Unpacking traveller needs made easy with Unified Inbox

Posted by - January 31, 2018

Unpacking traveller needs made easy with Unified InboxOne of the innovations leading development in the travel business sector is the Internet of Things (IoT), the foremost application of which is best known for powering the hotel rooms of the future. The other is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is popular for real-time instant messaging with customers.
Both come together through Unified Inbox (UIB), which enables people to talk with all of their smart devices through a single integrated API. The tech startup behind it, formally called Unified Inbox GmbH, earned its name by combining tasks, contact details and conversations across multiple communication channels — including voicemail, email, texts, social media, messaging and chat apps, and push notifications — into a single inbox as a means to minimise information overload.
Soon the startup’s interests covered solving the problems of app and tech overload, interoperability, security and convenience in powering electronics by adding AI and IoT to the unified inbox with no further need of a voice-activated speaker or other external hardware.
UIB’s proprietary UnificationEngine™ (UE) platform guarantees secure Unified Communications both on-premise and as a Service (UCaaS) in the cloud, as well as ease of contact with the assurance that reaching out to chatbots and smart appliances is as easy as talking to friends.
To better understand how UIB and UE work, I tried the demo hosted on http://demo.unifiedinbox.com. It’s very straightforward: after keying in your email address (and in some cases activating the capability with a QR code or SMS), your smartphone’s messaging app (in my case, Telegram) connects to the airport camera to see when the next airport train is arriving or count how many people are lined up at customs clearance. The “home” simulation also allowed me to switch the TV on and off, heat up water for tea (but it seems the Unified Inbox folks are coffee lovers, given their live demo videos), and even call emergency services when the “person” inside was sick.
In real life, UIB and UE have enabled travellers to WeChat the airport taxi queue to see which line is shortest, and to WhatsApp their room service order even when they are actually not in their rooms yet due to traffic jams.
Unified Inbox-UnificationEngine demo interfaceBoasting at least 14 patent families, Unified Inbox has caught the attention of accelerator programmes, business leaders and award-giving bodies. One of them is the Dubai leg of the 2017 Marriott TestBED programme (an honour it shares with fellow IoT-AI player Twistar), where Marriott International has been keen to use UIB’s travel tech to own their guests’ data in anticipating and meeting guests’ needs.
“We are enhancing guests’ in-room experience by allowing them to control the Philips Hue lights in their rooms with WhatsApp text and voice messages,” shared CEO and founder Toby Ruckert about the team’s work in the TestBED programme.
“There are other projects still in alpha testing mode which allow guests to operate heating, air conditioning, blinds, television, coffee machine, printer and many more facilities as a fully integrated solution using text and voice messaging from their preferred chat app.”
The young company is scaling up, keenly meeting with more clients in the travel, tourism, and hospitality space across its Asia Pacific headquarters into the Middle East and Europe. Ruckert added, “UIB is always open for possible investments from the right strategic investors who can help us be better, bigger and faster.”
In order to reach more travellers, it has not only expanded its scope from WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and Google+ to include popular Asian apps like Xing, Weibo, WeChat, KakaoTalk and LINE, but it is now offered in more languages as well.
Unified Inbox CEO and founder Toby RuckertIt was also recently invited to join the Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC), which aims to ignite global IoT marketplace growth by promoting adoption of IoT products and services, strategic partnerships, and marketplace knowledge sharing.
While partnering with Europe-based global manufacturing brands, it recently managed to transform its Winterbach, Germany workspace into a connected office and smart technologies executive briefing centre.
Germany-born Ruckert shared that the new centre features integrated showcases of IoT-AI technology, product displays of smart home and smart city applications, and Industry 4.0 strategies for digital transformation of enterprises, bringing http://demo.unifiedinbox.com to tangible life. Unified Inbox will soon open the centre through an Innovation Day event, befitting its location in Germany’s equivalent to Silicon Valley.
This is part of a new series featuring IoT in travel tech. Look out for an interview with Unified Inbox founder and CEO Toby Ruckert as well as for more IoT travel tech players in this space.

Research reveals where young Brits will be travelling, before Brexit

Posted by - January 31, 2018

Research reveals where young Brits will be travelling, before BrexitContiki surveyed nearly 3,000 18-35 year olds globally as part of its The Power of Travel study and the research uncovered the travel hotspots trending for 2018.
Young Brits seem interested in visiting Europe this year, before Brexit plans take full effect. Spain was revealed as the number one destination, and half of the top 10 countries to visit in 2018 were neighbouring European countries.
Spain, France, Italy, Belgium and Greece all made it into the UK’s top 10, indicating that young travellers are keen to make the most of Britain’s current EU status before leaving the union.
The Top 10 Destinations for 2018 Travel:

1. Spain
Many Spanish locations have played host to the cast of Game of Thrones for recent seasons – Seville became Dorne and a Catalonian castle was viewers’ first sighting of Samwell Tarly’s ancestral home. Game of Thrones fans will find plenty of set-jetting opportunities across Europe, but especially in Spain where they can marry sightseeing with sampling some of the country’s dishes, and exploring the country’s cities.
2. United States
Despite all the talk of a ‘Trump Slump’, the United States remains on the top of must-visit lists for young travellers in 2018. Contiki’s research found that found 63% of millennials believe that travel shaped their perspective on global politics – helping broaden horizons and open minds, an important experience given the current political climate.
3. France
The French capital can’t take all the glory – the chateaux, wine and beachside towns are also popular for visitors.
4. Australia
Contiki found that their travellers are more willing to travel further afield, and Australia’s natural wonders are a pay off from the 24-hour flight, with beaches, wilderness, coral reefs and jungles on offer.
5. Italy
Ancient history, food, metropolitan cities, colourful harbours and plenty of beaches. As the Euro’s value against the Pound continues, young Brits can get more for their money and explore some of Italy’s cities at great value.
6. Germany
City breaks continued to be a favoured holiday-type for travellers in 2017 with over half of Brits having taken one in the last year. Germany’s cities and Christmas Markets trips are popular and Oktoberfest celebrations, are one of Contiki’s best-selling trips in the country.
7. Canada
Fresh from their 150th birthday celebrations, 2018 is a good time to explore Canada. Its National Parks are the perfect playground for those looking for more than just an Insta opportunity.
8. Caribbean Islands
Millennial travellers are keen and willing to support the Caribbean Islands with their business after the region was hit by three hurricanes at the end of last year – the islands are recovering quickly and are actively courting visitors back to their shores.
9. Belgium
Young Brits are going to Belgium in search of culture beyond cuisine, and with almost 90 museums, parks, medieval cities (Bruges) and architecture, Belgium marries the old and the new dnd is an ideal short-haul destination.
10. Greece
Greece still proves good value for money whether travellers head to the mainland or the country’s islands. Pinterest recently reported a 96% increase in saves for Mykonos.

The Global Travel Group to hold conference in Florida

Posted by - January 31, 2018

The Global Travel Group to hold conference in FloridaThe Global Travel Group has revealed its annual conference will be in Florida this year; the first time the travel consortium has chosen North America for its event.
It will take place from Sunday 25 to Thursday 29 November 2018, with more than 250 member and supplier partners at the Universal Orlando Resort.
Attendees will be based at the attraction’s newest property, the Caribbean-inspired Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, with conference sessions held onsite.
The Global Travel Group has used member feedback to shape all elements of the four-night conference, from the venue to the schedule.
The group will also be keeping the celebrations going throughout the year in the run up to the November event with a series of FAM trips, VIP events and other rewards to celebrate their 25th anniversary.
Andy Stark MD The Global Travel GroupAndy Stark, managing director, The Global Travel Group said:
“We know that Universal Orlando Resort is high up on the bucket-list for a lot of our members so, as we turn 25, we were determined to make this an extra special year for everyone involved.
“We are confident that holding our conference later in the year will help arm our agents with tools and inspiration ahead of the crucial turn of year period.
“Watch this space for further details, the countdown to our most exciting conference to date is now on.”
For further conference details, agents should visit: www.theglobalconference.co.uk .

VisitBritain/VisitEngland details travel and spending behaviour of business events delegates

Posted by - January 31, 2018

VisitBritain/VisitEngland details travel and spending behaviour of business events delegatesBusiness delegates are likely to double their spend in Britain if they extend their stay for leisure following their event, according to research by tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland.
The Business Events Research; Delegate Spend and Trip Extensions report, found that business delegates attending an event in Britain who extended their trip for leisure purposes would, on average, spend double the amount of money (£1942) than if they travelled home immediately after the event (£991).
It also found the destination of the event was not a major factor in the delegates’ decision to extend their trip for leisure; the practicalities of flight timings, ease of travel and accommodation were considered more important.
VisitBritain/VisitEngland Head of Business Events Kerrin MacPhie said:
“Britain’s business events sector is going from strength to strength, and this research provides real insight into delegate booking behaviour when attending an event. It also highlights key areas where British destinations can support organisers in the early stages of event promotion, including ease of travel and reasons to stay pre- and post-event.
“Britain is an attractive destination for planners and delegates alike, from our infrastructure and accessibility, to our ease of access and diverse destination offer, Britain is a great place to hold global events.”
The research measured two aspects of business event travel; the amount spent by delegates at business events in Britain, and the behaviour of those delegates extending trips for leisure.
It found that international delegates stay longer, on average 3.7 nights, when compared to domestic delegates, who stay an average of one night.
International delegates attending events were also found to spend more, in part because registration fees for these events were higher. Overseas delegates from outside the EU spent more (£1748) than those overseas delegates from within the EU (£990), and domestic delegates (£329).
The research was commissioned and completed by VisitBritain/VisitEngland, with funding from the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign and the government-funded Discover England Fund.
VisitBritain promotes business events worldwide, under the Events are GREAT brand, part of the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign.

Preferred Hotels celebrates 50 years with Golden Anniversary campaign

Posted by - January 31, 2018

Preferred Hotels celebrates 50 years with Golden Anniversary campaignPreferred brand is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. Over the years, it has evolved to become Preferred Hotels & Resorts with more than 650 hotels, resorts, and residences across 85 countries.
To commemorate this milestone, the company has launched a year-long Golden Anniversary campaign that invites travellers to explore its portfolio of independent hotels through a series of consumer-driven initiatives.
Among the activities are a video series; a new social media campaign, #PreferredCelebrates50; a Golden Anniversary package; multiple booking incentives; and a dedicated Golden Anniversary microsite that will serve as the hub of all related activity throughout the year.
“The story of the Preferred brand has been one of incredible success, growth, innovation, and perseverance, and stands as a true testament to the strong value the global travel community places on the truly independent hotel experience,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, chief executive officer, Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
“United by a deep passion for hospitality, our global network of associates and hoteliers continues to embrace authentic travel as an important and essential part of life. We are so excited to celebrate this momentous occasion with travel enthusiasts worldwide through our Golden Anniversary Campaign, which honours our strong heritage while highlighting the opportunities for discovery and evolution that lie ahead.”
Inspiring Travel for 50 Years – Video Series
For the first time, Preferred Hotels & Resorts is launching a consumer video series, entitled Inspiring Travel for 50 Years, to honour the official theme of its Golden Anniversary.
Each month, up to two vignettes will be released via digital and social media channels, with every video showcasing the rich meaning of #ThePreferredLife.
The first video in the series launched today featuring one man’s experience at Cavallo Point in San Francisco.

Golden Anniversary Package
Throughout 2018, guests can take advantage of the brand’s Golden Anniversary package, which rewards travellers with the best available rate plus a £50/$50/€50 hotel credit or a 50-minute activity at more than 200 participating hotels around the world.
Participating hotels offering the $50 on-property credit range from The Alpina Gstaad in Switzerland and Cape Royale Luxury Hotel & Residence in Cape Town to Katamama in Bali and The Broadmoor in Colorado. Hotels extending a 50-minute themed experience for this package include The Franklin London, offering a Champagne Sabering and Tasting class; Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, inviting guests to partake in two cultural activities such as a Japanese language lesson and a tour of the hotel’s gardens; Nassima Royal Hotel in Dubai, pampering guests with a couples massage; and Galeria Plaza Reforma in Mexico City, allowing guests to test their hand at authentic Mexican cuisine during a cooking lesson at its signature restaurant, Almara.
50,000 Bonus Points Promotion
To complement the Golden Anniversary Package, Preferred Hotels & Resorts has launched a month-long Golden Points Promotion to further reward members of its I Prefer℠ Hotel Rewards programme. This value-add incentive gifts I Prefer Members with 50,000 I Prefer bonus points when they book a minimum two-night stay via PreferredHotels.com by 28 February 2018. The bonus points can be redeemed for Reward Certificates, which can be used like cash towards free room nights and other on-property expenditures at more than 600 participating hotels around the globe.
#PreferredCelebrates50
Past and present guests are invited to join #ThePreferredLife social community by sharing photos and memories gathered during any stay at a Preferred Hotels & Resorts property and tagging them with #PreferredCelebrates50. Select user photos will be shared on the brand’s @PreferredHotels social media channels, as well as on the newly launched Golden Anniversary microsite (PreferredHotels.com/PreferredCelebrates50).

Muji debuts first hotel, brings ultra-minimalist hospitality to China

Posted by - January 31, 2018

NEUTRAL textiles, pale wood furniture, clean lines and functional designs – it’s a minimalist’s dream come true.
Japanese retailer Muji, known for its minimalist home goods and clothing lines, has debuted its first branded hotel in the bustling port city of Shenzen, China, as part of the brand’s expansion plan into the hotel business and its first foray into hospitality.
MUJI HOTEL SHENZHEN Grand Opening Tomorrow. – MUJI HOTEL SHENZHEN(深セン)、明日オープンします。 – #muji #無印良品 #無印 #MUJI_HOTEL #travel #China #中華人民共和国 #trip #旅行 #深圳 #shenzhen
A post shared by MUJI無印良品 (@muji_global) on Jan 16, 2018 at 6:33pm PST
“Muji Hotel in Shenzhen is developed around a Muji concept – walk as much as you can, wherever you can; eat well; sleep well; stay fit,” the retailer said in a press release.
Designed around the premise of wellness and combining no-frills with casual, the multi-use complex houses 79 rooms kitted out with repurposed traditional Chinese walls and pillars, whilst keeping its signature minimalist vibe. Each room is furnished with Muji products including its signature wall-mounted CD player, tea sets, and bedding.
Source: Muji
Guests can also borrow a Muji aroma diffuser – one of their star products – from the reception desk. Muji Chairman Satoru Matsuzaki said guests are even encouraged to bring the slippers home as they are not one-time-use products.
Other features include a Muji Diner restaurant where guests can enjoy local food inspired by home cooking, a library called Muji Books with around 650 selected volumes, a gym, and three spacious meeting rooms.
And of course, no Muji hotel would be complete without a store.
Source: Muji
Shenzhen’s Muji Hotel also boasts one of the biggest Muji stores in China, which covers an impressive 1,726 square meters on the second and third floors. As one would imagine, the store sells all things aesthetically pleasing to minimalists, from travel essentials to everyday products including furniture, storage items, food, clothing, and cosmetics and skincare.
It goes without saying that Muji is taking the try-before-you-buy model to another level, inviting guests to spend the night with its products and have a complete Muji experience before hitting up the store to buy whatever they like. It’s a subtle but smart strategy to market their products to both loyal and new consumers.
Source: MUJI.
Rates per night range at Muji Hotel Shenzhen from CNY950 (US$150) to CNY2,500 (US$396) accordingly. According to Jing Travel, Muji maintained that the price will remain the same in different seasons as “the services will be unchanged all across the year”.
Two more Muji hotels are slated to open in the near future: Muji Hotel Beijing this March and Muji Hotel Ginza, Tokyo in 2019.
The post Muji debuts first hotel, brings ultra-minimalist hospitality to China appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

Leisure travel among Indians poised to rise with budget flights to Europe, US

Posted by - January 31, 2018

LARGE budget airlines from India like IndiGo and SpiceJet Ltd are drawing up plans for long-haul flights as far as Europe and the United States, boosting outbound leisure travel for the country.
An analysis by aviation consultant CAPA India and online travel agent Expedia Inc released on Wednesday says the launch of low-cost, long-haul flights by the country’s airlines will open a multi-billion dollar opportunity for the carriers.
The carriers have so far focused on shorter-range destinations such as Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Only 0.3 percent of Indians currently travel abroad for a holiday every year, a fraction of the estimated 100 million who could potentially afford to do so, CAPA’s analysis of household income shows. Most Indians travel for education, business or to visit friends and relatives.
#MUMBAI
Hilltop slum in Mumbai transformed by colorful makeover Tourism spending by Indians could rise to as much as US$40 billion by 2027 from about US$16.4 billion in 2016, CAPA said, ranking it sixth in the world ahead of Canada, South Korea and Australia.
CAPA India CEO Kapil Kaul said at an aviation conference in Mumbai on Tuesday, citing its geographic location and a large order pipeline for new long-range narrowbody jets.
SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh said on Tuesday low-cost long-haul flights will be introduced as early as this winter.
An IndiGo Airlines aircraft prepares to land as a man paddles his cycle rickshaw in Ahmedabad, India. Source: Amit Dave/Reuters
IndiGo is exploring long-haul operations and seeking rights to routes, parent InterGlobe Aviation Ltd told analysts last week.
According to Ch-Aviation, IndiGo Airlines is looking to enter the market next winter with flights to Europe and the Far East, and has sought regulatory approval to start service from Delhi Int’l to each of London, Paris, Madrid Barajas, and Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok using A330 equipment.
The low-cost flights would compete against full-service Indian carriers Air India and Jet Airways as well as global rivals such as Emirates and Lufthansa.
#INDIA
Super Blue Blood Moon: When, where, how to see the lunar treat in India Indian airlines have also placed orders for nearly 800 re-engined aircraft, such as Airbus A320neos and Boeing Co 737 MAX narrowbodies.
The jets, with longer ranges than predecessors, will enable low-cost carriers to launch non-stop routes to Asian destinations such as Phuket, Manila, Hong Kong, and Hanoi that are otherwise unviable today.
By 2025, Indian budget carriers will operate close to 40 wide-bodied aircraft, which could deliver an additional 2 million annual outbound leisure travellers to places such as New York and Sydney, CAPA said.
Additional reporting by Reuters
The post Leisure travel among Indians poised to rise with budget flights to Europe, US appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

VietJet greets youth football team with racy cabin crew

Posted by - January 31, 2018

VIETNAMESE low-cost carrier VietJet has built a reputation for having scantily clad cabin crew on its flights and now the budget airline has raised more eyebrows after its models showed up in racy clothes to greet the country’s under-23 men’s football squad on a flight home.
#RACY CALENDAR
For some, Vietjet’s ‘bikini calendar’ is too hot to handle The team were on a flight home from China after losing to Uzbekistan in the Under-23 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Championship on Saturday (Jan 27) when they were greeted by the bikini-clad air hostesses, drawing ire from netizens on social media over the “cheap” public relations stunt, The Star reported (via the AFP).
Several photographs of the women and the young team emerged on social media, one of which showed an awkward shot of a young man being embraced by one of the sexily-dressed models.
“#VietJet should perhaps focus their efforts on improving their flight delays. They have one of the worst flight timeliness! It’s 90% of the time delayed!!”
“Shame on the owner of Vietjet (who is a lady) for this cheap PR stunt. Now we know how she attracted her husband, by probably sitting on his lap in scantily clad bikini!” a netizen, Jamie Morais, said on Facebook.
Members of VN football team try to hide their embarassment as hired models parade in bikinis on homebound flight from #AFCU23 in China. Vietjet Airlines CEO has issued apology after public outrage, blaming incident on “a few rogue dancers” despite video evidence to the contrary. pic.twitter.com/fge9Ouk4pG
— Saigonese (@VietNamTweeter) January 28, 2018
In another viral post that received more than 1,700 likes and 100 shares, Facebook user Nguyen My Linh said: “VietJet’s move was so rude, cheap, and offensive to the team, the fans and even its passengers.”
Celebrating the national football team, VNA vs VietJet pic.twitter.com/igjoNdXBy9
— Khoi Pham (@koism) January 28, 2018
In December last year, the airline made headlines over its 2018 calendar which featured airline staff clad in bikinis.
#SEXY CABIN CREW
The unwavering rise of Vietnam’s largest private airline The calendar caused an online storm in Vietnam, with some people criticizing and others defending the campaign. The 2018 calendar and a YouTube video of the photo shoot have been viewed more than 910,000 times since first appearing at the end of November.
Critics say VietJet’s risqué marketing, including the calendar and bikini fashion shows on board planes, presented an archaic and sexist image of cabin crew, even as the risk of harassment and assault go widely underreported.
The post VietJet greets youth football team with racy cabin crew appeared first on Travel Wire Asia.

See the edge of the world with Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh

Posted by - January 31, 2018

See the edge of the world with Four Seasons Hotel RiyadhA once-in-a-lifetime adventure awaits in the heart of the Arabian Desert as the new Extraordinary Experience takes guests through Bedouin history and a breath-taking landscape.Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Rising from the depths of the Arabian Desert, a unique adventure awaits guests at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre in the form of Journey to the Edge of the World Extraordinary Experience.
With unprecedented access to Saudi Arabia’s magnificent natural wonder, the Tuwaiq escarpment, the new Extraordinary Experience in the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts collection promises a trip of a lifetime.
In the company of a dedicated Four Seasons team – the excursion begins by making your way to the historic oasis of Ad’Diriyah, once the seat of the Saudi royal family and home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After a captivating trip through the Kingdom’s historic past, narrated by the 15th-century architecture of palaces, forts and mosques across the old city, and a lively exploration through the colourful market centre of Al Bujairy, you will find yourself revelling in the beauty of your ultimate destination – the Edge of the World.
The Edge of the WorldOnce you have had the opportunity to drink in the epic scale of the 700km-long Tuwaiq escarpment from Jebel Fihrayn, the cliff that is known as the Edge of the World, you start to understand the apt nickname for this spectacular vista that is seemingly limitless.
What better way to continue basking in the panoramic views of this majestic location than with a freshly cooked picnic lunch including traditional Saudi dishes. And while you have been taking in the sights, the talented Four Seasons culinary team, led by the Hotel’s Executive Chef Ahmed Fawzy, has been preparing a gourmet spread of traditional cuisine and BBQ dishes – the perfect complement to your Arabian Desert experience.
Revitalised by the hearty spread, you can look forward to spending the afternoon trekking, photographing the dramatic views of the cliffs and the plains below, or taking a nap in the restful shade of your own Bedouin tent – complete with true Four Seasons hospitality. For the most adventurous, this is the ideal moment to take to the skies and enjoy a magnificent view of the expansive landscape from the cockpit of a microlight aircraft.
The day ends as beautifully as it began, amongst the acacia trees in the valley below, where you watch the setting sun as it paints the surrounding scenery with colours of twilight.
Rolf Lippuner, General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre, said, “Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre is delighted to launch this Extraordinary Experience, our ‘Journey to the Edge of The World’, that provides guests a remarkable opportunity to explore the wonder of the Arabian Desert while gaining a richer insight into Saudi heritage…”
In an effort to preserve the beauty of the magnificent location, a dedicated Four Seasons team that is appointed to set up the experience before your arrival, also visits the place after you leave, to ensure the next group of guests find the place just as clean and spotless.
The Journey to the Edge of the World Extraordinary Experience includes transportation in a Cadillac Escalade, a traditional Bedouin tent with fully-equipped washrooms, and Four Seasons BBQ lunch and traditional Saudi cuisine priced at SR 2,200 per person for a minimum of five guests. The experience can be booked between October and April every year.
Optional extras include a microlight aircraft experience for a maximum of 10 people, priced on a full-day basis at SR 8,500, and a family entertainment package that includes archery, mini golf and Ludo Star and is priced at SR 4,500 for a full day.
“At Four Seasons we believe that true hospitality lies in offering our guests a genuine experience of the sights, sounds and scenes of the places where we welcome them; and so it is our privilege to introduce an unmissable journey into the heart of one of Saudi Arabia’s greatest natural treasures.”
Guests booking the Extraordinary Experience can also enjoy a stay at the Hotel in an executive suite with breakfast at a special rate of SR 2,000 per night for two guests. For reservations, please call +966112115888
View from the Kingdom Suite at night

Hilltop slum in Mumbai transformed by colorful makeover

Posted by - January 31, 2018

MUMBAI is home to one of the world’s biggest slums.
But unlike depictions of sadness as despair, as seen in Hollywood blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire, slums can be cheery places with thriving micro-businesses and a true sense of community.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 7, 2017 at 5:02am PST
Yet, of course, there is always room for improvement. That is exactly what the not-for-profit organization, Chal Rang De (Dream. Believe. Paint) has done to a small slum, perched on a hilltop in the eastern suburb of Ghatkopar in Mumbai.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 19, 2017 at 12:22am PST
Armed with a team of 15 artists, 750 volunteers, and 420 liters of yellow, blue, pink, red, black, green, purple, orange and white paint, the organization set out to transform the grey slum into a colorful space over the course of two weekends.
A post shared by . (@whythatway) on Dec 4, 2017 at 8:29pm PST
The new vibrant houses look like an enticing LEGO brick construction from afar and some are even drawing comparisons to Italy’s Positano resort along the Amalfi coast.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 21, 2017 at 6:38am PST
The idea sprung from the inventive mind of Depeepya Reddy, a Harvard-educated creative agency co-founder. She found herself grimacing at the drab appearance of a slum in Asalpha as she stared out the train carriage window and wanted to do something to brighten up the lives of slum residents.
“When you look at slums, you think they are shabby and dirty, and that also becomes a reflection of the people who live there,” Reddy told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 27, 2017 at 10:25pm PST
The artwork splashed over the walls display pictures that symbolize everyday life in the slum. Mischievous cats, whizzing rickshaws, hanging washing, and powerful messages to remind residents and visitors that someone’s home does not define who they are or their future.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 29, 2017 at 7:18am PST
The new splash of color has made residents proud of where they live and as a result, more conscious of littering and making the streets look untidy.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 30, 2017 at 10:59pm PST
According to social consultancy, FSG, around 37 million households in India live in informal housing, also known as slums. This is because house prices in Mumbai continue to rise and constantly push families to the suburbs, away from work opportunities and a good quality of life.
A post shared by Chal Rang De (@chalrangde) on Dec 30, 2017 at 11:01pm PST
Reddy’s vision and Chal Rang De’s determination aim to colorfully transform more slums around Mumbai and across India. As the French painter, Fernand Leger once said, “Man needs color to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.”
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