EXEC Travel Buzz in February

Mumbai Airport’s Signboards To Display Customs Rules

On account of the increase in the number of duty evasion cases, the Customs Department has decided to acquaint international passengers with the custom rules like limit of goods or currency to be imported or carried in the luggage through signboards.

New HR Manager At Courtyard By Marriott City Centre, Pune

Ashutosh Phadke has been appointed as the Manager, Human Resources for the Courtyard by Marriott Pune City Centre. Armed with a Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering Technology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management with a specialisation in Human Resources, Phadke comes with close to a decade’s experience in the hospitality industry.

As the HR Manager, Phadke’s key responsibilities will entail recruitment, training, performance management, compensation and benefits and organisational development amongst other HR focus areas. His core expertise lies in devising policies and directives, managing projects and operations and conducting training programs with a focus on achieving the organisation’s mission and strategic direction.

Welcome Heritage Jukaso Ganges Opens In Varanasi

Situated in the Guleria Ghat on the banks of Ganges is the latest addition to the WelcomHeritage brand, the Jukaso Ganges. Apart from fifteen rooms, it has a multi-cuisine restaurant, a business centre with Wi-Fi, and a spa that is slated to be operational soon. The hotel also arranges boats rides for guests to the Dasaswamedh Ghat.

Emirates And Mauritius Join Hands

Emirates and the Mauritius Ministry of Tourism have entered into an agreement for promoting Mauritius as a destination for the airline’s network throughout the world. They will engage in the development of a series of activities to increase the awareness around destinations to which the airline flies.

In the words of Al Mualla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations – West Asia and Indian Ocean, “The island of Mauritius is a great product and constitutes an important destination amidst our network. We strongly believe in its potential and our regular increases in frequencies on this route demonstrate that our promotion strategy is the right one and is bringing concrete results. We seize this opportunity to thank the Government of Mauritius for their trust and support.”

Priya Paul Honoured With The Padma Shri

Priya Paul, President of the Park Hotels has been awarded the Padma Shri for her services to Trade and Industry. An art collector and design enthusiast, Priya Paul is now chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels in India. Starting her career under Surendra Paul as the Marketing Manager of The Park in New Delhi, she repositioned The Park Hotels as the nation’s first collection of contemporary luxury boutique hotels. An ex-President of the Hotel Association of India she is also the founding member of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

High Speed Internet Available On Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines, together with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, has added high-speed Wi-Fi broadband Internet access to its existing live, in-flight television service on Trans-Atlantic flights using its IFE platform, PLANET. Passengers will now be able to access high-speed, unlimited Internet with laptops, tablets, smartphones or any other device that is WLAN-enabled . Business travellers can also access their company’s Virtual Private Network (VPN). The high-speed Internet service will initially be provided free of charge as an introductory offer. After this period, passengers will be able to access the Internet via an access code, which can be purchased through credit card on board the aircraft via the service provider‘s portal pages. Together with the new high-speed Internet service, seatback screens will continue to provide passengers with live TV, the latest news, as well as online services related to Turkish Airlines’ loyalty program Miles&Smiles and access to customer relation’s connections.

Sites For The New Pune Airport

Pune’s new airport project will be taken forward by the proposal of three sites to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) by the Divisional Commissioner for Pune, Prabhakar Deshmukh. According to him, the issue has been pending for the last four years due to opposition to an earlier site brought forward and difficulty in finding undulating land on one stretch that can be acquired without hassle.

AirAsia X to Stop Flights to India, Europe

Malaysia’s AirAsia X, on its Facebook page, recently said that it will stop flying to Europe and India from its Kuala Lumpur base because of the taxes and the fuel prices involved. The date for the suspension of flights to Mumbai is January 31 and service to Delhi will be blocked from March 22. It will focus on the markets of Australia, China, Japan and Korea. Services to London and Paris will increase in March. Customers who hold bookings after the mentioned dates will be offered an alternative travel option and will not be charged extra for the same.

Carlson And Rezidor Merge

Carlson, the hospitality and travel company, and the Rezidor Hotel Group have announced the establishment of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. All activities dealing with finance will be managed under the banner of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “The goal of this development is to generate more attractive financial returns for the owners and greater value for all shareholders, to be perceived by business partners around the world as one global hotel company, to offer more compelling and consistent value propositions to the guests, and to offer global career and development opportunities to the staff,” said Kurt Ritter, President and Chief Executive officer, Rezidor.

Sharing a common history over the past seventeen years, the group has a portfolio of more than 1300 hotels covering 80 countries and support from brands like Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Missoni and Park Plaza. Some initiatives aimed to generate a revenue of more than USD 400 million include a global sales team, revenue optimisation tools, partnership projects with travel intermediaries, including Carlson Wagonlit Travel and the growth of Club Carlson, the group’s loyalty program.

Star-rated Hotels To Be Set-up Across Bihar

Star-rated hotels at key tourist destinations of Bihar will be set up by Bihar Tourism including in the capital city, Patna and other places like Rajgir, Bodhgaya and Vaishali for which they are conducting a ten city road show in India. Various bathing ghats, LED lighting on heritage monuments along Ganges, house boats and ‘Shikharas’ on the river will be set up. According to Navin Kumar, Deputy General Manager, Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, the government will set up these hotels both under government investment and Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode. Jain, Buddhist and Sikh religious sites have been identified which would offer packages for religious travellers. Three cruise services are operational- one from Kolkata to Varanasi; Farrakha to Patna; and on the Ganges in Patna. Trekking in Rajgir with trips ranging from four to six hours, plans to set up ropeways at Rajgir and Rohtasgarh Fort and wildlife safaris in Buxar, Valmiki Nagar and Udaipur are also being promoted.

Choice Hotels Opens Two Properties In Delhi

Choice Hotels India, a subsidiary of Choice Hotels International, has opened Comfort Inn Saffron Kiran promoted by Saffron Group and Comfort Inn Anneha. Situated on Mathura road in Faridabad, Comfort Inn Saffron Kiran is equipped with 50 rooms, including Business Suites. The rooms have been designed with attention to detail and offer a range of facilities for guests which range from satellite LCD TV to executive writing desks and rollaway beds.

Comfort Inn Anneha, the third property in New Delhi, and is owned by Parsvnath Group. The hotel is located in Greater Kailash (BB-17, GK Enclave-II) with rooms equipped with many facilities like LCD TV, Mini bar, Wi-Fi connectivity, In-room tea/coffee maker and electronic safe. Sky View is a rooftop venue where one can choose from a multi-cuisine menu or select from a menu designed to suit individual tastes.

Rajeev Arora Dons Executive Chef Hat At Hilton Mumbai

Hilton Mumbai International Airport has appointed Rajeev Arora, Master Chef from Canada and certified Chef de Cuisine from the Canadian Chefs’ Institute, as the Executive Chef. Arora brings with him experience in Food and Beverage and Hotel Operations that spans almost two decades. His core responsibility in this new position would be to spearhead the development of the hotel’s Food and Beverage offering by enhancing the quality of the product and service and, in turn, ensuring guest satisfaction.

Prior to this appointment, Chef Arora worked with Oakwood Premier Pune in the capacity of Executive Chef. Before that he served as the Executive Sous Chef at Sheraton Guildford Vancouver, Canada. Arora has had the opportunity to prepare delectable cuisine for Bill Clinton, Prince Williams, Tony Blair and the Prime Minister of Canada, among others. He has co-judged Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s show ‘Food Food Maha Challenge Muqabala’ with Bollywood actor, Madhuri Dixit.

Sanjiv Banerjee Joins The HHI, Kolkata

Hotel Hindustan International Group of hotels based in Kolkata appoints Sanjiv Banerjee as the Vice President for Sales and Marketing. An IHM pass out, he has seventeen years of experience in the industry and started his career with the Taj Group. At HHI he would be responsible for business development and brand management for all the 5 hotels of the group.

Having worked for some of the leading hotel brands in the country, his work has taken him across the nation. He was previously with Sterling Holidays as the Head of Sales.

Miellé Batliwala Is The New Director Of HR At Pune Marriott

Miellé Batliwala has been appointed as the Director of Human Resources at the Pune Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre. She is to be responsible for the overall implementation of Human Resource initiatives at the Hotel and streamlining strategies and actions with the overall human resource framework of Marriott International. She has been with the Marriott in India for nine years and started her career as a Human Resources Associate at JW Marriott, Mumbai.

Batliwala’s assignment before joining the Pune Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre was that of Director of Human Resources at the Goa Marriott Resort & Spa. She was directly responsible for translating business priorities into property-specific human resources strategies, making decisions regarding staffing and talent management, developing the competence of managers in evaluating associates and leading succession management and workforce planning.

Pascal Gauvin is IHG’s New COO For India, Middle East and Africa

Inter Continental Hotels Group, Delhi has promoted Pascal Gauvin to the position of Chief Operating Officer for India, Middle East and Africa, his role being effective from April this year. He succeeds John Bamsey who has decided to retire and return to UK. Pascal has an experience with the Group for nineteen years and has held roles operational across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, his most recent being the Vice President Operations, Near East & Africa. Pascal will be supervising the overall operations and growth of the region.

Jet Airways Wins

‘Business Leadership Award’

Jet Airways was adjudged the best aviation company at a recent Business Leadership Awards. The awards brought together the finest business minds and top bureaucrats of the country to acknowledge the very best, the brightest and most dynamic amongst corporate India for their relentless pursuit of excellence, a direct corollary to which has been the emergence of India at the forefront of a global economy. Extensive research was carried out to determine the nominees and the winners under the guidance of leading names from the industry and business world who comprised the jury, including Naina Lal Kidwai, Group General Manager and Country Head, HSBC India, TN Ninan, Chairman and Editorial Director, Business Standard, Kalpana Morparia, CEO, J P Morgan, India, Shanti Ekambaram, Group Head Wholesale Banking, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Zia Mody, Senior Partner, AZB & Partners, Prannoy Roy, Dorab Sopariwala and Manvi Dhillon.

Dhananjay Kumar is The GM of Radisson Blu, Chennai

Dhananjay Kumar has been appointed the General Manager for the newly opened Radisson Blu City Centre. He has an experience of over 18 years in the hospitality industry and has worked with Hyatt Regency in Delhi and Dubai, Oberoi, Shangri-La and Claridges in various Senior Food and Beverage positions.

He was the principal consultant for the hospitality division with Technopak Advisors where he provided advice on management of hotels and food and beverage outlets. A Food and Beverage manager at Hilton Chennai, Kumar joined the Radisson Blu Hotel Chennai City Centre as a General Manager last year and is also a certified trainer with Hyatt & Shangri-La International.

Emirates Plans Additional Flights To India

Dubai-based carrier Emirates plans more flights to India and awaits clearance from the government to fly its Airbus A380 aircraft to Delhi and Mumbai. The rising demand from the Indian business and tourism sector is one of the reasons behind the agenda. Emirates already flies to ten Indian locations, which include metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

Sewara Hospitality to Open ‘The Indravan’

The Ministry of Culture leased ‘The Indravan’, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts’ (IGNCA) guest house in New Delhi to Sewara Hospitality and it will start accepting guests once the approval and the license processes are completed. Twelve Standard rooms, ten Deluxe rooms and two suites have been designed based on the art and architecture of the Harappan, Gupta, Chola and Mughal periods. Apart from the reception, designed in Hindu and Islamic styles, and the lounge, named ‘The Silk Room’, has been created around the theme of the Silk Road. The hotel also has a dining area, Glass Box, on the ground floor to serve the in-house guests.

Airline Boarding Passes May Go Mobile

SITA (Society for International Telecommunications for Aeronautics), an air transport communications and IT solutions provider is in talks with Air India and other agencies for a passenger web check-in application that allows to check-in through electronic boarding passes sent directly to their phones. Passengers can download their boarding passes to their mobiles by visiting a link e-mailed to them after they book a flight.

Hyatt To Add 950 Rooms Across India

Approximately 950 guest rooms across six new levels in the country will be added this year by the Hyatt Hotels Corporation taking Hyatt’s India portfolio of hotels from eight to fourteen operational properties. The new hotels slated to open shortly are Park Hyatt Hyderabad (209 rooms with 42 serviced apartments), Park Hyatt Chennai with 204 rooms, Hyatt Raipur (104 rooms), Hyatt Place Hampi (116 rooms), Hyatt Place Pune at Hinjewadi (117 rooms) and Hyatt Place Bangalore at Whitefield (200 rooms)

Hyatt Kolkata Responsible For Hyatt Thrive

Among 27 international properties of Hyatt, Hyatt Thrive, a global corporate responsibility program has selected Hyatt’s Kolkata property for its operations and the hotel has identified projects to participate in, most of which revolve around environmental sustainability.

The project to develop a community participative model for scientific management of municipal solid wastes in East Kolkata Wetlands focuses on areas like environmental sustainability, economic development and investment, education and personal advancement and health and wellness.

Disha Direct Ventures Into Hospitality

Disha Direct, the real estate marketing company, announced their foray into the hospitality sector with a chain of resorts set up under the name Greenarth Leisure at various off-track locales ‘yet to be explored’. They recently launched the resort, Greenarth Lakeview at Vikramgad, Manor, off Mumbai Ahmedabad Highway. Spread over seven acres and situated besides a private lake, it is a two-hour drive from Mumbai. Greenarth riverside at Wada, Greenarth Orchid at Alibaug, Greenarth Bollywood Blues at Karjat, Greenarth Tierra at Roha and Greenarth Life will also open soon.

antosh Naik, Managing Director said, “In today’s urban lifestyle, people are constantly on the go and have very little time to spend with their family and friends. Weekends are usually spent either relaxing at home or visiting malls and multiplexes. We thus realised there is a gap in the leisure segment and given a chance, families would love to take off to close by weekend destinations as frequently as possible. A welcome break close to nature.”

The company plans to invest `300 crores in their hospitality division.

Taj Palace, New Delhi is the World’s Best Business Hotel in 2011

The Taj Palace in New Delhi has been recognised as the World’s Best Business Hotel in 2011 according to the Travel + Leisure Annual World’s Best Awards Survey-2011. The General Manager of the Taj Palace Hotel, Taljinder Singh said on this occasion, “We are very proud to be recipients of this prestigious award that recognise highest standards of service quality and excellence. We have worked hard at earning the repute of being a preferred hub for significant international and domestic events. Having endeavoured to innovate continuously to match the needs of the discerning global business traveller, to emerge a winner at this platform acknowledges our initiatives in offering the finest elements of a luxury business hotel experience.”

Mumbai’s Main Runway Will Close For Four Months

Owing to the construction of a rapid exit taxiway designed to reduce aircraft runway occupancy, the main runway at the Mumbai International airport will be shut for next four months till June 1, between 9 am and 5 pm. This is to help the flight operations in the long run. Flights operating on the secondary runway will face delays of up to forty minutes, as it cannot accommodate many flights.

Reliance Metro Airport Express Goes WiFi

Stations along the Reliance Metro Airport Express Route in Delhi are now Wi-Fi enabled to allow passengers internet access from inside the rail. Broadband company, YOU Broadband & Cable India Limited, with Reliance Metro Airport Express introduced Wi-Fi services at stations along this Express Route. The WiFi service is free of charge and has been functional from January 13 this year.

Currently New Delhi Railway Station, Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aero City, Indira Gandhi International Airport and Dwarka Sector 21 have this facility. The service will be available inside the coaches with a register service. CEO of YOU Broadband EVS Chakravarthy said, “We have always believed that innovation is the key to keep customer engaged and interested in our services. It helps us pioneer and tread new paths that create endless possibilities and value to our customers. Reliance Metro Airport Express Route WiFi project is one such endeavour that we are proud to be associated with. From a strategic point of view it helps us get ready for future challenges and opportunities. YOU Broadband is confident that this project would be a success, similar on the lines of Mumbai Airport WiFi project.”

The spokesperson of Reliance Infrastructure said, “We are immensely happy to introduce WiFi connectivity at the Reliance Metro Airport Express stations. This is for the first time in our country metro commuters will experience wireless Internet connectivity at the metro station itself, while travelling. We are hopeful that this free WiFi access, in association with YOU Broadband will encourage business travellers as well as other passengers to take this absolutely hassle-free Airport Express Metro route.”

American Airlines to End Direct Flights to India

American Airlines said that it would phase out direct flights to India, starting with the 15-hour flight between Chicago and New Delhi on March 1 and cut about 150 jobs in February. The reasons behind this action were attributed to the loss of a US Postal Service domestic mail contract, closing of an equipment shop in St. Louis, and a reduced winter flight schedule. Weak global economy and high oil prices were also among the other reasons. It will offer flights to India through its partner airlines.

Launch of Vivanta by Taj in Hyderabad

The recently launched Vivanta by Taj – Begumpet will be the first hotel under the Vivanta banner in Andhra Pradesh. Deepa Misra Harris, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces said, “We are proud to announce our foray into Begumpet – the fast paced business district of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.”

Vivanta by Taj – Begumpet, Hyderabad is located at the intersection of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in close proximity to the city centre. A convenient distance from the international airport and railway station, the hotel enjoys the advantage of servicing both the business and luxury traveller. The hotel has 181 rooms and suites including the Presidential Nirvana Suite which is located on the highest floor with access to the Rhythm Lounge and overlooks the Flying Club air-strip and Deluxe Allure Suites which have separate bedroom and living areas that open out to a view of the city’s skyline.

The dining options at this hotel include Viva, the all-day diner, serving Modern European cuisine and The Grill, a poolside al fresco restaurant serving Mediterranean foods.

Tease is the hotel’s bar and the Thai Pavilion is slated to open soon. The hotel also offers guests other services like spa treatments, a 24-hour gym and a swimming pool.

Michael G Singh is Aditya Sarovar’s New GM

Aditya Sarovar Premiere, Hyderabad has recently announced the appointment of Michael G Singh as General Manager of the hotel. His role and responsibilities will be to ensure efficient and effective operations in all areas of the property specially department goals, budgets and financial planning for the hotel. Singh has 13 years of experience across a diverse spectrum ranging from food & beverages, rooms operations, systems installations and front office management. Earlier, he was with JW Marriott, Chandigarh as the Director of Rooms. During his tenure with Marriott, he headed several new hotel openings, mergers and conversions in Asia-Pacific and worked at many of Marriott’s International properties across Europe.

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