerâ service, instead focusing on ways to enhance the naturally warm and
hospitable nature of Maldivian people and the barefoot luxury experience which
are both unique to the destination.
Steven continues: âI believe the true test of an intelligent
modern butler is not how much he knows how to do, but how he behaves when he
doesn't know. One of the toughest aspects of the job is trying to second-guess
As well as offering a personal concierge-type service,
anticipating guestsâ needs is a major part of the role: âWe are ahead of our
guestsâ needs. We like to be there before they ask, so the knowledge we have
gained from Steven Ferryâs training is something we apply every day to offer a
better service,â remarks Bibin, an Indian House Master at Naladhu Maldives.
Steven Ferryâs butler training involves learning the art of
creativity and anticipation and ways to deliver intuitive service, with soft
skills such as character and body language reading, etiquette and how to be
âemotionally in tuneâ with guests - very
important when dealing with travellers from a wide variety of nationalities and
cultures. The training also covers ways
to demonstrate two of the most important characteristics of any good butler -
loyalty and discretion - and practical skills such as techniques for walking
silently across wooden floors, ways to enhance the wake-up service for guests
and the intricacies of handling cigars including humidity control.
âFor destinations like the Maldives, which offer
exceptionally high standards of service and luxury, butlers are not just a
status symbol but also key to delivering memorable experiences and an emotional
connection with particular resorts and brands.
One of the most enlightening aspects I learnt from Steven was that in
the corporate world you strive for recognition; in the world of a butler, your
goal is invisibility,â says Torsten Richter, Cluster General Manager of
Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa, Anantara Veli Resort & Spa and Naladhu
Maldives in South Male Atoll. âWhen things are going very, very smoothly
and the guest doesnât notice the butler, then theyâre successful.â
To help measure the impact of the butler training on service
delivery, a number of internal and external measurement tools are used by
Anantara. The Quality Assurance team
carries out bi-annual assessments to measure the effect of the emotional
connection that associates are trained to establish with guests, including
mapping the emotional impact of service delivery at every touch point
throughout a guestâs journey and how this correlates with their overall
satisfaction. The results highlight the
importance of emotional connection as a key factor in exceeding guest
expectations and help to develop benchmarks for best practice.
To experience the warm, personalised service offered by the
Villa Hosts and House Masters at Anantaraâs Maldives resorts and Naladhu
Maldives, please go to anantara.com and naladhu.com to make a reservation.
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