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  • Governments must work together to guarantee long-term sustainable growth of Travel & Tourism

    Governments need to work collegiately and take a long-term view of the economic importance of Travel & Tourism to ensure the sustainable growth of the industry. That is the message from Mr. David Scowsill, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), who is speaking on the occasion of the 98th UNWTO Executive Council.

    Speaking in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Mr Scowsill says, for Travel & Tourism to grow in a sustainable and successful way, governments need to be better coordinated and to engage properly with the private sector; “WTTC understands the limitations faced by some government departments responsible for Travel & Tourism, whose influence and decision-making power is often limited and competes against other stronger elements in government. But for visa facilitation and infrastructure projects to work for the sector, and for true transport connectivity to be realised, this requires understanding and support across many government ministries. Our Members frequently tell us of the need for governments to take a long term view \" often one that will stretch for periods beyond the length of individual government terms of office”.

    Mr Scowsill set out the economic importance of the industry worldwide, explaining that it accounts for 9% of GDP, a $7 trillion contribution to the global economy and 266 million jobs.

    Speaking on the occasion of World Environment Day, Mr Scowsill emphasised that the industry needs to be proactive about ensuring benefits for all; “We need to prove that we a Force for Good and not a ‘force for destruction’ as many critics fear we may become. We must embrace our belief in Tourism for Tomorrow. Our standards of ethics and sustainability must be of the highest order”.

    “The Travel & Tourism Industry cannot hope that someone else will solve the world’s problems. Most importantly, it is time to stop talking and start acting. The sector needs to focus consciously on whether it wants to be ‘just good enough’ or become a ‘leader’ in sustainability. This requires concerted action and coordinated commitment from both the public and private sectors”.

  • Advancing innovation and talent development in tourism and air travel is the core component of the first Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNWTO and The International Air Transport Association (IATA). The MOU is part of the objectives set by both organizations of bringing the tourism and air transport agendas closer together (Madrid, Spain, 10 June 2014).

    UNWTO and IATA have formally agreed to jointly advocate for innovation and talent development in the public and private sectors as a means to promote competitive and sustainable tourism development, with a particular focus on the air transport industry.

    In line with the agreement, IATA will support the creation of a new category within the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism, which will recognize innovation in marketing, product development with the objective to enhance connectivity and increase travel accessibility by airlines, travel agents and other travel and tourism companies. IATA will also be a leading implementing partner in the UNWTO Knowledge Network Talent Development initiative, which aims to support young talents in the tourism sector through internships, knowledge transfer and research.

    “This agreement is an important step to further strengthen our close relationship with IATA, a valued Affiliate Member of UNWTO” said Carlos Vogeler, UNWTO Executive-Secretary of Member Relations, on the occasion of the signing. “Air travel is a key driver of tourism development around the world and we are looking forward to joining forces with IATA in promoting the important innovations spurred by travel companies and further fostering young talents in the tourism and air transport sectors”.

    The head of the IATA Global Partnership and the Travel & Tourism Unit, Ismail Albaidhani, highlighted the strong linkages between air transport and tourism. ”Passenger experiences expand beyond the travel by air, involving other tourism components including tour operators, car rentals, railway companies as well as hotels”, he said. “IATA works with over 60,000 travel and tourism organizations offering a solutions portfolio ranging from professional identification, digital coding and training products, to financial, billing and settlement services. We are now working very closely with UNWTO to strengthen the collaboration between the various travel and tourism value-chain partners, and today’s important agreement establishes a solid platform to launch crucial joint-industry initiatives worldwide”, he added.

    On the occasion, UNWTO and IATA further agreed to organize a joint event on air travel and tourism value chains to be held next January in the framework of the UNWTO Awards taking place in Madrid, Spain.


India Tourism launches Integrated Tourism Development of the Buddhist Circuit in UP & Bihar

Tourism Minister launches Strategy for Integrated Tourism Development of the Buddhist Circuit in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

Mr. Shripad Yesso Naik, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture & Tourism, Govt of India launched the Strategy for Integrated Tourism Development of the Buddhist Circuit in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar ‘Investing in the Buddhist Circuit’ in New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion the minister said this iconic route includes places where the Buddha actually spent time and these sites - all of which are over 2000 years old- are among the most significant and revered by the Buddhists. The Buddhist Circuit is an important pilgrimage destination for the 450 million practicing Buddhists as well as travelers interested in history, culture or religion.

Mr. Naik said, as the Governments have defined resources, the strategy being launched today will enable to mobilise additional resources for development of the Buddhist Circuit from the private sector in a sustainable manner. The strategy aims at infrastructure development, skill development, increased market access, involvement of communities and enhancing the visitors’ experience.

While monks and devotees visiting sites along the Buddhist Circuit are doing so for pilgrimage, the experience for most visitors still leaves much to desire, the minister said. Shri Naik said that his ministry will be organising the 4th International Buddhist Conclave in Bodhgaya and Sarnath from 26th to 28th September, 2014 in association with the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to promote Buddhist heritage. Through this event, the Ministry of Tourism will try to devise new business strategies for marketing Indian Buddhism Heritage.

For the promotion of Buddhist heritage and sites of the country, the Ministry of Tourism regularly carries out promotions in the domestic and overseas Buddhist source markets. The Ministry also organises road shows, invites tour operators and media on familiarization trips to the Buddhist sites, holds exhibitions and produces literature on Buddhist heritage. The Ministry also organises International Buddhist Conclaves at an interval of every two years for which international tour operators, opinion makers and media personalities as well as Indian stakeholders are invited with the aim to encourage inbound tourism to the Buddhist sites in the country.

Investing in the Buddhist Circuit,’ the strategy for development of Buddhist Heritage in Uttar Pradesh & Bihar is the result of combined initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; the State Governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the private sector; Buddhist monasteries and sects, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) an arm of the World Bank.

The Buddhist Circuit is a route that follows in the Footsteps of Buddha from Lumbini in Nepal where he was born, through Bihar where he attained enlightenment to Sarnath and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh where he gave his first teachings and died.

Mr. Parvez Dewan IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism said, the strategy provides an integrated framework to fast-track tourism growth on the circuit by focusing on critical challenges and opportunities along the destination value chain which will serve as a guiding framework for investment in tourism development on the circuit over the next five to ten years.

Bihar’s Tourism Minister Dr. Javed Iqbal Ansari, UP Tourism Minister Mr. Om Praksh Singh were also present during the launch.


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Air Transport and Tourism to Grow Together

The 2013 UNWTO and WTM Ministers´ 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 tourism.

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 needed  to 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 “Oneworld” 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.


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Bank Muscat supports Salalah Tourism Festival

Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, reiterates the commitment to participate in Salalah Festival 2014, the Sultanate's annual tourism and cultural celebration to be held from the second day of Eid Al Fitr to September 6.Bank Muscat played a vital role in the success of this festival over the past years and is once again supporting this annual event by providing its services and products at the festival gro ...
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CC TEA -Naturally caffeine- free pure Lemongrass Tea

CC Tea is a naturally caffeine-free instant lemongrass tea with a subtle citrus flavor and a soothing aroma. It brews into a radiant green tea that is light, clean, zesty and tangy. Derived exclusively from Cymbopogon Citratus, CC Tea is 100% organic, natural and pure. Also known as Fever Grass, Cymbopogon Citratus is a type of lemongrass that is highly therapeutic. It is rich in good antioxidants and displays an impressive range of pharm ...
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Odisha plans a Sand Art Park to promote tourism

In its bid to utilise sand art as a tool to promote tourism in the state, the Odisha government has decided to set up a Sand Art Park at Puri, an official release said here.The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided by Chief Secretary J K Mohapatra where Tourism and Culture secretary Arabinda Padhee outlined various prospects for the proposed project, it said.Mohapatra suggested the tourism department to prepare a detail report on th ...
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WTM Invites Industry Buyers to Apply for Buyers’ Club Membership

World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event for the travel industry, is inviting the industry’s most senior buyers to apply for Buyers’ Club membership for WTM 2014, scheduled tol be held at Excell, London from Nov 3rd to 6th, 2014,. WTM Buyers’ Club  - the leading global business network: making contacts, concluding deals - is World Travel Market’s exclusive business club for the travel industry’s most senior buye ...
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Last Minute Travel App introduces Android version

Last Minute Travel, a leader in last minute travel deals on hotels, flights, cruises, car rentals, activities and other travel products, today announced that it has added car rental search and bookings to its free iPhone mobile application - enabling its users to choose from 18 car rental brands. For the first time, consumer travelers can search by city or by airport and can view the locations of the available cars on a map view - while filtering ...
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Lemon Tree Vembanad Lake Resort, receives Best Budget Hotel award

Lemon Tree Vembanad Lake Resort, Muhamma has won the CNBC AWAAZ Travel Award 2014 in the Best Budget Hotel category. The award was presented in a glittering ceremony by the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Minister Mr Surinder Patwa and CNBC Managing Director Mr Sanjay Pugalia to Milind Hatvalne, Head General Manager who received it on behalf of the entire Lemon Tree Vembanad Lake Resort team recently.This fresh and spirited Lemon Tree resort, locate ...
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Abhishek Sahai new GM of The Leela Palace Udaipur

Mr. Abhishek Sahai appointed as General Manager of The Leela Palace Udaipur

The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts announced the appointment of Mr. Abhishek Sahai as General Manager of The Leela Palace Udaipur, a modern palace inspired by the magic and grandeur of Udaipur’s royal past. He brings with him over 14 years of experience in core hotel operations and has worked at senior positions at The Oberoi and The Leela. Prior to joining The Leela Palace Udaipur, Abhishek was Rooms Division Manager at The Leela Mumbai.

Mr. Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts said, “We are delighted to have Abhishek lead the team at The Leela Palace Udaipur. His dynamism and leadership skills shall be a great asset as the hotel continues to evolve into one of the most desirable destinations of the country.”

Mr. Abhishek first joined The Leela family in 2010 as Executive Assistant to the President and Front Office Manager of The Leela Mumbai before progressing to Rooms Division Manager of The Leela Palace Chennai. In this capacity, he played a crucial role in finalizing the hotels’ positioning in Chennai along with setting up the Rooms Division of the property and hiring and training 250 team members. Prior to this stint, he led teams in various operational capacities at The Leela Mumbai, and The Oberoi, New Delhi, where he began his hospitality career.

Taking charge at The Leela Palace Udaipur, Abhishek said, “From its distinctive architecture to award-winning offerings \" it is certainly an honour to take on the role of General Manager of such a fine property. I am excited to have the chance to lead an exceptional team and we will always look for new ways to make our guests’ stay more memorable than ever before.”

Abhishek holds a PG Diploma in Executive General Management from IIM Lucknow and Hospitality Management from Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, English and Sociology from Lucknow University. He has also undertaken the Management Development Program from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

In his leisure time, he enjoys photography, listening to music and exploring new destinations and cuisines.

In his new role, Abhishek will manage the award-winning Leela Palace Udaipur which has been named one of the ‘World’s Top Resorts’ and ‘The Most Exclusive Retreat’ on Earth by Robb Report USA in 2012 and one of ‘World’s Best Hotels’ in Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List 2012. Its ESPA spa, India’s only tented luxury spa by the lake, has also won top honours including ‘Best Luxury Spa’ at World Luxury Spa Awards in 2011 and 2013

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Airline News

Egypt Air to launch direct flights to Delhi from October 2014

In a bid to boost tourism, Egypt's flagship carrier Egypt Air will start operating three weekly direct flights between Cairo and Delhi from October this year, adding to its four flights to Mumbai.Navdeep Suri, Indian Ambassador to Egypt, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the flight launch with Hossam Kamal, Minister of Civil Aviation, Egypt, and Hisham Za’zou, Tourism Minister of Egypt, last week.
The Egyptian Ministries of Tourism and Aviation are trying to boost tourism by increasing flights to many cities and capitals and connecting them directly with Egyptian cities, PTI reported."India has good relations with all world countries, especially with Egypt as both people have similarities in history and civilisations," Suri said. He is optimistic about the future of India-Egypt bilateral relations. "The direct flights between India and Egypt will provide boost to tourism, trade and investment linkages," the Ambassador said.
Kamal said, "The number of Indian tourists will exceed after the new connection between the two countries. It will boost tourism, especially, Cultural Tourism."Tourism in Egypt has always been one of the biggest economic factors. However, since the 2011 revolution that ended the autocratic rule of Hosni Mubarak, tourism has gone down sharply, as many tourists have stopped coming to Egypt, regarding the country as unsafe.
"Cultural Tourism decreased since the last three years, especially in Luxor and Aswan. The Ministry is now seeking opening new tourism markets like India to boost Cultural Tourism," said Za’zou. Egypt Air is already operating four direct flights a week to Mumbai, and with the new three direct flights to Delhi, they will be operating seven flights a week to India.

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Destination Review

Going against a general tendency to lie low during off-season, the Kerala government is bracing up with a novel scheme aimed at wooing visitors -  especially from upcountry.

The state Tourism Department has embarked on a campaign titled ‘Dream Deals’ in a bid to leverage the potential during what is traditionally dubbed ‘off-season’ during the peak-summer months of April-May, followed by the monsoons.

The discount-rate scheme, which is on from April until the end of September, is now poised to provide a new phase of experience for visitors, as the three-month monsoons are set to hit Kerala on June 1.

‘Dream Deals’, the details of which can be accessed from the Kerala Tourism website, have been published on a microsite ( for the user or wannabe visitor to create one’s preferred itinerary at a much economical rate.


Mr. A P Anilkumar, Kerala Tourism Minister  said the response has been encouraging. “This is also because June is peak summer and school-holiday time in North India, where rains are few and far between,” he noted. “Tourists from that part of the country would be particularly tempted to sense the cooler climes of Kerala till end-August.”

Mr. Suman Billa IAS, Tourism Secretary  revealed that the lean season has yet another advantage: discounts on hospitality expenses. “For the domestic traveller, the charges will be lower by around 30 per cent,” he informed.

 As for the microsite which will enable the user to create a preferred itinerary, the proposed visit plan will then be automatically forwarded to five accredited tour operators in the state. They will get back to the applicant with the best rates, Billa added.

 Besides helping create itinerary-based destinations, budget and the number of days to spend in Kerala, ‘Dream Deals’ will give users the option to “play around mixing and matching various destinations into the itinerary until they get the most comfortable one”.

In fact, “once they have finalised, they can share their itinerary with Facebook friends,” the Tourism Secretary pointed out. Soon, this will be an online ad campaign on various internet platforms: Google, Yahoo and Facebook networks.

To boost this year’s campaign outside the cyber world, Kerala Tourism will shortly be launching a print ad campaign in leading English and regional dailies besides general-interest and travel magazines. It will tie up with some of the airlines to have the Dream Deals brand on the back of boarding passes. Also, there will be ads displayed in Delhi Metro stations.

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New Zealand and Australia Leveraging ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Opportunities

Streamlined visa arrangements will assist both New Zealand and Australia to capitalise on the tourism opportunities that will flow from co-hosting the 11th ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.

The New Zealand and Australian governments’ agreement allows international visitors attending the World Cup the convenience of applying for a visa only once in order to be granted entry into both countries.

For the duration of the World Cup visitors would apply for a trans-Tasman visa based on existing New Zealand and Australian rules.

New Zealand’s Associate Tourism Minister Todd McClay participated in a meeting today of Australia’s tourism ministers in Melbourne hosted by federal tourism minister Andrew Robb. They discussed ways New Zealand and Australia can work together to maximise the tourism opportunities stemming from the tournament. 

Mr Robb said the streamlined visa arrangements would add a new level of convenience for visitors looking to attend matches across both countries.

“It provides the flexibility for tourists to freely move between both New Zealand and Australia for the World Cup. This is a major international sporting event which will bring major benefits for our tourism and hospitality sectors,” he said. 

Fourteen cities across New Zealand and Australia will host 49 ICC Cricket World Cup matches over February and March of 2015 and all of these cities will benefit from a major influx of international visitors. The first semi-final will be played at Auckland’s Eden Park while the final will be played at Melbourne’s MCG on 29 March.

MrMcClay said both countries will share in the benefits of being host nations.

“Next year, seven New Zealand cities will host ICC World Cup games, and we welcome the opportunity to again showcase our wonderful country to the world and work with Australia to capitalise on the tourism and other economic benefits of staging this event,” he said.

“Minister Robb and I have agreed that irrespective of whether the Cricket World Cup remained in New ZealandorAustralia after the final, both countries were winners when it came to the tourism benefits for the hosting of this important sporting event.”

Chief Executive of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Local Organising Committee, John Harnden, welcomed the support from the New Zealand and Australian Governments.

“The integrated visa process will make it easier for fans to follow their teams and catch all the action as well experience the many tourist offerings in both countries,”MrHarnden said.

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A Truly Enchanting Getaway Stonewater Eco Resort, Goa

Goa has always been a much sought after holiday destination for its sun, sea and sand, however the monsoon season in Goa has a different charm all together. Celebrate togetherness and witness the true essence of Goan hospitality this season at the Stonewater Eco Resort in Goa. A personalized eco-friendly resort where you can celebrate your choices and Stonewater Eco Resort will take care of all your needs with its welcoming aura and warm hospitality. With warm earthy colors and wooden textures of their 25 private chalets spread over the entire green lawns and a curious mix of modern amenities and old world charm and gorgeous and breath taking sunset views to die for, It is a perfect embodiment where comfort meets luxury.

Your unlimited fun sojourn will begin as soon as you reach Goa! You will be provided with a pick up and drop facility by the resort either from the airport or the station. You will be pampered to true Goan hospitality with a warm welcome to make you feel at home. Come and be part of Stonewater Eco Resort, Goa this season starting from Rs. 7,500 for 1 night for double occupancy sea view cottage inclusive of breakfast or Rs. 10,500 for 1 night for double occupancy sea view cottage inclusive of breakfast, lunch and dinner. One child below 5 years can have a free stay with meals in the parent’s room without an extra bed. Also indulge in other activities like Yoga, Fitness, cycling, water sports, etc at the Stonewater Eco resort, Goa.

So plan a holiday in Goa this season as Stonewater Eco Resort, Goa adds to your fun and frolic with different things to do and as Goa is known for its dreamy beaches, extravagant lifestyle and festive spirit it makes for a perfect destination for a much needed vacation with special touches to your precious monsoon getaway. 


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Guests will have an even more rewarding stay and earn points faster from 1 July to 31 October 2014

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, announced that from 1 July to 31 October, 2014, IHG® Rewards Club members who stay at any of the 68 InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts in Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) will earn Double Points per every $1 USD of incidental spend  during their stay, as well as the standard ten points per every $1 USD spent  on qualifying revenue during stays under the newly launched earning structure.

The Double Points can be earned from any guest spend charged to the room, excluding room rate, but including food and beverage, laundry services, telephone calls and room-service. Members can simply register on the promotion microsite / to be eligible for the Double Points promotion. Guests who are not yet IHG® Rewards Club members can also sign up to the award-winning loyalty programme through the page.

Karin Sheppard, Chief Commercial Officer, Asia Middle East and Africa, IHG said: “Our new Double Points promotion is launching in parallel with the new IHG Rewards Club earning rate which we introduced across all InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts globally. Our IHG Rewards Club members are our most valued guests and we want to reward them for their continuing loyalty by providing them with industry leading benefits. We’re making their stay even more rewarding, whether they are treating themselves to dinner at one of our outstanding restaurants or simply getting their laundry done.”

The Double Points promotion is available to all IHG Rewards Club members globally who stay at any one of the 68 InterContinental® Hotels and Resorts in AMEA. 

The InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts brand is part of IHG’s diverse family of brands in nearly 100 countries and territories, and meets the needs of guests, whatever the occasion \" whether an overnight getaway, a business trip, a family celebration or a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

IHG® Rewards Club, the industry’s first and largest hotel rewards program with 79 million members, is free. Guests can enroll at, by downloading the IHG® app or by inquiring at the front desk of any of IHG’s more than 4,700 hotels worldwide. The programme offers industry-leading benefits, including free internet for members across IHG’s family of nine trusted hotel brands.


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