The upcoming second edition of BITB India Travel Congress will build upon the success of its inaugural edition and bring sharper focus on all things concerning travel. India Travel Congress, as a platform, will bring together top echelons of decision makers from both industry and government to bring out the ‘Big Picture’ on travel in India. It will connect diverse core stakeholders for a purposeful interaction on mooting the way forward.
The one-day event will examine developments in infrastructure, including rail, aviation, road, shipping and coastal area development, the larger gamut of it, and look at areas, including new-age verticals that are redefining the way travel is happening in the country.
Expect a galaxy of several speakers through the day, in the plenary session, business sessions, keynotes and a series of panel discussions.
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India Travel Congress, organised by BITB, was held on 23rd and 24th of February 2018 at Pullman Hotel in Aerocity, New Delhi. The two-day event was aimed at bringing diverse stakeholders of the larger tourism industry on to one platform to create better understanding the of nuances of businesses, changing dynamics of the market and churnings in the domestic milieu which were impacting the course of business trajectory for the industry.
The event, spread across two days, was attended by over 500 delegates, representing senior echelons of policy makers and tourism industry. Key government representatives included Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, Housing and Urban Affairs, GOI; Vijay Goel, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme, GOI; Ashwini Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board and Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Hamirpur, among others.
Hardeep Puri, in his speech, shared some of the initiatives taken by Housing and Urban Affairs ministry and detailed how they were aligned with the larger vision of the tourism industry. He suggested that the massive urbanisation and rejuvenation push, undertaken by his ministry, was a critical aspect of uplifting tourism in cities and asserted that it would help strengthening tourism and travel in its own ways. “This is a part of the government which will contribute to providing a quantum jump and exponential growth to the tourism sector,” he said.
Speaking on transforming railways in to a preferred means of transportation, Ashwini Lohani shared that railways was working on boosting rail footprints in hilly areas, including the Northeast – which was going to add more lustre to the profile of the region, making it more accessible to the masses. Speaking on the transformational change undergoing in the railways, he said “We are building freight corridors, high-speed railways, bringing in new coaches, besides improving sub-urban networks and signalling. It is at the cusp of a major chance, which will affect and give a big impetus to this wonderful sector.”.
There were several sessions, studded with star speakers, who deliberated on issues impacting the industry and the nation in driving stronger tourism numbers. In the plenary session, SK Misra, Former Principal Secretary to the PM, outlined the way forward for positioning Delhi as a world-class city for tourism. A panel consisting of pioneers in their respective fields also shared their insights on issues such as hotels, museums and cuisines and how they could be better positioned to attract more footfalls in to the capital.
Vijay Goel spoke on resurrecting Chandni Chowk and old Delhi for conserving heritage and transforming it in to a desirable tourism asset. He highlighted issues such as multiplicity of authority and a general sense of apathy for the heritage as reasons for the current state of the old Delhi region.
Anurag Thakur shared his experience of bringing cricket in to the Buddhist town of Dharamshala and argued that sports tourism was not only important in driving local economy, but it had also considerably arrested some of the other glaring social issues facing the Himalayan state.
There were sessions dedicated to deciphering trends in the hospitality segment. Also, finding ways and means to drive inbound traffic in to India was put under scanner. Hotel insiders asserted that while inbound was a lucrative proposition, domestic segment was the pivot around which businesses were expected to grow, indicating that the domestic segment had grown leaps and bounds, in terms of its spending capability and weightage as segment.
Churning in the online space was discussed at length too. Speakers shared their insights on the unfolding in the online space, suggesting that further consolidation by online majors was going to continue unabated and discounts as a means to attract more consumers was a trend expected to continue for at least another five years.
Gujarat Tourism was the Gold Partner of the event and showcased and promoted some of its key destinations and products among delegates. Gujarat Tourism was represented by Soman Pathi and Sanatan Pancholi who besides networking on the sidelines on the event to create more understanding about Gujarat’s offerings and opportunities, also gave insights in to conducive policy framework in the state. Gujarat Tourism also set up a exhibition booth to drive B2B business and had three co-participants, in form of hotels, showcasing their product offering.
Representatives of Crabtree – a part of the Havells group – showcased a video presentation to delegates, explaining how the company was making fast strides in aligning itself with the needs of the hotel industry by bringing in products that were truly international and top quality in terms of energy efficiency and design.
BITB also honoured some of the biggest names in the tourism industry for their unflinching resolve and massive contribution in furthering travel and tourism in the country and beyond. BITB honoured Radhe shyam Saraf, Group Chairman, Saraf Hotel Enterprises; Chandru Raheja, Founder and Chairman, K Raheja Corp and Kapil Bhatia, Executive Chairman, Interglobe Enterprises Limited with ‘Lifetime Achievement award’ for their long and illustrious careers spanning several decades.
Hotelier Binod Chaudhary, Chairman of CG Group was honoured for being the ‘Face of South Asian Hospitality’ and Tarun Thakral, Founder of Heritage Transport Museum was also honoured for his unique initiative which has gained tremendous popularity as an innovative tourism product.
Over 100 golfers from Delhi and NCR were also in attendance to participate in raffle draw which was supported by Nepal Tourism. A number of golfers won attractive prizes which included sponsored stay in Nepal.
During the two days, delegates also networked over hosted lunches and dinners and discussed ideas to further business.
India Travel Congress
India Travel Congress Awards
BITB India Travel Congress honoured some of the biggest names in the tourism industry for their unflinching resolve and massive contribution in furthering travel and tourism in the country and beyond. BITB honoured Radhe shyam Saraf, Group Chairman, Saraf Hotel Enterprises; Chandru Raheja, Founder and Chairman, K Raheja Corp and Kapil Bhatia, Executive Chairman, Interglobe Enterprises Limited with ‘Lifetime Achievement award’ for their long and illustrious careers spanning several decades.
Hotelier Binod Chaudhary, Chairman of CG Group, was honoured for being the ‘Face of South Asian Hospitality’ and Tarun Thakral, Founder of Heritage Transport Museum was also honoured for his unique initiative which has gained tremendous popularity as an innovative tourism product.
India Travel Congress
Keynote addresses at India Travel Congress
Urban rejuvenation will lend a quantum leap to travel and tourism: Hardeep Singh Puri
“My friend Navin Berry’s affection is what I owe my presence here. We go back nearly 50 years. When Navin invited me to join you people in this function, I immediately responded out of a sense of friendship. Then I was wondering what was I doing amongst specialists in the tourism, travel and hospitality sectors? For 40 years, I was a part of a profession which is a consumer of services that the tourism, travel and hospitality trade offer and now that I have been inducted in to the council of ministers, I think without many of us realising this, this is a part of the government which will contribute to providing a quantum jump and exponential growth to the tourism sector.
Let me try and explain. The portfolio that I have been assigned, Housing and Urban Affairs, in itself deals with Prime Minister’s flagship programs – Swaccha Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and SMART Cities – just to mention three flagship programs that we deal with. But put those aside for a moment, and what you have is post May 2014, the government led by PM Modi has embarked on what I personally think is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive program of planned urbanisation taken anywhere in the world. If you look at the history of China, what they did with infra and housing sectors, and keep that as a template in the back of your minds, and look at the scales involved with what this government is trying to do in terms of urban rejuvenation and planned urbanisation, then you get a picture that emerges. Why am I mentioning this to you is because having spent four decades in another profession – the profession of diplomacy where I had the privilege of living in most of the major cities of the world – I am always baffled at how a country like India which has all that a country could dream of in terms of tourism has not reached its true potential. We have some of the major religions in the world that have originated in India. We have history, art and culture, and so much more. All we need is to put our energies together and we will see a quantum jump in travel and tourism.
I thank you for inviting me here and wish you all a lot of success in your future endeavours.”
Railways at cusp of a major change; will impact travel and tourism positively, says Ashwani Lohani
“It is always a great feeling coming to a gathering of tourism professionals and achievers. Travel and tourism is a great sector. It is one sector where with least investments can take states and the nation forward. Some great work is being done in the tourism sector but much more can be done, still. I am now with the Railways. In India, railways mean travel. It also has great role in promoting tourism in the country. We are looking at promoting trains at destinations and getting more luxury tourist trains and are working on expanding railways network in hilly areas.
Railways is, right now, on the verge of a major change. We are looking at process, structural and cultural reforms, and are aggressively expanding the territory of operations. We are building freight corridors, high-speed railways, bringing in new coaches, besides improving sub-urban networks and signalling. It is at the cusp of a major chance, which will affect and give a big impetus to this wonderful sector.
I thank you, Mr. Berry for inviting me here. I really feel honoured. My best wishes to all of you and special compliments to awardees. Thank you. Jai Hind.”
PPP model a good way of conserving heritage; confront bad publicity on war footing, says SK Misra
SK Misra, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, was fulsome in his praise for the diversity and depth of offerings of the city of Delhi. He called Delhi “a city with amazing lineage and home to diverse offerings”, apart from rich ancient heritage. He listed out some of the city’s top draws and made specific mention of elements such as cuisines, shopping, monuments, among others.
Taking stock of the big picture to bring the city at par with the best cities in the world, he suggested decongesting Delhi and adding more amenities to bring more seamlessness to the movement of people. He also mooted roping in larger number of trained guides and students from history and other related disciplines to add to the knowledge quotient of travellers and locals alike.
He further noted that heritage walks had gained prominence in the recent past and given its rising popularity, focus on lesser known monuments would bode well in further spreading awareness and driving tourist numbers.
SK Misra favoured private investments by corporate entities in adopting at least one heritage structure, besides undertaking PPP (Public Private Partnership) initiatives for the same. He also observed that GOI (Government of India) was beginning to discover the benefits of PPP initiatives in conserving heritage.
He asserted that Delhi’s museums were at par with the best in the world in terms of content and visitor’s experience could be further enhanced and more tourists could be attracted through proper arrangement of cafeterias and souvenir shops.
On the road ahead, he advocated that government could conduct a “Delhi Heritage Festival” to further amplify Delhi’s offerings in domestic and international markets. He suggested creating a ‘Delhi Tourism Masterplan’ to ensure timely implementation of plans and active convergence of stakeholders.
SK Misra also made a mention of “pressing issues” such as women safety and rising pollution, stating that “word of mouth publicity” of those factors was acting as a major deterrent in pushing the numbers north. He advised the state and central government to “confront these issue” on war footing.
Dwarka Convention Centre will be world-class; DMIC muscling up infra in an unprecedented manner, says Alkesh Sharma
Speaking on the undertakings of DMICDC, Alkesh Sharma, CEO and MD, DMICDC noted that the project was “first such project” to be developed which was innovative in design and was being counted among top 100 most innovate projects in the world. He shared that the idea of the project was to create seamless connectivity, creating numerous greenfield cities with an eye on countering urbanisation, addressing issues relating to industrialisation, and ensuring that by 2030 – when the phase one of the corridor is completed –it would be contributing as much as 30 percent of India’s economy. He said that DMICDC itself was a 100-billion-dollar worth of project.
He noted that given the magnitude of the undertaking, several new infra projects were slated to be created. Two new airports were expected to come up in the phase one of the project, one in Bhiwadi and other one in a new city called Dholera, which is close to Ahmedabad. Apart from airports, three multi-model logistic hub which were going to be the largest in the South Asian region were also being built, he shared. Alkesh Sharma also noted that 8 SMART Cities were being created in the phase one of the project, and work “was already underway on 4 of them.”
He also showcased a presentation which outlined the contours of the under-construction Dwarka Convention Centre. Slated to provide unmatched facilities for trade shows, cultural events, exhibitions and conventions, the Dwarka Convention Centre would also boast of a Golf course, a proposed diplomatic enclave and was going to be “only eight kilometres away from the Delhi international airport”, he shared through the presentation. He asserted that the project was going to address the absence of a “world-class convention facility”, which was a “cause of concern for the country”.
He shared that the entire project was pegged at INR 26000 crores and spread in a 90 hectares area. The structure itself was going to have 5 large exhibition halls, a multi-facility convention centre, a multi-purpose arena, along with a mixed-use area designated for office space, retail and others.
He shared that DMICDC was going to “come up” with allotment of plots for hotels and retail in some time. He noted that the idea was to ensure that hotels and retail structures were “up and running” when the construction of exhibition and convention facility was done.
Indian culinary offerings have enough prowess to drive tourism on its own: Sanjeev Kapoor
Speaking on “Experiencing the Indian Culinary Niche”, Sanjeev Kapoor, celebrated chef and Managing Director, Wonderchef asserted that Indian culinary offerings had enough prowess to drive tourism on its own. It was merely a question of marketing it in the manner befitting its stature, he suggested. Excerpts from his keynote address:
Celebrated Chef Sanjeev Kapoor exuded confidence in the ability of Indian cuisines to act as an attracting in itself – not only for international visitors but for the domestic audience too. India was home to diverse culinary cultures and food was integral to Indian way of life, he argued. He noted that while not only the industry, but masses too were aware that Indian food had ample attraction in terms of its offerings and techniques and it was only a question of putting them all together in a seamless manner to bring spotlight on to the Indian culinary prowess.
He noted that the world was “attracted towards the East” like never before and even a miniscule offering was seen as “something fascinating”, indicating that India had ample “aura and magic” in its repertoire and it was a question of tapping it for gains in tourism. He added that these were the “elements that the world wanted to know,” suggesting that the country’s strength lied in sticking to its roots and offering tourists “an authentic Indian experience.”
Sanjeev Kapoor mentioned that the world was gearing towards holistic health and was eager to consume food which had health and healing properties. He noted that Indian cuisines, in different regions of the country, had “thousands of such recipes” which was suited not only for taste but for holistic health and well-being of the body. He batted for highlighting these offerings to the larger world.
He mentioned that Indian art of cooking could be harnessed to add newer dimensions to tourist offerings in the country. He supplemented his argument by sharing that the prasad prepared in the Jagannath Puri temple was done through placing seven pots on top of each other. Adding that while the food was cooked using simple technique of science, he noted that such a cooking technique could be used in some of the restaurants to recreate the experience for visitors.
Making a pitch making culinary experience integral to the overall tourism offerings, he noted that food festivals were “conducive undertakings” to highlight India’s rich gastronomical diversity and regional variations.
Innovation, specialised skill-set critical for companies to survive in the Indian digital ecosystem: Ashwini Kakkar
Ashwini Kakkar, Vice Chairman, Mercury Travels made some interesting observations in his keynote address. He argued that the ever-evolving digital landscape had made it imperative for companies to innovate and evolve faster, holding on to specialised skill-sets, in order to remain relevant in the marketplace. Excerpts:
Ashwini Kakkar asserted that online companies had been “burning money” over the last few years to acquire a greater market share. He shared that top five companies in the Indian marketspace – including Makemytrip.com, Cleartrip.com, and Yatra.com – had made losses upwards of three billion USD in 2017 alone.
Sharing that the new distribution strategy which IATA was trying to bring in was intended to “destroy GDSs and old forms of distribution” as it existed, he suggested that corporates, too, were going all-out to reduce distribution costs, assimilating automation into their processes.
He unequivocally asserted that “customer loyalty” was dead and it mattered only as much as the “last rupee put on the table”. Making a special mention of Ola, Uber and Airbnb, he noted that “disruptions were rampant”, and happening at a pace like never before. He also stressed that social media and mobile commerce was binging unprecedented change in the landscape.
He suggested that the customer was becoming a servant of the organisation as a buyer who spent hours and days trying to scout a vacation for himself, while he gave his comments and ratings on the service provided to him to act as an advisor of the company. He noted that the profile of the customer had transformed immensely, and the customer had enough “swaying power” to influence buying patterns by the virtue of voicing his like or dislike for the company and its services.
Giving his take on how smaller agents were going to survive, as they did in the past, fighting the onslaught of multi-billion dollar companies, he mentioned that intermediaries were becoming “dis-intermediaries by newer intermediaries” entering the fray. He illustrated his argument by noting that companies like Expedia and Priceline were able to charge a commission upwards of “30 percent as opposed to traditional operators charging only 10 percent commission.”
He noted that at a time of constant disruptions in the market, companies with “special skill-sets” such as “deep service and deep skills” were favourably poised to stem the tide. He further added that some companies had imbibed “deep innovation culture” which was equally crucial in maintaining their foothold despite market disruptions. He suggested that mergers and acquisitions was yet another measure to ensure continuity to business and market share and there were innumerable examples of the same.
Commenting on the current state of Indian market, he argued that the number of mobile phones in the Indian market, including smartphones – which numbered in the range of 300 million 2017 – were going to lead to exponential growth of the digital ecosystem in the country in the imminent future.
Multiplicity of authorities, general apathy for heritage conservation threat to Chandni Chowk’s survival: Vijay Goel
Vijay Goel, Union Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation, was critical of the multiplicity of authorities and unnecessary complicated procedures in resurrecting heritage structures. He argued that urgent steps were needed to salvage the remainder of Chandni Chowk before its heritage was lost forever. He also had a strongly-worded advice for the industry – it was time for action and not speeches and seminars.
Heritage had been an integral part of his life, he noted. He shared how his association with Chandni Chowk was cemented after he was able to win the parliamentary constituency after a tough political battle with Jagdish Tytler.
He evoked his bygone days and pointed towards the stark difference between the glory days and the current state of Chandni Chowk – which was engulfed in dangling wires, congested roads and several other pressing issues. He alleged that “unauthorised construction” had killed the area. He went on to note that the 460 years old Chandni Chowk was home to thousands of Havelis, and “today, only a handful of them could even be calledHavelis”. He shared that the entire area had several fountains once upon a time and all of them had now been “sadly replaced” by public toilets. He explained that as no property owners allowed construction of toilets on the property, the government was forced to use public spaces for creating such facilities.
He lamented that the area was now only home to people of two kinds – one who were old inhabitants of the place and had emotional connect with Chandni Chowk and other who owned property in the area and had considerable stakes involved. He noted that “greedy builders” were converting havelis into commercial properties and urgent action was needed to save the remaining havelis from a similar fate.
He did not shy away from insinuating that the tourism industry was caught in a maze of seminars, lectures and speeches, and delivery on the ground was missing. He also argued that government authorities were stymying private initiatives. He elaborated his argument by sharing that his experience of resurrecting the ‘Haveli Dharampura’ and how despite being the owner of the property, he had to take multiple permissions from different government authorities. He pointed out that the entire process was geared towards creating more hurdles than making the process more conducive for heritage preservation.
Proposing a way forward, he suggested bringing in more limelight to the area to make people aware of the heritage that lied in tatters. He shared that one of his initiatives – Chowdvi ka Chand, a festival to celebrate the legacy of Chandni Chowk – was well received and lakhs of people visited the area to get a glimpse of the Old Delhi bathed in full moon night. He argued that such initiatives were critical in bringing Chandni Chowk into the centre of public discourse.
Innovation in outreach outcome of limited financial resources, says V K Duggal
V K Duggal, Former Governor, Manipur took a walk down the memory lane to share his insights on his engagements with the tourism industry, reflecting that several successful initiatives were outcomes of concerted efforts and innovative, ‘out of the box’ thinking. Excerpts from his keynote address at BITB India Travel Congress:
V K Duggal, at the onset, stated that his was only sharing “facts” based on his experience and explained that innovation in marketing and outreach in the Indian milieu came primarily from the “fund crunch” officials were often faced with. He suggested that once there was an understanding that the competition was fierce, and funds were limited, innovative and ‘out of box ideas’ were natural outcomes. He also called himself “lucky” in having received the support of “very able colleagues” both senior and junior, besides receiving support from the industry.
He shared the experience of his days in Sydney, Australia as the Director of the tea board where he worked with the India Tourism Office and Air India. He revealed that all of them were working in “silos” and eyeing a change in the scenario, he requested the then Indian Ambassador to Australia for a more “concerted effort where each one could piggyback” to promote India. He added that fund crunch was a primary reason for such a suggestion. He shared that the reception to the attempt was “so good” that Air India approached him to collectively promote Indian cuisines. “We opened the first five-star restaurant, anywhere, in Sydney,” he detailed and shared that numerous Indian delicacies and beverages such as beer and ethnic drinks were flown in from India to be served to local populace. He further noted that India was promoted in Australia through such joint collaborative efforts.
Speaking on his association with Goa and role therein, he shared that it was decided after a meeting with senior industry stakeholders to market Goa’s monsoon with a fifty-fifty contribution from government and industry. He candidly admitted that industry then did not see much potential in marketing monsoon tourism. He detailed that a team was put together under his supervision in 1986. “It was one of the first PPP initiatives of its time,” he added. Art illustrations by Mario Miranda, a renowned illustrator, were splashed across newspaper generating significant queries from individuals, he shared. V K Duggal noted that the effort had paid off and hotels in Goa recorded as high as 60 percent occupancies, compared to previous years when hotels offered free stays and discounted food to keep their assets operational. He also noted that buoyed by these developments, the first charter plane had landed in Goa. Goa has since emerged a busy monsoon tourism destination, V K Duggal reflected, adding that it was evident with “flights going chockablock.”
Having served as the DG of Tourism, GOI, he quipped that he had some “anecdotes” to share. He noted that the idea to hold a tourism minister’s conference in India was mooted and then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was “very keen on it”. Unfortunately, the idea never materialised as 9/11 terror attacks took place in the USA only a day prior to the event, he revealed.
He asserted that the ‘Incredible India’ was a huge success story and credited the initiatives taken during that time. He also reminisced the successful hosting of PATA conference. V K Duggal noted that he had re-started the e-visa initiative once he assumed the position of Home Secretary – a project which had incidentally faced resistance from the home ministry – and added that the electronic visa initiative had moved several steps from there on.
Business Sessions at India Travel Congress
“Delhi as a World-Class Global Tourist City”: Insiders bat for institutional framework, concerted effort by stakeholders
The session titled “Delhi as a World-class Global Tourist City” saw serious deliberations on positioning Delhi as a destination meeting world-class standards. The session was moderated by Kapil Kaul, CEO, CAPA India and panellists included, JB Singh, President, Interglobe Hotels; Saeed Sherwani, MD, Sherwani Hotels; Kishore Singh, Director, Delhi Art Gallery; Sourish Bhattacharya, Founder Director, Tasting India Symposium; Jitendra Singh, Head, Airline Marketing & Route Development, Delhi Airport; Sharupa Dutta, Producer-Zee Jaipur Literature Festival; Suresh Nair, Country Manager, AirAsia Berhad; Vivek Yadav, Senior VP, Domestic Switchgear, Havells India and Gagan Khosla, Entrepreneur and cycling enthusiast. Panellists listed out several measures to ensure well-rounded development on multiple fronts. Here is a list of steps suggested by the panel:
- Need for an institutional framework to guarantee policy implementation with legal underpinning. It is necessary for a transformational change.
- Need to rope in students from history and other related disciplines to create more awareness around city’s heritage and culture among locals and tourists alike.
- Multiplicity of accountability must be done away with. It is essential to pin accountability to bring more transparency and urgency in processes, especially with big-ticket infra projects such as Aerocity.
- Delhi must have more accommodation choices, across budgets, throughout the city, for a viable consumer experience. Hotels are a key part of city infrastructure and must be treated as one by the government.
- Must find ways to instil passion for heritage and history. These subjects must find more space in the mainstream of public discourse. Convergence of stakeholders needed to drive discourse.
- PPP model an apt medium for conserving heritage. Find ways to create more synergy among stakeholders from within the government and private sector.
- There must be some institutional mechanism set up by the government to promote private initiatives in different spheres of activities, including food, history, art, and such. Individual efforts must not get lost.
- Cycling, food festivals, and other such engagements must be given more prominence as they add more dimensions to a city’s tourism profile. Need for a holistic and concerted effort to drive these segments.
- Delhi tourism website must showcase different initiatives, private or otherwise, and act as the central repository of information on happenings in the city.
- Focus on strengthening ancillary services such as quality souvenir shops and cafeterias to create more traction around city’s museums and art centres.
- Need for more cultural exchanges within the domestic circles to promote art and heritage. Tourism industry stakeholders need to converge to moot the way forward.
- Delhi International Airport should showcase finer elements of city’s tourism bouquet. Tourism pegs such as culinary offering can be soft marketed to a much larger audience, given Delhi airport’s global air connect and high footfalls.
Has the industry given up on Inbound’: Stakeholders think otherwise
Moderater: Kapil Chopra
Panellists: Vikram Madhok, MD, Abercrombie & Kent
Subhash Goyal, Chairman, STIC Group
Raj Rana, CEO, Carlson Rezidor – South Asia
Navjeet Ahluwalia, Country Head, Hilton Hotels
- There was unanimity on the fact that India had much to offer and its appeal and lure as a destination was intact.
- Lack of robust air connectivity to international destinations, especially to state capitals, besides the ease of movement within the country were identified as issues that needed urgent redressal.
- India’s outreach and perception management in the international arena, especially in key feeder markets needs to be ramped up.
- MoT needs to play a more proactive role through their foreign offices. Ramp up engagement with the media and travel fraternity in international markets to position India as a desirable destination.
- Expand the gamut of engagement for foreign travellers, ensuring that they are not bereft of activities when travelling.
- Look at engagements besides showcasing just the cultural aspect of a city to ensure that a traveller had the opportunity to experience a destination in its entirety.
- Instead of focussing on several destinations and circuits, ramp up facilities and experience quotient at a handful of destinations to turn them in to a truly world-class experience.
- India being a long-haul destination for a majority of countries, it is imperative to provide a truly bespoke experience to travellers to ensure their repeat visit.
Domestic leisure segment gaining prominence like never before, suggest panellists
Moderator: Ashish Jakhanwala, CEO, SAMHI Hotels
Panellists: Peter Fulton, Group President, Hyatt EAME and South Asia
Dipak Haksar, CEO, ITC Hotels
Neeraj Govil, Area VP, Marriott – South Asia
Jean Michel Casse, COO, India and South Asia – Accor Hotels
Rohit Kohli, Joint MD, Creative Travels
- Domestic leisure segment has become an important part of business for hotels in India and the trend of focussing on the domestic market – which started a decade ago – was going to continue unabated in the near future.
- A robust domestic leisure segment is rubbing off on to the corporate segment as well and is acting as a useful development in driving demands.
- Indian stakeholders needed to do more to bridge the gap between what was being marketed as “Incredible India” and the actual experience of a traveller.
- A hotel’s relationship with the travel industry has turned transactional, and there is little communication between the two. There is a need to step up communication to put up a concerted step forward.
- Assimilating local elements of culture and food into their offerings have become important for hotels to succeed, especially, in tier-2 and tier-3 markets.
- Bilateral initiatives to promote destinations have fared well for India and France. Such initiatives with other countries can push overall tourism numbers and create the needed outreach.
‘Crystal Ball Gazing’: Industry needs integrate with aviation ecosystem, value mid-segment to driving demand
Moderator: Kapil Kaul, CEO, CAPA-South Asia
Panellists: Harsh Verma, Technical Cooperation, UNTWO
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, OYO
KB Kachru, Chairman Emeritus and Principal Advisor, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, South Asia
Puneet Chhatwal, CEO and MD, Taj Hotels
- India must not only look at product diversification but also equally focus on finding new markets, the world over, to cease the over-reliability on a handful of traditional source markets.
- The industry needs to take in to account the potential of business in the domestic segment in a big way.
- The Indian industry is not working in isolation and impact of global trends and churning are going to impact businesses in the country.
- India needs to do a lot more to manage its perception as a destination at the global level.
- The domestic segment of travellers is going to be the core to the larger growth story of tourism in India.
- Hospitality and tourism industry must integrate with the aviation ecosystem to understand trends and demands better.
BITB, Bharat International Tourism Bazaar, launched its maiden edition in October, 2016 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. It brought together an impressive 3,300 sqm net space of exhibitors, with some of the best and biggest names in the business. It brought together leading Indian and international hotels chains, leading airlines, over a dozen state governments, top international products and select NTOs. It brought together a galaxy of over 60 leaders in the industry to dwell on challenges facing the larger sector. BITB honoured the most exemplary names in business and in hospitality (PRS Oberoi), airlines (Naresh Goyal), airports (Sanjay Reddy), heritage and arts (Rajeev Sethi), boutique Indian experiences (Jose Dominic), digital technology and online space(Deep Kalra) and travel facilitation (Zubin Karkaria).
Tourism Conclave & Bazaar
PARTNERS AND ANCHORS
SPEAKERS & AWARDEES
Tourism Conclave & Bazaar Awards
3rd October 2016. New Delhi
BITB rolled out its Awards to Iconic Indians who have impacted Global Travel and Tourism. These were Shri PRS Oberoi for hospitality (his son Shri Vikram Oberoi received the award on his behalf); Shri Naresh Goyal for airlines and Shri Sanjay Reddy for airport infrastructure. Shri Rajeev Sethi was awarded for his contribution in promoting Indian heritage while Shri Deep Kalra was recognized for technology. Shri Jose Dominic was awarded for his contribution to experiential tourism and Shri Zubin Karkaria for improving Ease in Travel. BITB honoured and remembered two Iconic Indians for their support to ITB over the years, the late Capt Krishna Nair and Shri Ram Kohli.
Tourism Conclave & Bazaar
Make in India in Tourism by IATO, Supported by DIPP, Ministry of Commerce
Hospitality by HVS
Airlines+Airports by CAPA India
Fast Track Program by Phocuswright
Incentive TraveL+MICE by SITE
UNIQUELY Indian by INTACH
Anchor: IATO Supported by DIPP, Ministry of Commerce
Anchor: CAPA India
COMING TOGETHER OF SENIOR INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP
6 Power Conclaves brought some of the best minds in the business. For a first time, these were anchored by six leading associations and leaders in their respective verticals.
The Make in India Conclave, another first time for the industry, was supported by DIPP, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and featured the keynote address by Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog. Others who spoke included Shri V K Duggal, former Governor, Manipur who moderated the session and Shri Atul Chuturvedi, JS, DIPP, Government of India. The Make in India Conclave was anchored by IATO, and the session was anchored by Shri Subhash Goyal, immediate past president, IATO.
Among other leaders were Shri Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India; Shri Kapil Chopra, President, Oberoi Hotels; Shri Rajeev Menon, COO-Asia Pacific for Marriott Hotels; Ms. Jaya Jaitley of Dastkari Haat; Shri Lakshyaraj of Udaipur; Mr. Tony D’Astolfo, Research Analyst, Phocuswright Inc.; Shri Kapil Kaul, CEO, South Asia, CAPA India; Shri Manav Thadani, Chairman, HVS and others dominated the senior discussion groups.
India Tourism Summit
India Tourism Summit Awards
24th March 2017. New Delhi
BITB India Tourism Summit awards never before acknowledged tourism stakeholders for their impact on the industry; FabIndia, Maruti, Haldiram and DLF Malls. A number of firsts were achieved, true to the innovative spirit of its organizers.
India Tourism Summit Gallery
BRINGING FORWARD NEW IDEAS AND A NEW SET OF SPEAKERS
A number of firsts were achieved, true to the innovative spirit of its organizers. New speakers and new ideas came from the country’s mainstream policy makers, as they found time to share their vision of tourism and how it can be driven forward in sync with our country’s economic and social rejuvenation.