R.N.I. No. MAHENG/2007/22231 Reg. No. MCS/180/2019-21

vOL 15 | ISSUE 09 | Pages 24                   February, 2022   Price: 40   1

   Union Budget 2022-23
   Completely Off Target
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TravelBiz Monitor | February, 2022 | 03
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4      news round up                                                    TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022
                                                                                        n                                 log on to daily

       Body Blow for cruise tourism with the winding
       up of Genting Hong Kong’s brands
                                     TBM Staff | Mumbai                          before terminating operations here after burning hands with high
                                                                                 operational costs and expensive port charges. It, however, gained

       T   he cruise industry globally, and specifically in Asia has been
           dealt with a body blow with the winding up of Genting Hong
       Kong that owns the Star Cruises, Dream Cruises and Crystal Cruises
                                                                                 popularity in the Asian waters having made the fly-cruise concept
                                                                                 an aspiration for Indians with the Star Cruises’ brand ships being
                                                                                 home ported in Singapore. Having gained popularity among Asian
       brands. The company failed to secure funding to pay its debts after the   travellers, so much so that India became its number one fly-cruise
       insolvency of its shipbuilding subsidiary, MV Werften in Germany.         source market for the Star brand, Genting Hong Kong launched
       Separately, Dream Cruises has also filed a winding-up application         Dream Cruises as its up-scale brand with much fanfare couple of
       with the Bermuda Courts.                                                  years ago.
         TravelBiz Monitor contacted India representatives and officials of         The fallout of Genting’s closure will have immediate and direct
       Genting Cruise Lines, however, they refused to comment.                   impact locally as well as internationally with millions of job losses,
                                                                                 curtailing or complete closure of dedicated cruise teams in travel
                                                                                 agencies, already embattled with massive loss in business due to the
                                                                                 two long years of pandemic.
                                                                                    Genting Hong Kong’s Chairman and CEO Lim Kok Thay resigned
                                                                                 and its deputy CEO, Au Fook Yew also stepped down, the company
                                                                                 informed in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last week.
                                                                                 Earlier this month, the company had warned that it faces potential
                                                                                 cross-default amounting to USD 2.78 billion, following the insolvency
                                                                                 of its German shipbuilding subsidiary, MV Werften, after it failed to
                                                                                 secure funding for the completion of its Global One mega-liner.
                                                                                    Genting Hong Kong is part of a bigger conglomerate that also
                                                                                 includes Genting Malaysia and Genting Singapore. Among its assets,
                                                                                 the conglomerate owns the Resorts World leisure park chain, which
                                                                                 includes those in Singapore, New York City, and the United Kingdom.
         Cruising in Asia, with sailings out of Singapore was dominated by       It also has 30 casinos across the U.K. Genting also owns the Resorts
       Genting Hong Kong. In fact, it was the Star brand that introduced         World theme park in Manila, and Crystal Cruises line which offers a
       the cruising concept in India in the mid-2000s with Mumbai sailings       range of round trips from Miami, Antarctica and Barcelona.

       National Ropeways Development Programme will boost                                                                            Alex Cruz may take
       tourism in the country: Aditya Chamaria, MD, DRIL                                                                             over as Air India CEO
                    Prasenjit Chakraborty | Mumbai            hope that all of these ropeways will be on the                                  TBM Staff | Mumbai
                                                              Make in India initiative that will boost tourism

       N      irmala   Sitharaman,     Union
              Minister while announcing the Budget
       2022 mentioned that as a preferred
                                                  Finance     and various Indian industries that make various
                                                              equipment, construction, material, etc.,” pointed
                                                                          out Chamaria.
                                                                                                                                     Aviation veteran Alex Cruz,
                                                                                                                                     former chairman and CEO of
                                                                                                                                     British Airways, might take over
       ecologically sustainable alternative                                 He also said that wherever a                             as Air India CEO soon. Cruz
       to conventional roads in difficult                                 ropeway is created, it leads to an                         headed        the
       hilly areas, the National Ropeways                                 influx of tourists. “It is especially                      British Airways
       Development Programme will be taken                                true for temples on hills that require                     for five years
       up on the PPP mode. The aim is to                                  people to climb; the traffic increases                     till       2020,
       improve connectivity and convenience                               significantly if a ropeway is built.                       after leading
       for commuters, besides promoting                                   The surrounding areas of ropeway                           Spanish       low
       tourism.                                                           see parking facilities, shops come                         cost      airline
         Hailing the move, Aditya Chamaria,                               up, and infrastructure improvement.                        Vueling.
       MD, Damodar Ropeways & Infra Limited (DRIL),           The ropeways set off a chain reaction of overall                       Cruz quit from his role in British
       said, “We are happy that the Government has taken      development,” said Chamaria.                                           Airways after the airline cut
       note of the importance of ropeways in commuting          The Government’s focus on ropeways in                                13,000 jobs in October 2020,
       and promoting tourism. The announcement of the         congested cities where conventional modes of                           owing to the Covid-19. Later,
       National Ropeway Programme, where 8 projects           transport would not work, speaks volumes about the                     he stepped down as chairman
       will be taken up on PPP basis, will help accept        government’s futuristic planning for the country.                      too. An MS in industrial
       ropeways as a mode of transport.”                      The Budget’s focus on improving connectivity,                          engineering from Ohio State
         Talking to TravelBiz Monitor, he said that the       especially through sustainable modes of transport                      University, the veteran is also a
       new projects would hopefully come up in the areas      such as ropeways, will take India on a path of                         professor at the IESE Business
       that were not previously accessible. “If that is the   growth, help in increasing tourism and lead to                         School. However, Tatas haven’t
       case, there will be a major impact on tourism          innovation in the cable car industry.                                  officially commented on Cruz’s
       depending upon the place’s popularity. We also                             appointment yet.
TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022
                                                                        n                                                     Spotlight                           05

                                                           © Emmanuel Virin                                                               © Emmanuel Virin

                                          Reunion Island
      TBM Staff | Mumbai

            eunion Island ticks all
            the right checkboxes

                                          A Land of Paradise
            for an island getaway.
            Breathtaking scenery, a
balmy tropical climate year-round,
and a friendly population that will
be delighted to share Reunion’s
fusion cuisine and culture with          cari poulet, rougail saucisse: there’s   Seychelles as well as Mauritius.      from a visit of underground
you. And in addition, a range            a long list of local delicacies that     The music from Maloya is              lava caves, to mountain biking,
of leisure and outdoor activities        you can – and should – savour. The       unique to Reunion Island. Sega        canyoning, horse riding, or an
offered to you to complete your          island’s cuisine is a mouthwatering      has a distinct resemblance to         exciting paragliding experience
island experience!                       blend of Indian, Chinese, African,       the ballroom dance genre and is       above the lagoon. In Reunion
   Located east of Madagascar in         and European-influenced dishes.          usually accompanied by beats from     Island, you can experience a wide
the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island         For an in-depth discovery of the         western instruments, including        array of outdoor activities in an
is undoubtedly one of the most           ingredients and spices that go into      the guitar and the harmonica.         exceptional natural environment.
unusual island paradises on the          the cuisine, a visit to a farmer’s       In contrast, Maloya is a musical      Its temperate climate ensures that
planet and woos its visitors with its    market is recommended. At least          expression that is native to the      these experiences can be enjoyed
charming French way of life.             one farmer’s market takes place on       island. It is a type of ceremony      almost all year round.
   While the island has an array of      the island every day. The two best-      dance performed during the night         Trek on scenic hiking trails: The
factors that contribute to its appeal,   known are Saint-Paul on Fridays          and usually around a lit bonfire.     island has more than 1,000 km of
one of its most striking features is     and Saturdays, and Le Chaudron           Maloya, which combines music,         well-signposted paths, and there
its cultural and ethnic diversity.       (in Saint-Denis) on Wednesdays           song and dance, is a tradition that   is something to suit all tastes and
The unique Creole culture—a              and Sundays. The island is also          has been passed down for several      abilities. Must-trek hikes will take
result of ethnic mixing—is a             very well-known for its rhum             generations on Reunion Island. It     you to the summit of the Piton des
testament to a culture shaped            arrangé which is a combination of        was brought by slaves from East       Neiges, into the remote, isolated
by an amalgamation of Indian,            local rum and fruits left to macerate    Africa or Madagascar. Since 2009,     cirque of Mafate, to Grand Bénare,
African, European, Chinese and           for 6 months to 2 years.                 Maloya has been classified as an      or to Roche Ecrite. Shorter walks
other cultures. Temples, mosques,           Music & Dance: Two distinct           intangible cultural heritage of       are also possible, for example
churches and pagodas stand in            music forms are known to have            humanity by UNESCO.                   around Grand Etang lake, at Voile
unity on the island, and visitors are    originated on Reunion Island.               Outdoor sports activities: The     de la Mariée waterfall, or to the
invited to take part in the several      Sega and Maloya. Sega is a               island is a paradise for those who    headland of Cap Jaune.
different cultural festivals that        music genre typical in Rodriguez,        enjoy adventure sports. Choose           Saint-Gilles’ Vibrant Night
are held through the year. These                                                                                        Life: Don’t leave the island without
diverse factors contribute to the                                                                                       experiencing its dynamic night
appeal of the island.                                                                                                   life. The locals of the island love
                                                                                                                        festivals and celebrations. In the
5 compelling reasons to visit                                                                                           district of Saint Gilles, you will find
Gastronomy: The island’s cultural                                                                                       spirited bars and restaurants where
diversity can be seen in the                                                                                            you can eat, drink, and dance all
delectable gastronomic specialties                                                                                      night. Apart from that, one can also
available to visitors. With each                                                                                        enjoy jazz lounges, live bands, and
culture ascribing to a particular                                                                                       traditional island performances –
set of flavours, each delicacy is                                                                                       all promising a good night out on
a representation of the different                                                                                       the town!
cultures who reside on the island.                                                                                         For       more         information
Samoussas, bouchons, bonbon                                                                                             on      Reunion      Island,     visit:
                                                                                              © Brice Marquis Sebie
piment, macatia, gâteau patate,                                                                               

6     Viewpoint                                                                                                                 TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022

      Editor-in-Chief & CEO
      Sheldon Santwan
      Assistant Editor
                                                                                   GIVE THE MAHARAJA A BREAK
                                                                                    I   t’s time for a fresh start since in present times nostalgia might
      Prasenjit Chakraborty
      +91 9819263364
                                                                                        survive in only just one place - the past.
      Editorial Team
                                                                                       There is an expected sense of excitement at the much vaunted
      Mumbai                                                                        and awaited change in the ownership and consequent management
      Chief Sub-Editor: Disha Shah Ghosh                                            in Air India.
                                                                                       There is barely a word yet from its new owners on any meaty or
      Sr.Reporter: Asmita Mukherjee                                          tectonic shifts from how the company operated so far. Legions of pundits are rushing forth with I-told-
      Contributors                                                                  you-so’s, homilies and advice. Let’s also add our two-bit to the mix.
      Hugh & Colleen Gantzer, Anurag Yadav,                                            The sudden revival of interest in the Maharaja logo is a case in point. Experts aver that it’s a myth to
      Hector D’souza & Amala Dantas
                                                                                    believe that customers are brand agnostic. The old logo, we are told, has history and strength on its side.
      Marketing Team
                                                                                       There have been suggestions the Air India brand can be revived in public consciousness by establishing
      Head - Sales & Marketing                                                      a reconnect with nostalgia garnished with more efficient deliveries. There is also an idea doing the rounds
      Ajay Wadode
      +91 8087127814                                                                that Tatas can strike an emotional bond with the market if the brand is shown to progressing towards its
                                                                                    old glory. Indeed, the Maharaja logo does connect, but possibly more so with a much older clientele.
      Head - Goa
                                                                                       It’s a very young world out there. A corpulent moustachioed and turbaned mascot might not be the
      Harshad R. Bhonsle                                                            genie from the magic lamp at this hour to grant any wish. The smartness of the first public contact will
      +91 8999047490                                                     go much further than nostalgic trips of clever advertising. True, there is a historical connect between the
      Coordination, Subscription & Database
                                                                                    airline, its logo and its owners but the jury is out on whether it will reverberate with a modern clientele.
      Gauri Sawant: +91 8369080796                                                     There is a steady opinion that ‘the comfort appeal of brands that belonged to a bygone rose-tinted
                                                                                    age could work’ and that the new owners could build upon that brand essence through a contemporary
                                                                                    filter. Perhaps a survey that nails public opinion could better determine the strategy than sepia-tinted
                                                                                    reminiscences of old hands.
      *Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act                             Given the surprises Tatas can spring up, who knows all these surveys are already done and dusted
                                                                                    and decisions are firmed up? Perhaps a new brand, totally disconnected from the past, is already well
                                                                                    on its way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Anurag Yadav
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Industry Expert
                     Sterling House, 5/7 Sorabji Santuk Lane,
           Opp.Dr.Cawasji Hormasji Street, Dhobi Talao, Marine Lines (E),                                                                   Anurag Yadav is a travel author and columnist, writing on hospitality and design. An avid traveller,
                                Mumbai 400 002                                                                                                         he has published five books and divides his time equally between Delhi and London.
               Tel: 91-22-6101 1700 / 701 Fax: 91-22-6712 1854
                                                                                                                              The views expressed in the column are of the author, and may or may not be endorsed by the publication.

                                                                                                                        EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

         Paramjit Bawa                           Carl Dantas                      Rakshit Desai                      Rajiv Duggal                   Manoj Gursahani             T C Guruprasad                      Zubin Karkaria                     Dev Karvat
      Country Manager - India,                 Chairman Emeritus                    Managing Director                     Director                          President            Managing Director &                       CEO                              CEO
    Destination New South Wales                      ETAA                   India, Flight Centre Travel Group      Travel Specialists LLP            Visit USA Committee       Board Member, EbixCash                VFS Global Group                   Karvat Group

        Jehangir Katgara                          Kapil Kaul                      Mark Mendes                         Iqbal Mulla                      E M Najeeb              Ankush Nijhawan                      Ajay Prakash                    Sriram Rajmohan
                  CMD                      CEO - India & Middle East,            Industry Consultant            Chairman, Treasure Tourism                Chairman             MD, Nijhawan Group &              Chief Executive, Nomad                  CEO & MD
    Trail Blazer Tours India Pvt Ltd                 CAPA                                                             Corporation Ltd              ATE Group of Companies      Co-Founder, TBO Group          Travels & President - IIPT India       Club7 Holidays Ltd.

                                                     Naresh Rawal                 Dhananjay Saliankar                    Arjun Sharma                    Vasudha Sondhi               Sheema Vohra                         Kiran Yadav
                                                  VP - Sales & Marketing          Head - Sales & Marketing,        Chairman, Le Passage to India           Managing Director          Managing Director                            VP
                                                   Genting Cruise Lines                Fortune Hotels                   & MD Select Group                    OMPL Group             Sartha Global Marketing                    IIPT India
For news updates and more information
log on to daily                TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022
                                                                        n                                   news round up                                    7

  Parliamentary Committee suggests reviewing tax
  regime to increase India’s share in global tourism
                   TBM Staff | Mumbai                    recast its website in a more user-friendly        that deter inbound tourism and have led to
                                                         manner.                                           tourist packages being out priced vis-a-vis

   A     Parliamentary Standing Committee
         has recommended that the tax regime
   applicable to the travel & tourism sector be
                                                           “The Ministry should formulate an
                                                         integrated marketing and promotional
                                                         strategy to position India as a favoured
                                                                                                           those in competing tourist destinations of
                                                                                                           other countries,” it said.
                                                                                                             The committee further pointed out that
   reviewed in order to increase                                                                                           the tax structure applicable
   India’s share in the global                                                                                             to hotel accommodation, air
   tourism market from the                                                                                                 travel, food and beverages
   present 1.24 per cent to five                                                                                           consumption, not only “leads
   per cent.                                                                                                               to tourist packages being
     The         Committee         on                                                                                      over-priced but also obstructs
   “Promotion of Indian Tourism                                                                                            seamless flow of tourists to
   in Overseas Markets – Role of                                                                                           our historical sites.” It also
   Overseas Tourist Offices and                                                                                            noted that despite inbound
   Indian Embassies”, headed                                                                                               tourism being a major foreign
   by MP T G Venkatesh, said                                                                                               exchange earner with foreign
   the Ministry should conduct                                                                                             exchange earnings of INR
   surveys        periodically     in                                                                                      2,11,661 crore in 2019, the
   important source markets for                                                                                            taxes levied on inbound
   India to assess the impact of                                                                                           tourism are among the highest
   the publicity campaigns on the decision of            tourism destination in the tourism generating     in the country.
   foreign tourists to visit India, the perception       markets overseas and increase India’s share         “The committee, therefore, recommends
   of the foreign tourists about the various             of the global tourism market from the present     that the tax regime applicable to the travel
   facilities at tourist destinations, the preference    1.24 per cent to 5 per cent in the years to       and tourism sector be reviewed holistically
   of foreign tourists about the tourism products        come.”                                            so that with suitable amendments India can
   and destinations.                                       “One of the major reasons for India’s inbound   convert its comparative natural and economic
     The committee in its report tabled in               tourism remaining grossly under-utilised has      advantages into competitive advantages for
   Parliament on proposed that the Ministry              been the high rates and multiplicity of taxes     the tourism sector,” it said.

  Covid booster dose mandatory for
  entering France, the rule came into
  effect from February 2
                TBM Staff | Mumbai                “compelling reason”. This could mean
                                                  a dying relative, for example, but not for

  A    ccording to international media
       reports, France will not allow
  tourists to enter the country if they
                                                    Eurostar services have already warned
                                                  customers, announcing, “If you had
                                                                                                   ICC appoints Gainwell
  received their Covid vaccine more than          your full vaccine course nine months             Sports as hospitality agent
  nine months ago. However, travellers            ago or more and you haven’t had a
                                                                        COVID-19 vaccine           for T20 WC Australia
                                                                        booster, you must
                                                                        follow the rules                              TBM Staff | Mumbai
                                                                        for    unvaccinated
                                                                        passengers to enter
                                                                        France.”      Simon
                                                                        Calder an eminent
                                                                                                   G     ainwell Sports, part of Kolkata-based Gainwell
                                                                                                         Travel, has been appointed as the hospitality
                                                                                                   agent for ICC T20 Cricket World Cup Australia 2022
                                                                        freelance UK travel        with access to premium VIP match tickets for all
                                                                        journalist      and        matches, including India vs Pakistan on October 23
                                                                        broadcaster     also       at Melbourne Cricket Ground. As official hospitality
                                                                        criticised the move.       agent, Gainwell Sports will offer food-and-drink-
                                                                          France’s new rule        inclusive Match tickets packages at face value with
                                                                        came into effect           commissions to travel agents.
                                                                        from February 2.             Gainwell Sports is a growing sports travel company
                                                                        However, there is          with official Match tickets, inclusive of packages
  without a recent Covid vaccine can              no official confirmation from the France         for the world’s biggest sports events, promoted by
  only enter France if they have a                government yet.                                  Gainwell Travel.

8      Perspective                                                       TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022

         When was the last time you gazed at the sky?
              By Dr Nimit Chowdhary, Professor of Tourism,
              Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Jamia Millia Islamia

                    es. When was the last time you       popular entertainment after dark, often             attraction- while access to attractions is
                    spent some time gazing at the        lasting until the wee hours of the following        available during daytime, say 8.00 am to
                    sky? Remember those childhood        day. It includes opportunities for extravaganza     8.00 pm can be extended for visitors until
                    days when we slept on roofs,         for visitors during nights with nightclubs,         late in the night. Two, the night view of the
         played and watched stars twinkle for hours.     concerts, theatres, cinemas, parties, pubs          same heritage asset would render an entirely
         The natural night sky is our shared universal   and bars. It is often a factor for many visitors    different experience at night. Therefore, they
         heritage. Unfortunately, however, our new       while choosing a destination. This nocturnal        may be offered as an altogether different
         generations have remained obfuscated from       social carousing turned flamboyant with the         product. For example, visiting the Taj Mahal
         it. Darkness is being viewed with scepticism    advent of artificial lighting, more so, the         at night, especially full moon night, would
         and fear. For many years we have dispelled      domestic and outdoor lighting adding to the         be much different from visiting it during
         darkness with artificial light. Though there    sculptural and chromatic value of a place’s         the daytime. The Palace Museum in Beijing
         is little evidence that increased lighting      landscape. Undeniably, nightlife contributes        offers a lantern festival light show late
         reduces total crime, bad outdoor lighting can   to the development of culture and socio-            evening. Many forts and palaces in India
         decrease safety through easier exposure.        political movements and is thus an integral         also offer late evening light and sound shows.
              We are all familiar with the concept of    constituent of a place’s personality.               Rajasthan started talking about night tourism
         nightlife, a collective term for available          Night as a resource manifests in two            a few years back, extending access to Amber
                                                         products- urban nightlife and the dark              fort until late in the evening. In Rajasthan,
                                                         night sky. Unfortunately, while nightlife           for example, while the days are extremely
                                                         has for quite some time attracted tourism           warm during the summer, the evenings are
                                                         attention, the unsullied dark night sky has         particularly cooler and pleasant due to sand
                                                         missed out. The nightscape is a precious            and sandstone. Thus, by opening up at night,
                                                         natural resource for all life on Earth, which       tourism can also be expanded to summers.
                                                         has inspired science, religion, philosophy,             Many resorts in the Thar desert of
                                                         art, and literature since times immemorial.         Rajasthan are now successfully offering
                                                         Our ancestors have immaculately gazed at            night safaris coupled with traditional
                                                         stars to make sense of times, climate, and          entertainment culminating with stargazing.
                                                         terrestrial movements and even navigate             A typical evening after a hot, bright day
                                                         the globe.                                          may begin with a camel ride to sunset
                                                             Night sky and terrestrial dynamics have         points on the vast serene dunes of the Thar
                                                         been essential elements of most religions and       as the breeze turns chiller. Then, visitors
                                                         their cultural manifestations. In addition,         return to an eco-friendly, makeshift seating
                                                         they have often been subjects of literary           arrangement. The traditional music and
                                                         expressions- all to remind us of the vital role     folk performances entertain them, and the
                                                         they play in our lives to which we have gotten      traditional cuisines are served under the
                                                         detached in our mundane modern lives. In            star-speckled night sky, which adds tints to
                                                         most spiritual traditions, night skies have         the multi-coloured evening on harsh and dry
                                                         had an important place. As transformational         land. Finally, guests retire to makeshift tents
                                                         tourism gains currency, gazing night sky            gazing at stars until they fall asleep. This
                                                         allows an intimate connection with the              nocturnal tourism is also becoming popular
                                                         world. Unsullied night sky cultivates non-          in Gujrat, Punjab and Haryana.
                                                         conceptual awareness when looking at                    Several unconventional dark night
         Dr Nimit Chowdhary is a Professor at            nature. The nocturnal landscape thus has a          tourism products have potential. For example,
                                                         spiritual connotation.                              stargazing, observing, astrophotography,
         Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He
                                                             Locale within the context of the landscape      storytelling, night river cruises, dune night
         has more than 28 years of academic
                                                         is a trigger for visitor interest. Often a lot of   surfing, and other nocturnal activities
         experience, of which he has been a full         community folklore is weaved around the             can augment visitors’ spiritual, rural,
         professor for 15 years in India, China,         terrestrial constellation formation. The troika     and eco-tourism experiences. Moreover,
         and Mexico. In addition, he was a visiting      of the sky, people and place always provided        venturing out at night is rising, particularly
         faculty at Gotland University (Sweden),         a premise for harvesting and production and,        among millennials. Therefore, offsetting
         the University of Girona (Spain), IIM           over time, has become the tradition. This is        apprehension associated with darkness and
         Sirmaur, IIQM, and EDII. He is a recipient      a cultural manifestation of the nocturnal           liveliness of night can contribute to reviving
         of many academic awards and recognitions        landscape.                                          tourism post-COVID-19.
         who has authored 13 books and more than             Another way of looking at night tourism             “No sight is more provocative of awe
                                                         is presenting and making available                  than is the night sky.”
         150 academic papers. He has travelled
                                                         conventional daytime heritage products                     ‘The views expressed in the column are of the
         extensively to around 40 countries and
                                                         at night. There are two ways of looking                   author, and may or may not be endorsed by the
         almost all states.
                                                         at it. One this enhances the supply of the                                                 publication.’
TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022
                                                      n                            IN CONVERSATION                                                      9

                                                               of each of these brands.            year. Access to some of the coolest
                                                                 We have always focused on         travel experiences available in
                                                               building the foundation stronger    the market. During their travels,
                                                               rather than chasing expansion       our guests experience a seamless
                                                               at record speed. Over these         paper free experience with a
                                                               years we have established our       digital itinerary.
                                                               name in the luxury travel space        To say customers have become
                                                               to be accredited as preferred       more demanding may not be a
                                                               partners for more than 15+ global   correct approach I feel. Everyone
                                                               hospitality brands like Four        has been confined and restricted
                                                               Season, Marriott, Rosewood,         from travelling. Hence, when they
                                                               Aman, Shangri La, TravellerMade,    get a chance to get out they want
                                                               to name a few. We have also won     it to be more meaningful, more
                                                               some prestigious awards such        experience driven. Our designers
                                                               as best marketing campaign at       work endlessly to create their
                                                               Luxperience in Australia to being   wishes into a reality as long as the
                                                               best honeymoon travel brand         demands are reasonable.
                                                               for last two consecutive years as
                                                               awarded by WeddingSutra.
                                                                                                   Q You feel that it is high time
                                                                                                     for ATD Journeys to scale

                                                               Q Incustomers,
                                                                      terms of servicing your
                                                                               what are the
                                                                                                   up. What is your roadmap for
                                                                                                   Over the years we have worked

‘A successful luxury travel brand is all                                                           hard to build the foundation and
                                                                                                   set the brands up. Scaling up a

about managing the guests expectations’
                                                                                                   luxury travel service business
                                                                                                   is not an easy task. We have our
                                                                                                   work cut out to try and fill this
                                                                                                   space. Technology will play a big

It may not be right to   Q How  is the luxury travel
                           segment evolving especially Q
say that customers       after the pandemic?                          It’s about hearing them out, learning
                         The luxury travel segment has
have become              been leading the recovery in the              about their personalities and being
more demanding.          travel industry ever since the
                                                                   able to custom design something that
                         rules were relaxed in 2020. With
Everyone has             no commercial flights, people              suits their profile. We play the role of
been confined and        retreated to private jets. Instead
                                                                   a travel atelier for our guests. Through
                         of taking a few rooms, we saw
restricted from          buyouts of smaller properties and         our global exposure we bring in some
travelling. Hence,       private luxury villas. Long stays
                         became a norm for many. The              prominent travel trends year on year.
when they get a          longingness to travel and not take
                         it for granted made the chase for
chance to get out        unique experiences even more in
they want it to be       demand. As things settle down         innovations you brought in?         role in this and it’s something
                         (hopefully!) we expect some of        Do you think customers have         we are working on. We had some
more meaningful,         these trends to continue in the       become more demanding now?          interesting plans in place for
more experience          future. We are definitely seeing      When      someone      asks   me    expansion even pre-covid. We
                         a trend for bucket list trips where   what business are you into? I       feel it’s time now to execute those
driven, says Pritish     guests are not shying away from       always highlight that we are        ideas.
Shah, Founder            spending big money.                   in the business of “managing

                                                                                                   Q company two years down
                                                               expectations”. Over the years            How do you visualise your
                         Q     You have said that ATD
                               Journeys have achieved
                                                               we have come to realize that a
                                                               successful luxury travel brand is   the lane?
Journeys Pvt Ltd,        many milestones since you             all about managing the guests       We like the Apple business model.
in a conversation        started your journey in 2013.         expectations. It’s about hearing    Expensive ticket items and yet
                         Could you elaborate?                  them out, learning about their      they have achieved the volume.
with Prasenjit           We started ATD in 2013 in Calcutta    personalities and being able        All our designer journeys are a
Chakraborty.             and then moved our HO to Mumbai       to custom design something          high ticket spend. With our focus
                         in 2017. From a singular travel       that suits their profile. We play   on volume from here on we truly
                         brand we have now expanded            the role of a travel atelier for    aim to become a global luxury
                         to three luxury brands focusing       our guests. Through our global      and lifestyle brand in the years
                         on different verticals. We have       exposure we bring in some           to come.
                         specialists on boarding taking care   prominent travel trends year on    

10      Travel Monitor                                                                              TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022        n

        IATA’s Overview of Air Transport in 2021
           The year             RPKs recovered to 42% of 2019 levels in 2021
                                Air cargo remained strong (up 7% vs. 2019)
           gone by
                                                                                                   RPKs & CTKs, % ch. vs. the same month in 2019                                                                                                                       Full year 2021 vs.
           saw slow                   20%                                                                                                                                                      Global CTKs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       full year 2019:

           resumption of               0%

           international             -20%
                                                                                                                                                                       Domestic RPKs

           travel with               -40%
                                                                                                                                                                                  Total RPKs

           Asia Pacific              -60%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -75.5%

           lagging                   -80%
                                                                                                                                                                                                            International RPKs

           behind all               -100%
















                                2       Source: IATA Monthly Statistics                                                                                           25 January 2022
           with travel
           restrictions         Performance of domestic markets varied
                                Russia the strongest, China impacted by zero-COVID policy
           in place.
           However,                  60%
                                                                                 Domestic RPKs, % change vs. the same month in 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Full year 2021 vs.
                                                                                      Australia                         Brazil                    China                  Russia                         US                                                             full year 2019:
           there have                40%
           been no clear              0%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -27.2%
           indications of           -20%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -23.8%

           links between            -40%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -24.4%
                                    -60%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  -62.4%
           travel                   -80%

           restrictions             -100%






















           and new
           cases.               3       Source: IATA Monthly Statistics                                                                                              25 January 2022

           TravelBiz            Recovery in international travel was slow
           Monitor              Asia Pacific lagged the rest of the industry due to closed borders

           presents the                20%
                                                                         International RPKs, % change versus the same month in 2019

           International                0%

           Air Transport              -20%                                                          Africa                                           Asia Pacific                                       Europe                                                         Full year 2021 vs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       full year 2019:
                                                                                                    Latin America                                    Middle East                                        North America
           Association’s              -40%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                -65%

           (IATA) global              -60%
           overview of                -80%
           2021.                     -100%





















                                4       Source: IATA Monthly Statistics                                                                                             25 January 2022
TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022    n                                                                                     Travel Monitor                                                                    11

Premium and economy international RPKs
recovering at the same rate
                                                                    Premium and economy class international RPKs, % of 2019 levels
    Int’l RPKs, % of the same month in 2019

                                                                                      Premium class                                                             Economy class







                    Jan-21                      Feb-21                     Mar-21                   Apr-21                   May-21                      Jun-21                      Jul-21                    Aug-21                    Sep-21                    Oct-21                      Nov-21

But willingness to travel remains strong
5           Source: IATA Monthly Statistics                                                                                                                    25 January 2022

Ticket sales rebounded in South Africa after Omicron restrictions eased
          Total bookings, % ch in 7-day MA versus 2019                                                                                  South Africa                                                                      New COVID cases per million, 7-day MA

-10%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              450
                                                   New COVID cases                                                   Bookings
-20%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              400

-30%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              350

-40%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              300

-50%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              250

-60%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              200

-70%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              150

-80%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              100

-90%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              50

-100%                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             0
































                                                                                                                                     Bookings date

6          Source: IATA DDS, Our World In Data                                                                                                          25 January 2022

No clear link between new cases and travel restrictions
Restrictions often maintained after cases have fallen
                                        Travel restrictions, weighted average of regions                                                                                                                                 New COVID cases, 000s 7-day MA
            4 - total                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Peak at 2,200
      border closure4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1000

        3 - closed to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      800
       some regions 3
                                                                 Global travel restrictions                                                                                                                                                                                                600
      2 - quarantine                                             (LHS)
       arrivals from2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      500
    high risk regions

                                                                                                                                                                          Global new COVID cases                                                                                           300
        1 - screening
                                                                                                                                                                          (RHS)                                                                                                            200
    0 - no measures                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        0




















7          Source: IATA Economics using data from ECDC, Oxford University                                                                                                25 January 2022

12      In Focus                                                           TravelBiz Monitor   n   February, 2022

        Union Budget 2022-23
        Completely Off Target                          The Union Budget 2022 is a complete lacklustre one for the travel
                                                       and tourism industry. Except the extension of ECLGS for MSMEs until
                                                       2023, the Budget is virtually silent for the travel & tourism industry.
                                                       The Economic Survey which was released just one day before the
                                                       Budget admitted that the travel, tourism and hospitality sector still had
                                                       a long road to recovery. Naturally, the players of the industry hoped that
                                                        there will be some tangible direct relief in the Budget. But that hasn’t
                                                                    happen and the Government remains ambivalent. Hence,
                                                                        the stakeholders of the industry reacted sharply.

                                  Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI                       states for hotels and travel-tour operators. We were also expecting
                                  We live in hope and die in despair! After           to the least that travel and tourism be brought under the concurrent
                                  the Union Tourism Minister reported that            list for industry status.
                                  the industry lost 21.5 million jobs in the
                                  first 3 quarters of 2020, after the Economic                                      Aashish Gupta, Consulting CEO, FAITH
                                  Survey admitted that the travel, tourism                                          It’s a missed opportunity. The Union
                                  and hospitality sector still had a long road                                      Budget provides some relief and medium
                                  to recovery, one had hoped that at least after                                    to long term infrastructure measures
                                  the tribulations of the last 22 months there                                      to stressed tourism travel & hospitality
                                  would be some tangible direct relief, but                                         industry, but there was an immediate
        that hasn’t happened.Our demand for infrastructure status has fallen                                        opportunity for more direct intervention
        on deaf years. MoT has an ambitious plan and an audacious vision                                            to support the highly stressed tourism
        for India@2047. But who will service those anticipated numbers of                                           travel and hospitality companies and their
        tourists if tourism businesses are driven out of business?                                                  employees.

                                  Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO                                                      Madhavan Menon, MD, Thomas Cook
                                  Most disappointingly none of our concerns                                         (India) Limited
                                  found mention in the Budget presented. Just                                The Union Budget has been disappointing.
                                  few years ago we were earning huge foreign                                 The Budget made no reference to the
                                  exchange for the government and in this hour                               industry’s recommendations to aid revival,
                                  of despair we expected some handholding                                    including rationalization of taxes (a
                                  by the government. An extension of the loan                                complete GST holiday, exemption of TCS
                                  under ECLGS has been announced, but it                                     on outbound tours, reduction in indirect
                                  is of no use for the inbound tour operators                                taxes), removal of SIES benefit capping
                                  as they are not able to pay EMIs of the loan                               of INR 5 crore. For a sector that is a key
                                  they have already taken.                            contributor to the GDP and brings in valuable foreign exchange,
                                                                                      a stimulus would have created significant value in supporting the
                                  Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI                                               country’s road to recovery and growth.
                                  Our trade has been ignored once again.
                                  We suffered tremendously due to the                                               Aditya Chamaria, MD, Damodar
                                  pandemic and it was expected that the                                             Ropeways & Infra Limited
                                  government would at least work towards                                            The Budget’s focus on improving
                                  positive upliftment of the travel & tourism                                       connectivity,      especially      through
                                  in India, which they always portray as                                            sustainable modes of transport such as
                                  a priority? In our representations to the                                         ropeways, will take India on a path of
                                  Finance Minister we had requested for                                             growth, help in increasing tourism and lead
                                  GST input credits be made available across                                        to innovation in the cable car industry.
TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022
                                                                    n                                                     In Focus                     13

                           Vishal Suri, Managing Director,                                            Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and CEO,
                           SOTC Travel                                                      
                       The two noteworthy announcements of                                           We are grateful that the government has
                       issuance of e-passports and the expansion                                     taken relevant measures to revive the
                       of the ECLGS scheme for the hospitality                                       travel and hospitality industry as it is one
                       sector will help boost the travel and tourism                                 of the major contributors to the growth of
                       industry. However, this Union Budget                                          our economy. The extension of ECLGS
                       did not provide the industry the respite                                      services, as well as an increased cover for
                       we anticipated. We hoped this Budget                                          the hospitality sector, will definitely bring
                       would offer incentives to Corporates for                                      in the much-required relief.
organising meetings and conference in India through partial or full           remains optimistic that the industry will continue to see buoyant
tax exemptions.                                                               growth driving overall economic growth in the country.

                          Rahi Vaghani, Managing               Director,                              Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and
                          Monteria Resort Pvt. Ltd                                                    Vice President Operations, South Asia –
                         We are welcoming the initiatives                                             Radisson Hotel Group
                         announced in the new fiscal Budget.                                          We welcome the Union Budget and the
                         The 400 new Vande Bharat trains and                                          allocation of strategic aid that will enable
                         ropeway projects signify the government’s                                    the speedy recovery of the hospitality
                         commitment towards bettering our tourism                                     sector. The extension of the ECLGS with an
                         infrastructure. The extension of the ECLG                                    increased cover of INR 5 lakh crores for the
                         scheme till 2023 with an additional corpus                                   hospitality sector is a positive move. With
                         of INR 50,000 crore dedicated to hospitality                                 domestic travel picking pace, we believe
and related sectors should provide relief to most establishments              that the government’s highway expansion plans will facilitate
especially the smaller ones.                                                  accessibility and strengthen this demand further.

                          Jurgen Bailom, CEO and President,                                           Ronojoy Dutta, Whole Time Director and
                          Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd                                           CEO, IndiGo
                            While the travel and tourism industry has                                We welcome the new incentives of issuing
                            suffered significantly through the pandemic,                             of E-passport and introduction of digital
                            it has also received an encouraging boost in                             currency. The government’s relentless focus
                            the form of domestic travel. This momentum                               on national transportation infrastructure
                            must be retained. Indians are travelling in                              development with the PM Gatti Shakti
                            India and choosing local destinations. We                                plan will strengthen the much-needed
                            hope there are mindful considerations in                                 multimodal connectivity. Having said
                            place for the industry overall and especially                            that, we were expecting tax concession to
cruising: which is a fairly new and unique offering in the subcontinent.      the aviation industry with cut on ATF excise duty and allocation
With a coastline as vast as glorious India’s, cruising could grow by          of concessional finance to airlines to help us come out of the
leaps and bounds and this dream will be a reality once the government         pandemic.
further supports its gargantuan potential.
                                                                                                      Rikant Pittie, Co-founder- EaseMyTrip
                          Shikhar Aggarwal,         Joint    MD,    BLS                                International travel has been severely
                          International                                                                impacted by the pandemic, which is why
                          We would like to applaud the government                                      we are pleased with the introduction of
                          for this progressive announcement today                                      e-passports with embedded chips. This
                          about the introduction of e-Passports using                                  will provide a big boost to travel and add
                          embedded chip to be rolled out in 2022-23.                                   a level of convenience for international
                          A well thought initiative like this will help                                travelers. Additionally, the expansion of the
                          to boost the overall travel industry and also                                Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme
                          ease out the process for overseas travel and                                 by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 5 Lakh crore will
                          augment global mobility.                            enable the small travel operators and stakeholders within the travel
                                                                              and tourism industry to reel back from the disruptive impact of the
                          Daniel D’souza, President & Country                 pandemic.
                          Head, SOTC Travel
                          While we are certain that the modern infra                                   Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO & Co-founder, ixigo
                          developments of roads, railways, airports,                                International travel is likely to recover
                          ports, waterways, and the national ropeway                                soon despite the progress being slowed
                          project mentioned under the Prime                                         by the current variant. The introduction
                          Minister’s PM Gati Shakti plan will be the                                of innovative initiatives like e-passports
                          key drivers of domestic tourism economy,                                  will boost security and will enhance the
                          the industry would have benefitted if the                                 convenience of international travelers by
                          government extended more direct and                                       cutting down long queues at immigration
immediate support to the sector. We had requested the government                                    counters. This will help support a faster
for respite which were unfortunately not addressed and would have                                   revival of international travel in a
aided to the revival of the industry.                                         pandemic-driven environment.

14      Sustainability                                                   TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022

          Busy Year Ahead
            By Ansoo Gupta, Founder, OneShoe Trust

                    he first month of this year has been                                                    imperative that the 5 proposed missions can
                    a mixed bag of emotions for Indian                                                      percolate down to the smallest businesses.
                    travel & tourism industry. As the                                                          1.National Green Tourism Mission to
                    government was announcing the                                                           mainstream sustainability in the tourism
         new draft policy and incentives to boost                                                           sector. The aims of this mission include
         the sector, the wild spread of Omicron                                                             reducing water consumption and waste
         was curtailing the new year holiday travel                                                         generation; ensuring efficient energy
         plans yet again bringing the businesses to a                                                       utilisation; roping in regional bodies for
         pause once more. However, the future looks                                                         implementing tourism projects and thereby
         promising. As the world heads towards                                                              enhancing the incomes of local people as
         better management of Covid-19 and its many        classification of tourist destinations into      well as their living standards.
         variants, the travel & tourism will restart       categories, special tourism zones and               This focus on ‘local people’ as opposed to
         with due checks and balances in place and         creation of five missions are among              the tourist can be the real 2game changer
         recovery will be rapid. All we must do is be      provisions stipulated in the draft of the        here.
         correctly prepared for it.                        new national policy to ensure sustainable,          2.National Digital Tourism Mission to
           A mobile app for E-tourist visa, direct air-    responsible, and inclusive development of        digitalize the sector seeks to empower
         connectivity with major overseas markets,         tourism. All this and more is being done         stakeholders in the tourism sector in
                                                           with a goal of making India a top global         utilising digital technologies. As I said
                                                           destination by 2030. This is a lofty target      before, integrating modern technology is
                                                           but is definitely achievable if we all work      critical for every business to be able to scale
                                                           towards a well-crafted plan.                     up and to ensure better customer experience
                                                              At a macro level, the sector has already      while running a cost-efficient operation.
                                                           put forth its suggestions for sops and tax          3.Tourism and Hospitality sector skill
                                                           breaks such as IT deductions on domestic         mission : Given the high employability of
                                                           travel and tourism spends, allowing for LTA      the sector, this Mission on skill development
                                                           exemption every year etc. to be granted for      is to ensure that India has the best trained
                                                           sector revival. And while the government         and qualified manpower to maintain high
                                                           figures out its way around it, at a micro        standards of service
                                                           level, at our own operations level, two             4.National Mission on Destination
                                                           elements need careful consideration. As          Management Organisations : to focus on
                                                           always, after a recession, comes a steep         ensuring synergy and coordination among
                                                           period of rapid growth and to make full          public and private stakeholders. According
                                                           use of that, it will be worthwhile for every     to the Central Govt, new tourism destinations
                                                           travel business, big or small, wherever          have to be identified and both government
                                                           they are in the value chain, to diligently       agencies as well as private entrepreneurs
                                                           look into (1) Scaling Up with Technology         have to be involved in the process.
                                                           :Is your operation taking full advantage of         5.National Mission on Tourism MSMEs to
                                                           modern technologies available in all parts       support and facilitate the start-ups, micro,
                                                           of your business (2) A keen eye towards          small and medium enterprises
                                                           environment protection : Not only are               As we move forward, it will be crucial
                                                           more and more consumers gravitating              to see how we are progressing on each.
                                                           towards greener choices and even willing         We can speed up achieving our targets
           Ansoo Gupta is founder of
                                                           to pay a little extra for zero-waste holiday     by managing the overlaps between the
           OneShoe Trust which is a                        , conservation programmes etc, this is           missions : for example MSME mission and
           global advocacy platform for                    imperative for us if we want to sustain our      Green Tourism Mission can achieve great
           Responsible & Mindful Travels.                  destinations for a long time. Think of it as     results faster when working in synergy.
                                                           an AMC we should pay for the destinations.          I am personally very excited about all
           Gupta a Science graduate in
                                                           Just as a factory owner takes care of their      these five missions and would like only one
           Physics and Mathematics with                    machine’s wear and tear for long-term            more to be added significantly: educating
           a post graduate in business                     gains, similarly we should do too.               travellers on how to travel more responsibly.
           management and a certification                     Government’s new draft policy seems to        By following these through we are in a good
                                                           have its heart in the right place and eyes       position to really catapult Indian travel and
           in Data Science & Machine
                                                           fixed on the right target. However, like all     tourism into a new orbit.
           Learning from HarvardX.                         plans, the key to success is its execution.
                                                           What will be crucial is to set the right           ‘The views expressed in the column are of the
                                                           targets which are measurable and that all        author, and may or may not be endorsed by the
                                                           stakeholders can directly contribute to. It is   publication.’
TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022
                                                                         n                                                   Spotlight                         15

UK Virtually with VisitBritain
             TBM Staff | Mumbai

                  ith the travel restrictions in place
                  until January 2022, VisitBritain
                  in association with TravelBiz
                  Monitor, organised a Virtual
FAM for the Indian Travel-Trade bringing the
destination virtually closer than ever before.
   London is the most saleable and the highest
visited city in the UK for Indians. With its rich
culture, history, heritage and love for sports,
India and UK have a lot in common, making
attractions such as the ‘Historic Royal Palaces’
and ‘Merlin Entertainment’ some of the most
popular activities for Indians. Keeping that
in mind, VisitBritain partnered with both
these attractions giving the Indian trade a
virtual look and feel of Tower of London and
Warwick Castle.
   The VisitBritain team of Mr. Shuja Mehdi,                                                                                               Warwick Castle
B2B Manager and Ms. Tishtar Parakh,
Travel Trade Executive, welcomed the trade                Crown Jewels collection, part of the Royal       Kensington Palace, K Hillsborough Castle and
in joining the programme, while Ms. Ann                   Collection, are the most powerful symbols of     Gardens representing thousand years of history
Wilson, Head of Sales joined by her teammates             the British Monarchy and holds deep religious    and Britain’s tumultuous past.
Ms. Marie-Charles Houston, Sales Manager and                                                                  Moving on to the second leg of the virtual
Mr. Matthew Coulter, Sales Executive led the                                                               Fam was where Mr. Gaurav Seth, Head of
first leg of the session, showcasing the Tower of                                                          Sales, India for Merlin Entertainment gave the
London and its hidden gems.                                                                                trade a taste of the Warwick Castle & Knight’s
   The Tower of London is a UNESCO World                                                                   Village, showcasing the global presence of
Heritage site which was beautifully showcased                                                              Merlin group and an insight to its presence all
in a 20 minute video, giving the trade a peak                                                              over the UK.
into not only the main tower, but also a tour of                                                              Warwick Castle is conveniently located at a
the secret areas that are not open to general                                                              two-hour drive from the City of London, with
public. In addition to that, a painting of Jesus                                                           options for self-drive, coach tours and train
Christ, along with caricatures of Mother                                                                   visits. Warwick Castle & Knight’s Village is a
Mary which was discovered in 1953, during                                                                  more engaging option for guests. It enjoys 1,100
restoration was also something that the trade                                                              years of history, 64 acres of epic grounds, shows
got an opportunity to enjoy. Another such area            and cultural significance in UK’s history. The   and Entertainment, one of the Britain’s finest
is the room with the oldest bell that is rung             Historic Royal Palaces termed as ‘Place to       medieval fortress, palaces to eat and sleep. The
even today - every night, which has witnessed             Sit and Be Stirred’ include Tower of London,     Warwick Castle has the largest collection of
the execution of 75 noble men in the past. The            Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House,          armoury in the UK in its Great Hall.
                                                                                                              Its Time Tower offers a 10-mintue immersive
                                                                                                           multimedia experience capturing the unknown
                                                                                                           stories of Warwick Castle’s rich and vibrant
                                                                                                           history. There are two F&B options inside the
                                                                                                           Castle. At the Conservatory Tea House one can
                                                                                                           indulge in an afternoon tea, while enjoying the
                                                                                                           stunning surroundings of the Peacock Garden;
                                                                                                           as well as a varied list of food options for
                                                                                                           vegetarian guests as well. Entertainment shows
                                                                                                           like the Falconer’s Quest, which will be part of
                                                                                                           ticket cost, twice a day. Other shows include
                                                                                                           the Bowman Show, War of the Horses and The
                                                                                                           Castle Dungeon, located between first and
                                                                                                           second tower, a 15-minute activity, showcasing
                                                                                                           the darker side of the city and location.
                                                                                                              The session ended with a Q&A segment
                                                                                                           where the trade got the chance to interact with
                                                                                                           the tourism board and the two partners which
 Tower of London
                                                                                                           proved to be very fruitful.

16      Spotlight                                                                    TravelBiz Monitor February, 2022

                                                                                                                Beach. According to Bandara, “Banquets will
                                                                                                                drive 6% of overall F&B revenue during the
                                                                                                                year. Compared to 16% in the previous year,
                                                                                                                this is low. However, overall F&B revenue has
                                                                                                                increased in the budget and banquets alone by
                                                                                                                69%. Local and destination weddings will be the
                                                                                                                main area of focus during the year. Staycations
                                                                                                                certainly play a role in inspiring other local
                                                                                                                guests to want to stay with us and have the
                                                                                                                same experience.”
                                                                                                                   Couples and families form their biggest
                                                                                                                chunk of customer segments. Apart from this,
                                                                                                                the property also receives a lot of travellers
                                                                                                                from Europe. “We have guests who travel all
                                                                                                                the way from Russia, UK and Germany to visit
                                                                                                                us. Our main markets in December were Sri
                                                                                                                Lanka – 55%, Russia – 11%, UK – 7%, India –
                                                                                                                6%, currently in January it’s the CIS Markets
                                                                                                                (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan) that are having

        Cinnamon Bentota Beach
                                                                                                                the bulk of the bookings,” revealed Bandara.
                                                                                                                   It is important to mention here that Cinnamon
                                                                                                                Bentota Beach is very popular among Indian
                                                                                                                travellers. The reason behind this, according to

        targeting Indian weddings
                                                                                                                Bandara, is its rich culture and history that is
                                                                                                                displayed almost at every turn, which presents
                                                                                                                them with more than just a typical hotel stays.
                                                                                                                “Our Indian guests look for the beach, water
                                                                                                                sports, Indian cuisine and luxury rooms. It can
            The rich culture and history that is displayed almost at every turn, makes the                      also be the experiences we offer to guests,” said
                                                                                                                Bandara. Experiences at the property include
            property more than just a typical hotel stay and becoming increasingly popular
                                                                                                                fun activities for children including water
            among Indian travellers, writes Prasenjit Chakraborty.                                              sports, curated excursions and specialised

                                                                                                                   destination dining that feature authentic Sri
                     innamon Bentota Beach, the five-     of the most influential Asian architects                          Lankan cuisine. “Guests are spoiled
                     star resort in Sri Lanka spread over of his generation, the hotel offers a                                 for choice with six specialised
                     an area of 11 acres of land across   rich cultural value, a repository                                        restaurants, the highlight being,
                     Bentota Beach enjoys a unique        of art, and lavish gardens.                                                Nossa, an all-day dining
        location, boasting vistas of the Indian Ocean and    As it is known that the                                                  restaurant which depicts a
        the Bentara River. The property has 159 rooms     pandemic        has     thrown                                              hawker street, with different
        with traditional design elements unique to the    spanner in the work and due                                                 types of cuisine,” he said.
        destination combined with luxury amenities.       to this  every hotel and  resort                                            Additionally,          the seafood
        Each room offers its own view of the ocean or     globally has to redefine their                                             restaurant, Sea-Meats-Spice,
        vast gardens, and is enhanced by the hotel’s      strategy to ensure minimum                                                and Asian restaurant, Zest,
        signature experiences and services, including a   revenue loses. When asked to                                           specialising in Sri Lankan, Indian
        personal lifestylist for the Suites.              comment, with much lesser number                                   and Chinese cuisines, pay tribute
           Cinnamon Bentota Beach is a luxury,            of business events due to                    Dilan Bandara                to dishes from this part of the
                                                                                                  GM, Cinnamon Bentota Beach
        upscale beach resort that creates bespoke         the pandemic, how are you                                                 world. “Meanwhile, Ottimo
        experiences for the modern traveller. Set in the  compensating the decline in MICE revenue?             serves a variety of pizzas and pasta together
        natural beauty between the Bentara River and      Dilan Bandara, GM, Cinnamon Bentota Beach,            with premium cuts of steak and features a choice
        Bentota Beach, it is the master of detail, from   replied that they will focus on promoting the         of Italian wines among many other unique
        its contemporary architecture and design to its   property for weddings. “But now with tourism          culinary offerings. Traditional local experiences
        artful cuisine. Designed by Geoffrey Bawa, one    picking up in Sri Lanka, we will continue to          are introduced at an in-house Artisan Village
                                                          focus on this property being a first-choice           offering an array of activities such as mask
                                                          meeting venue for visiting business tourists. We      carving, puppetry, coconut leaf art, drumming
                                                          are still getting a share of local MICE events        and Beeralu lessons; all traditional handicrafts
                                                          and we have a few locked in for February as           that are found in this region,” explained
                                                          well, however international MICE programmes           Bandara.
                                                          are getting postponed. And biggest demand we             What about various guidelines that an Indian
                                                          are seeing so far with international MICE is for      tourist needs to keep in mind while visiting
                                                          Indian Weddings at Bentota,” he pointed out.          Sri Lanka and Cinnamon Bentota Beach?
                                                             As far as attracting guests is concerned, the      “Apart from the general COVID19 health and
                                                          property is focusing on potential wedding parties     safety guidelines, we just ask our guests to be
                                                          to select them as their wedding venue. Besides        respectful of the art and history that make this
                                                          this, they are also targeting travel influencers,     hotel unique,” concluded Bandara.
                                                          bloggers to experience Cinnamon Bentota                                
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