Condé Nast Traveller India: The big winners from India’s glam travel event

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Condé Nast Traveller India: The big winners from India’s glam travel eventCondé Nast Traveller India Readers Awards (RTA) took place at Andaz Delhi, Aerocity, New Delhi, on 27th November 2017 with invitees comprising industry leaders, influencers, and marquee names from travel, tourism, and government bodies.
Hosted by Huma Qureshi, the property also recognized the efforts of those who work towards bringing pride to India. The evening began with the Lifetime Achievement Award being conferred upon Padma Shri Laila (pictured below with politician Sheila Dixit), , chairperson and founding member of Dastkar, an NGO working with crafts and crafts people across India. Tyabji was lauded for her work with artisans over the last 39 years to preserve and popularize Indian crafts globally.

Mallika Ahluwalia (pictured below), CEO of the Partition Museum in Amritsar, was felicitated by FabIndia’s William Bissell, for her contribution to preserving India’s history. The Condé Nast Traveller and Forest Essentials Excellence Award went to designer Anavila Misra for championing the cause of the quintessential Indian sari and sustainable fabrics through her work. Eminent danseuse and Padma Shri Shovana Narayan presented the award to Anavila.
Rohan Murty, founder of the Murty Classical Library of India, was recognised for his efforts to preserve ancient Indian languages. Renowned economist, civil servant, and Padma Vibhushan Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia with Padma Bhushan Dr. Isher Ahluwalia presented the award to Murty.

Noted Indian designer, art curator, and Padma Bhushan Rajeev Sethi awarded actor and activist Rahul Bose (above) with the Condé Nast Traveller and Volkswagen Passat Excellence Award, for his social activism and for using film to put the spotlight on the story of Poorna Malavath, the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest.
The Readers’ Travel Awards are chosen through a readers’ voting process spanning two months, without any nominations for the award categories. Considered indicative of what discerning travellers really want and enjoy, RTA recognized the best in the travel and hospitality industry across hotels, destinations, airlines, spas, websites, apps, cruise lines, and more.

This year’s RTA showcased some interesting results: Meghalaya and Gujarat are high up on the evolved Indian traveller’s wish list, while Goa remains the favourite for leisure. Internationally, they are most keen to visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives. On airlines, it seems even affluent travellers put a premium on punctuality—low-cost airline Indigo emerged the winner again. Etihad Airways bagged the title of Favourite International Airline for the second time in a row.
Boutique hotels like Khyber Gulmarg Resort & Spa and SUJAN Rajmahal in Jaipur were also honoured, along with iconic properties such as the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai and The Oberoi, Gurgaon. Brand new hotels like the Andaz Delhi, W Goa and Soneva Jani in the Maldives were recognised by the voters, proving that while luxury is important to our readers, they also appreciate unique, offbeat hospitality. In terms of food, Delhi emerged as the clear winner, with Bukhara and The China Kitchen at the top of the list again.

Ms. Divia Thani, Editor, Condé Nast Traveller India said, “The Condé Nast Traveller audience forms India’s most discerning travellers. They are way ahead of the curve when it comes to their tastes in travel—they set the trends; they don’t follow them. We have seen their participation and enthusiasm for the CNT Readers’ Travel Awards grow every single year.
This is why the CNT RTA are referred to as the Oscars of Travel. The turnout is—as usual—fantastic: the crème de la crème of India’s travel, hospitality and tourism industry come out for this night, and we are delighted to have the chance to bring such influential people together each year.
She added, “The awards are a barometer of what the discerning, affluent Indian traveller looks for and appreciates when he or she travels. It puts into perspective what destinations, hotels, airlines and other travel companies should focus on, helps them understand patterns and determine future trends. It is an honor to announce these results with the winners and the industry at large.”

ONYX Hospitality Group poaches terrific new VP of Operations

Posted by - November 30, 2017

ONYX Hospitality Group poaches terrific new VP of OperationsCraig joins ONYX from Oakwood Asia-Pacific where he held the role of Vice President of Operations, overseeing the Group’s portfolio across the region as well as supporting the opening pipeline. Prior to joining Oakwood, Bond held leadership roles with Pan Pacific Hotels, Mirvac and Saville Hotel Group across Australia and the Oceania regions.
Commenting on his new role, Craig said: “I am excited to be joining ONYX at a time when the group is expanding into new markets and territories; and I look forward to being a part of the company’s growth as we continue our journey towards being the best medium-sized hospitality player in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Based in Bangkok, Hospitality Group has a growing regional portfolio of 44 operating properties across three core brands in eight countries. The Group has a robust development pipeline of 22 new properties in markets such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia, and has set a target of having 99 hotels by 2024 as part of its journey towards being the best medium-sized hospitality player in the region.

Top of the class: Sands China’s quest for leaders

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Top of the class: Sands China’s quest for leadersSands China Ltd. celebrated its first group of team members to graduate from the innovative Sands China International Strategic Leadership Programme for Integrated Resorts with a Nov. 17 ceremony at Sands Cotai Central.
Aimed at developing leaders in integrated resort management, the first-of-its-kind Sands China International Strategic Leadership Programme for Integrated Resorts sent its initial group of local management team members around the world to receive leadership development from three prestigious universities on three continents over the course of five months, taking advantage of the unique areas of industry expertise of each educational institution – the Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics in Lisbon, Portugal; Cornell School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, New York, USA; and the University of St. Joseph in Macao.

“We are very proud of these team members for being the first to successfully finish this pioneering professional development initiative from our company,” said Dr. Wilfred Wong (main picture), president of Sands China Ltd. “Investing in our team members and in local Macao talent remains a top priority for Sands China, and we are pleased to work with these three distinguished institutions of higher learning to provide a trailblazing programme of leadership development for our team members. We congratulate them all on their success.”
Offering international horizons for 25 potential future leaders, the Sands China International Strategic Leadership Programme for Integrated Resorts includes a business challenge — a practical component of the coursework for which participants are asked to analyse a specific, real-world business challenge faced by the company and develop a set of recommendations to deal with it. The task culminated with a presentation of the participants’ ideas to Sands China senior executives before the graduation ceremony.

The customised programme is the latest initiative of the Sands China Academy, and was specially designed in conjunction with Católica Lisbon, Cornell University and the University of St. Joseph in order to develop local leaders in integrated resort management.

Le Bokor Palace​​​​​: rebirth of a colonial classic

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Le Bokor Palace​​​​​: rebirth of a colonial classicLe Bokor Palace​​​​​ is a vintage abandoned hotel perches on the top of Bokor Mountain, it has been well known since the French colonial and used to be a luxurious hotel in Mekong Sub-Region.Le Bokor palace is a historical building sitting on top of Bokor Mountain at 1,075 meters above the sea level surrounded by clouds scatter across the lush green forest.
The building was built by the French during the French colonial in 1924 and was inaugurated on 14 February 1925 as one of the finest hotels in Asia. The luxury hotel was abandoned in late 1940s during the Indochina war.

On 6 January 1962, king Norodom Sihanouk officially re-opened the luxury hotel with an additional of casino, after a period of renovations work done. The hotel served members of high-ranking officials, governments and wealthy business people. Le Bokor Palace was king Norodom Sihanouk’s favorite retreat vacation; he used to escape the heat especially during Khmer New Year where temperatures set to peak at 40 degrees. The weather on top of Bokor Mountain ranges between 17-24 degrees for whole year round. Sadly, the hotel was once again abandoned during the Khmer Rouge during 17 April 1975.
Today, Le Bokor Palace is developed by Sokimex Investment Group under Sokha Co, Ltd. “Le Bokor Palace is a historic hotel and our country’s treasure, our company will renovate the building whilst keeping its original features as well as maintaining the original name. The hotel features 36 rooms and suites and 2 restaurants. Interior designs including imported tiles from Spain and Italian bathroom equipment trying to reserve the historical French colonial designs.” commented Mr Bun Meng, acting general manager of Thansur Bokor Highland Resort.
Le Bokor Palace is planned to be ready to serve distinguished guests 1st quarter 2018.

The future? InterContinental enters franchise agreement with HK CTS Hotels

Posted by - November 30, 2017

The future? InterContinental enters franchise agreement with HK CTS HotelsHK CTS Hotels has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group at Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido, pursuant to which they would jointly operate InterContinental’s up-scale brand – Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and mid-scale brand – Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Resort on a franchising basis in the Greater China region. It has blazed a trail for a Chinese-funded hotels group to operate and manage the mid and up-scale brands of an international hotels group in Mainland China.
With the long-standing presence of the international hotels group in China, owners of domestic hotels are also expecting third-party management by partnering with international hotel brands, in order to lower operating cost and enhance operating profits. As a result, third party management companies independent from hotel and brand owners emerged. Due to concerns about the management capability of the domestic team, international hotel brand owners are unwilling to grant the right of operation to other companies, especially up-scale brands.

Mr. Chen Rong (main picture), the general manager assistant of China National Travel Service Group Corporation and the chairman of HK CTS Hotels Co., Ltd., said “From Beijing Lido Commercial Center founded in 1984 till the establishment of Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido in 2014, China National Travel Service Group Corporation and InterContinental have forged a solid foundation for time-honored cooperation.
The strategic partnership with InterContinental based on third party franchising management in the hospitality sector is an extension of our cooperation, and further leverages on the strengths in integrating resources, management and brands competiveness, thus jointly expanding the Chinese market and rendering diverse offerings for hotel owners.”

Jolyon Bulley, CEO of IHG Greater China, remarked: “This is InterContinental Hotels Group’s first time to authorized its franchise in China to HK CTS Hotels Co., Ltd., which demonstrates HK CTS Hotels Co., Ltd. possessed the international management capability to deliver more value for hotel owners.”
Upon execution of this agreement, HK CTS Hotels Co., Ltd. and InterContinental Hotels Group will also jointly promote this new franchising and third-party management model to hotel owners. This model is expected to be adopted by 20 up-scale and mid-scale hotels by 2020.

Funway launches Xmas offers brochure

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Funway launches Xmas offers brochureFunway Holidays has released its Offers Unwrapped, December 2017 mini brochure, including holiday savings of up to 55% on both its USA and Caribbean product.
Included in the 8-page, A5 mini brochure, are Winter 2018-19 Caribbean flights that are available to book now, with focus on Antigua, Tobago, St. Lucia and Barbados.
Departures are from 8 November 2018 to 27 March 2019.
A sample lead-in price:
Seven nights in Barbados staying at the 2.5-star Halycon Palm Hotel (room costs from £869 per person including return flights from London Gatwick with Thomas Cook Airlines.
Travel is based on two adults sharing departing ‪12 January 2019 (booking must be made before 31 December 2017.)
Sam Robinson, marketing manager, Funway Holidays, said: “We are delighted to launch another offers brochure, We have focused on the best tactical airfares and best hotel offers around. Our prices are the best on the market combined with our low price £99 per person holiday deposit, travel agents can book their clients holidays with us in confidence they are getting the best deals around.”

Social media first for Antigua & Barbuda

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Social media first for Antigua & BarbudaThe Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority has invited social media managers of UK tour operators to experience the island on a fam trip, rather than product mangers.
The strategy was implemented as a quick way to reach a mass market across several powerful channels and to showcase that the island is back to business as usual, following the news of Hurricane Irma earlier this year.
The trip was joined by Antigua’s tour operator partners all staying at host hotel Carlisle Bay including Elegant Resorts, ITC, Kenwood, Tropical Sky, Holiday Place, Blue Bay, Turquoise Holidays, and Virgin Holidays.
The group experienced some of the most Instagrammable corners of Antigua on a specifically visual three-day itinerary which included hot spots such as Stingray City, Ffryes Beach and activities like sunrise Pilates and sunset cocktails.
The trip involved a three-pronged social media strategy with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being utilised by the attending tour operators before, during and after the trip.
A new and creative way to market the Caribbean destination, the attendees used Facebook Live Sessions, Instagram posts, and Twitter takeovers as well as blog posts and Q&A sessions post-visit to reach their followings of clients, agents, and travel lovers.
Virgin Holidays has accumulated 40 Instagram stories with a total of 25,631 views and 13 image posts which reached a total audience of 180,821.
Henry Charles Fernandez, the Minister of Tourism, Foreign Affairs and Immigration said of the new strategy:
“The way travel is absorbed is constantly changing and we are always looking at original ways to keep up with travel trends and engage with the trade through different platforms. Following the passage of Hurricane Irma, it’s important to show that Antigua is well and truly open for business and social media is a powerful medium in which to share this message.”

Prestige Holidays expands Croatia offering

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Prestige Holidays expands Croatia offeringPrestige Holidays has expanded its Croatia offering with more breaks on the Zadar Riviera and the addition of the island of Vis.
Closed to visitors for many years, Vis is set to rise in popularity when Mamma Mia the Sequel, which was filmed there, is released next summer.
New on the island of Brac is the traditional fishing village of Sutivan and the island’s first ever five-star property, the 35 room Hotel Lemongarden.
In Trogir, close to Split, the operator has added adults only property, Hotel Ola.
In Dubrovnik is a King’s Landing City Break inspired by the Game of Thrones and the family-friendly all-inclusive property Valamar Club Dubrovnik.
Croatia breaks starts from £323 per person staying in a studio at the Park Plaza Verudela Apartments. Based on a 25 April departure from London Stansted flying with Ryanair to Pula with room only accommodation and shared transfers.
The addition of the little-known resorts of the Zadar Riveria are located in the North of the Dalmatia region.
The flight time is less than 2.5 hours with flights to Zadar from three London airports (Luton, Stansted, and London Southend) as well as regional departures from Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Dublin.
Prestige has also launched a Game of Thrones inspired city break featuring visits to key locations featured in the cult TV series.
A three-night stay in four-star B&B accommodation starts from £887 per person with return flights from London, transfers, two days of organised sightseeing, entrance fees to City Walls, Lokrum Island Nature Reserve, Cable Car and Trsteno Botanical Garden.

Earn extra T2 rewards on Dubai bookings

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Earn extra T2 rewards on Dubai bookingsTravel 2 is giving agents £5 in T2 Rewards for every new adult ticket booked to Dubai Parks and Resorts until the end of 2017.
Children go free with every adult One Park, One Day ticket booked.
To earn the extra £5 in T2 Rewards, agents need to make a new package booking with the operator before 31 December 2017.
Bookings must include return flights, a minimum of three nights’ ground arrangements and a minimum of one adult ticket to Dubai Parks and Resorts.
The Kids Go Free offer, gives one child a free ticket with every full paying adult, valid on qualifying package bookings made before 31 December 2017.

Ctrip and Hungarian Tourism Agency Sign Strategic Partnership Agreement

Posted by - November 30, 2017

Ctrip and Hungarian Tourism Agency Sign Strategic Partnership AgreementOn November 28, Chinese Premier Li Ke Qiang and his counterpart Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Viktor oversaw the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between Ctrip and the Hungarian Tourism Agency. Mr. Victor Tseng, vice president of Ctrip’s Corporate Affairs signed the agreement alongside the CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, Mr. Zoltan Guller.
This signed agreement between Ctrip and the Hungarian Tourism Agency is another milestone in both the development of tourism and trade between China and Hungary and the long-term cooperation between China and the CEEC. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Hungary to attend the 6th China-CEEC Summit and to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the 16+1 cooperation. Hungary was the first European country to sign a MOU relating to China’s “One Belt, One Road” Initiative. Chinese Premier Li Ke Qiang and Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Viktor overseeing the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement between Ctrip and the Hungarian Tourism Agency.

Eastern Europe and Hungary are rapidly becoming popular destination hotspots for Chinese travelers. According to Ctrip’s November Statistics, Hungary enjoyed a 40 percent hike in growth year on year from visits made by Chinese tourists. They spent an average of more than 9000 RMB per person in-country. Ctrip’s 2017 October Golden Week Travel Report noted a 95 percent increase in visits to Hungary year on year.
Ctrip’s vice president of Corporate Affairs , Victor Tseng said, “Chinese travellers are increasingly discovering Hungary as a top-tier vacation destination. We look forward to working closely with the Hungarian Tourism Agency to continue to promote Hungary through Ctrip’s leading online travel platform.” Mr Tseng noted that the rapid growth of Chinese tourism presents broad prospects for development, and under the framework of the “OBOR’ Initiatives and the “16+1 Cooperation”, Ctrip continues to strengthen cooperation with all CEEC partners.
(Photographer: Balàzs Szecsődi)