Archive for the ‘news’ Category

ITB Berlin: Travel technology continues to boom

The eTravel World is attracting more exhibitors than ever – For the first time more than 250 Travel Tech exhibitors in six halls – Lectures, panels and workshops on digital mobility, AI and payment systems – New: HotelCamp – Startup China Panel and a special event on Brexit on Friday, 8 March

Always one step ahead: at ITB Berlin numerous topical themes and informative examples of best practices await visitors to the eTravel World from 6 to 9 March 2019. Visitors interested in travel technology can find out more in the exclusive area featuring new technologies, digital marketing and social media, the eTravel World in Halls 6.1, 7.1b and 7.1. Companies representing global distribution systems (GDS), tour operator databases, reservation systems, payment systems, travel agency software and calculation programmes will also be displaying their products in Halls 5.1, 8.1 and 10.1. The short distances between all these areas means that interested visitors can gain a quick and easy overview of the entire tech industry.

Lectures and workshops at the eTravel Lab and on the eTravel Stage

From Wednesday, 6 March to Saturday, 9 March at over 70 sessions, panels and workshops, first-hand knowledge on trendsetting technological solutions will be available from travel technology experts on the eTravel Stage in Hall 6.1 and at the eTravel Lab in Hall 7.1b. At the eTravel Lab payment system specialists will look at how the trend towards online payment solutions is impacting on destinations, tour operators and the hospitality industry. On 6 March Jörg Möller, managing director of Wirecard, will present his best case study showing how integrating payment systems from China leads to sustained increases in sales. Afterwards, Thomas Gmelch, head of Travel & Mobility Amazon Pay, will show how Amazon is optimising payment procedures to make life more convenient for connected travellers.

On Wednesday, 6 March, on the eTravel Stage, destination management professionals can get an overview of the progress taking place in digitalisation at destinations. Travel tech companies from Spain will report on their experiences and solutions in a highly competitive market, for example. The session entitled ’When tourists are more of a curse than a blessing’ will highlight the issue of over tourism. In that context and based on actual cases, Kristine Honig, a consultant and network partner at Tourismuszukunft, and Andrea Schneider, an independent marketing communications consultant for tourism professionals, will highlight the influence of social media and how regions and companies can deal with this situation. On Friday, 8 March events at the eTravel Lab will focus on social media, storytelling and community. In her lecture on ’Power of community – now more important than ever before’ Sally Davey, global director of Industry Relations at Tripadvisor, will explain how user-generated content can be used to overcome the challenges in developing tourism.

In the hospitality industry, efficient technology is becoming an increasingly decisive factor for establishing successful business models. A number of sessions will highlight solutions, including how chatbot services can overcome language barriers, how revenue management can improve hotel performance, and how hotels should prepare themselves for the digital revolution in the hotel room. On Thursday afternoon, the 2nd ITB Hospitality Tech Forum is a must for all hotel industry decision-makers, where digitalisation and technologies in the hotel industry will be analysed with regard to AI, distribution and payment systems. International specialists will talk about new trends and developments in guest communications, upselling and hotel revenue management strategies.

At various sessions experts will have information on how technical innovations can help to improve marketing systems for tour operators and travel agencies. For example, travel agency staff can find out how AI can be used to recognise customer requests in order to generate more sales. In his lecture on the EU Package Travel Directive, Dennis Zimon, managing director of Passolution, will show that the implementation of the pre-contractual information requirement which has now become a routine part of everyday travel agency and tour operator work also offers numerous opportunities.

Startups from around the world take the stage at ITB Berlin

On Friday, 8 March, the focus of the eTravel Start-up Day will be on up-and-coming tech companies. Investor panels and discussion rounds moderated by industry experts will be combined with brief startup pitches. At group events on the topics of aviation, mobility, hospitality, travel and booking software, more than two dozen startups will be critically judged by experts. At the same time, startups will be invited to present their products which have won competitions both at home and abroad. Furthermore, this year’s edition of the Start-up China Panel will offer an insight into Asia’s Silicon Valley.

New: BarCamp for hotel owners and hotel tech companies

On Saturday, 9 March the BarCamp for hotel managers and hotel tech companies will celebrate its debut in Hall 7.1b. At the workshops participants will be able to choose their own topics, develop solutions and exchange practical knowledge. Attendance at the ITB HotelCamp, which is sponsored by the Hospitality Industry Club, is included in the price of a ticket to ITB.

Brexit: a nail-biter – daily tips and predictions

Brexit is just around the corner. Regardless of the final outcome, upheavals and uncertainty are likely to affect European travel. Thus, on 8 March at 2.30 p.m. at the lab in Hall 7.1b, a special event will take place at the eTravel World at which experts will give their best possible predictions of where the main problems may occur. Under the heading ’Confused by Brexit. Emergency stunts and first aid’, tourist board representatives and travel technology experts will debate the risks of what will happen on 29 March and immediately afterwards. A lively public debate will be welcomed.

From 6 to 9 March in Halls 6.1 and 7.1b the eTravel Lounges sponsored by Travelport and the Hospitality Industry Club will provide free networking areas where visitors can meet and hold talks. More information on the eTravel World can be found at and on the ITB HotelCamp at


Kerala Tourism sets new benchmark with over two million online ambassadors

Setting a new benchmark on social media platforms, the number of followers on official Facebook page of Kerala Tourism has now spiralled to over two million followers, making it numero uno among the portals of any such tourism departments in the country.

One of the first tourism departments in India to have an online presence, the Facebook page, packed with fascinating information, presents to the followers some of the most engaging visual treats of Kerala’s landscape.

Innovative tourism products and experiences of Kerala such as ‘Responsible Tourism’ and ‘Village Life Experiences’ form a part of the daily updates of the page.

Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said, “In this techno-savvy age where people are keenly following social media to keep themselves abreast of developments, this achievement has brought recognition for Kerala Tourism not just from other parts of India but also from countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Australia and the UK.”

While appreciating the efforts that led Kerala Tourism to achieve the pole position in terms of Facebook followers, the minister appealed to the followers to help spread the uniqueness of the state as a tourism destination, with just a click on the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons.

It was in August 2014 that @keralatourismofficial had crossed the one million mark.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George said, “Making a brand presence on social media has been part of our efforts to position Kerala firmly as a tourism destination across all segments of the population. Social media has helped us transcend geographies.”

The Kerala Tourism Facebook page played a vital role in communicating to the world that Kerala was tourism-ready after the August 2018 floods through live videos across destinations. Timely and witty responses as in the case of the Aviyal episode makes our Facebook page stand apart, the Secretary added.

Kerala Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran said, “Kerala Tourism page occupies the top slot in a comparison with other tourism pages in the country, ahead of Gujarat Tourism and the Incredible India pages. The FB pages above Kerala like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia are countries whereas we are a small state.”

While Kerala Tourism has 2.4 million plus likes, Gujarat Tourism has 1.3 million plus likes, followed by Incredible India which has 1.2 million plus likes.

When compared with other international tourism pages, the page ranks fourth, slightly trailing behind ‘Amazing Thailand’ page. ‘Tourism Malaysia’ is at the top of the pack with 3.4 million followers; ‘VisitSingapore’ has 3.1 million followers and ‘Amazing Thailand’ 2.5 million. Kerala Tourism, as on date, has 2.4 million plus tourists on board.


“Our page is replete with videos which find greater appeal with the viewers and has some evergreen ones such as the elderly man of 60 years playing football,” the Director added.

Last year, Kerala Tourism had overtaken Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat Tourism’s Facebook pages and secured the first spot in a ranking by Facebook based on total engagement with tourists that included reactions, shares, and comments on the page.

Apart from Facebook, Kerala Tourism has an active presence on Twitter and Instagram. The Department has been successfully conducting the Kerala Blog Express, an offline digital activity for the past five years.


Youth Travel at ITB Berlin: Explore the world, learn languages, find new friends

In Hall 4.1 Youth Travel exhibitors can get information on school trips, language study trips and holiday travel – Youth Incoming Germany (YIG) breathes life into the youth travel market – China’s youth travel market is growing – Focus on sustainability at the ITB open days

The future belongs to youth travel: the New Horizons Report III ( of the WYSE Travel Confederation forecasts a 59 per cent increase in the market over the next ten years, proving that the younger generation travels farther, stays longer and is more interconnected than ever before. From 6 to 10 March at ITB Berlin, trade visitors and the general public can get a comprehensive overview of the latest youth travel services on offer. In Hall 4.1 some 40 exhibitors, including backpacker, budget and designer hotels, youth hostels, internet portals and associations, as well as organisers of language study trips and youth travel will be presenting their products. For the first time Italy, represented by Tuscany, and the newly established Federal Association of School Trip Organisers will be presenting their tailor made programmes for young travellers in the Youth Travel & Economy Accommodation segment at the World’s Largest Travel Trade Show.

Specialist information – from digitalisation to school trips

From 6 to 8 March a wide-ranging programme focusing on digitalisation, the legal aspects of travelling and school trips awaits visitors to the Youth Incoming Germany Lounge (YIG). On Wednesday, this industry event will open with a newcomer. Carsten Herold, a member of the board, will introduce the newly established Federal Association of Leading School Trip Organisers. Afterwards, five companies will present their business models at anInnovation Forum event moderated by the holiday camp organiser Juvigo. Jugendreisen. digital will present new ideas with its all-in-one solution for the digital transformation, and Book a camp will showcase innovative digitalisation products ranging from a reservation system to a complete customer communications programme. With its distribution system, the online reservation system booking kit will highlight a digital infrastructure that networks destinations, travel agencies and sales channels, and supervises them in real time. The Belgian platform KampAdmin will have information on how intelligently automated work processes can help youth camp organisers to save time organising children’s camps. Being ‘offline’ will be the final topic: Camp Breakout is Germany’s first digital detox holiday camp for adults. It will highlight how the market for trips where people converse face-to-face instead of via social media is now developing.

On 7 March, the Thursday of ITB, the National Youth Travel Forum will present the latest regulations on ’Youth travel: liability, legal aspects when travelling, domiciliary rights and data protection’. Afterwards, representatives of the travel network German Youth Travel Organisation and the Association of German Language Study Trips (FDSV) will have information on the latest developments concerning uniform standards for youth travel. EYCard Deutschland GmbH will also demonstrate uses for the European Youth Card. The day’s final topic will be ’bullying’. Helden e.V. will highlight how the socio-psychological effects of anti-bullying training can be put to use on school and youth trips.

On 8 March, the Friday of this year’s ITB, the ’school trip licence’ will once again be a topic. Teachers can get information on various issues to do with school trips: they include legal aspects, safety, travel by coach, as well as teaching away from schools and anti-bullying training. An invitation by Hochschule Bremen to meet and network will round off the day’s events.

China’s youth travel market is growing

As the world’s new driving force in tourism, China has become important for young people. On Thursday, 7 March, on the Center Stage in Hall 4.1 the subject will be the impact of China’s youth travel market on global tourism. Guoxiang Wu, SVP, International & Corporate Relations, China Southern Airlines, Changle Yang, COO, TUJIA Roland Elter, chief commercial officer, Maritim Hotels, Glen Fu, co-founder and CEO, 54traveler, and David Chapman, director general of the World Youth, Student and Education Travel Confederation, will debate this topic. The event will be moderated by Joseph Wang, chief Commercial officer, TravelDaily China. Items discussed will include how, under the influence of technological change, the travel behaviour of China’s millennials has shifted in terms of what inspires them, how they plan and book trips, how new media platforms such as WeChat, user-generated content (UGC) and live video streaming are influencing them, and how travel operators are taking these changing demands into account to develop products and communicate brands.

Workshops touch the nerve of a generation keen on travelling

At numerous workshops the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation and other experts exhibiting at the show will examine today’s youth travel market. David Chapman, director general, WYSE Travel Confederation: “The Youth Travel Hall at ITB Berlin will offer a really cool experience and present the main youth travel trends. The workshops of the WYSE Travel Confederation will provide a breath of fresh air for new ideas – from ultra-modern hostel concepts and youth wellness tours to programming a boot camp for up-and-coming digital nomads. In order to be successful in the travel market you have to understand what young travellers want.“

Fair travel for YOUth on the open weekend for the public

Just like adventure holidays, sustainable travel is becoming more and more important for the younger generation. For the YIG the focus of the weekend will be on sustainable travel for young people and children. Students from Hochschule Bremen will give an entertaining presentation on how people of all ages can travel around Germany with a minimum carbon footprint. For example, they can find out what their actual carbon emissions are whenever they go on holiday. Visitors can also take part in a dancing competition to find out how good they are at partying. After travelling around Germany the participants can look forward to a little surprise.


Building reliable data base of public assets vital: IT Secretary

FOSS Young Professional Meet 2018-19 by ICFOSS kicks off at Kovalam

Noting that creating a comprehensive and reliable data base of public assets and resources is vital in preparing and implementing development plan, state IT Secretary Shri M Sivasankar IAS today said the problems arising from the lack of this was felt during the post-flood relief operations.

Delivering the inaugural address at the FOSS Young Professional Meet 2018-19 (FYPM 2018-19), organised by the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) at  Kovalam here, Shri Sivasankar said some ambitious plans are on the anvil to address this issue effectively.

The two-day meet is meant for initiating efforts to make Kerala emerge as a hub for talents in FOSS and related technologies.

“It’s highly essential that every public infrastructure, which has been created in the state gets mapped, in terms of the type of investment which has been into it, technology included into it and vulnerability of the particular public asset,” Shri Sivasankar said.

“This will help a better approach to planning. Once the data is available on the public domain, then various analysis will start happening from the side of individual researchers, institutions and groups, who will all look into this and will come out with specific analytical framework, and perhaps, successful policy recommendations,” he noted.

On FYPM, he said, “There is a very unstated philosophy lies in FOSS about reporting back its activities to its stakeholders and taking their inputs and moving on. This FYPM is primarily structured around this philosophy of ICFOSS.”

In his address, Dr. Jayasankar Prasad C., Director, ICFOSS, said FYPM is an avenue to reach out to student community.

Dr Rajeev. R.R, Programme Head, ICFOSS, welcomed the gathering. Mr R. Srinivasan, Programme Head, ICFOSS, presented the report of FYPM 2016.  Mr Sampath Kumar, ICFOSS proposed a vote of thanks. The annual event brought together students, fresh graduates, young professionals and startup companies that are interested in FOSS-based tools and technologies with the purpose of acquiring information, skills and competencies.  The lead theme for the meet was “Industry 4.0”, reflecting the importance of FOSS in this domain. Delegates from universities, research and IT industry are attending the event.

Workshops on open source architecture RISC- V and Kutty Pi were held on the opening day. The discussion on “In memory of outdated technologies “ featured technology stacks for “Industry 4.0”, which included Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Machine learning and cutting edge technologies such as RISC V and LoRaWAN.

A panel discussion on “Translating FOSS R&D to Entrepreneurships” will be held on the second day at 3.45 pm. Moderated by Mr Santhosh Kurup from ICT Academy.

ICFOSS has also launched FOSS Contribution Award’ as part of the event to honour students, graduates and young professionals for their contributions made to FOSS community.


ASCEND 2019: "Invest Kerala Guide" to throw light on State's potential

CM PinarayiVijayan released the ready reckoner at the opening session – The Invest Kerala Guide”,which was released by Chief Minister ShriPinarayiVijayan at the inaugural session of  the big ticket one-day conclave ASCEND KERALA 2019here on Monday, will be a ready reckoner on the immense business opportunities in the state and simplified procedures and protocol in making investment.

The document will also highlight the landmark legislations initiated by the Government to transform the state into a vibrant investment-friendly destination, where entrepreneurs can set up businesses in a speedy and hassle-free manner with minimum of bureaucratic interventions.

ASCEND KERALA 2019, an ambitious initiative of the Kerala government to position the state as an investment hotspot,saw  business leaders, planners and top officials from across the country  and abroad converging at  Lulu International Convention Centre Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty to discuss threadbare the reforms, which have considerably enhanced theEase of Doing Business in the state.

 State Industries Minister Shri E P Jayarajanlaunched the Invest Kerala web portal on the occasion, a single-point repository on providing information to investors for setting up and running businesses in the state.

The meet showcasedthe potential of the state, where entrepreneurs from India and abroad can set up a wide array of enterprises, taking advantage of the improved business ambience.

The event displayed two cutting edge software applications: K-SWIFT (Kerala Single Window Interface for Fast, Transparent Clearances) and IBPMS (Intelligent Building Plan Management System). KSWIFT, an online clearance mechanism, has been developed to simplify and speed up issuance of clearances from Departments / Agencies for launching enterprises in the state.

Having all the trappings of a landmark initiative, KSWIFT is designed to make governance more efficient, effective, transparent and user-friendly by leveraging the information technology. It will be a platform for all future transactions with the government for granting licences and approvals in a time-bound manner.

Presently, the services of 14 departments /agencies are being made available in KSWIFT, wherein all the applications can be submitted through a unified Common Application Form (CAF).


Kerala takes online route to end official lethargy in investments

Clearance to be given within 30 days of application, CM tells ASCEND Kerala 2019

Keen to enddelays and lethargy in approval ofinvestments, the Kerala government launched today an online clearance mechanism that will ensure clearance toproposalswithin 30 days of application.Hon. Chief Minister Mr PinarayiVijayan inaugurated ASCEND Kerala 2019, at which K-SWIFT (Kerala Single Window Interface for Fast, Transparent Clearances) was launched on Monday.

K-SWIFT is a cutting-edge software application that simplifies and speeds up approval of clearances from departments and agencies looking to launchenterprises in the state.
ASCEND Kerala 2019 is an ambitious initiative of the government to position the state as an investment hotspot.

Noting that K-SWIFT complements the notion of rebuilding of Kerala, the CM urged the officials for a change in their attitudetowards entrepreneurs. In this context, he said the 30-day time limit, which is applicable from village to secretariat level, may be reduced to even 15 days in future.

“You should not have the wrong belief that advent ofindustries means exploitation of people,” he said.

“Kerala economy has been consumerist where lots of products have buyers, but not much of production is happening in the state. This has to be change,” he told delegates at Lulu International Convention Centre Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty.“We have to increase MSMEs in the state. Through them, the government aims to provide jobs to around 50,000 people this year.”

The CMalso launched an ‘Invest Kerala Guide’ brought out by the state government’s Department of Industries and Commerce, which is a key organiser of the day-long event that seeks to boost East of Doing Business.

Kerala IndustryMinister Mr E P Jayarajan said ASCEND Kerala 2019 was part of the government’sefforts to form an industry network in the state. Pointing out that a “new era” has dawned upon Kerala’s industry sector,he said any delay in taking steps in the online applications would attract serious steps against the departments and officials.

“Specific industrial parks will be set up in private and public sector as per the types of industry. In rural areas, the area limit will be 25 acres. The urban parks will have 15 acres,” he added. “The government will provide the same facilities of the public parks sector to private parks.”

The Minister revealed that around 36,000 MSME units have been established in the state within its two-and-a-half years,generating 1,24,000 jobs. Mr Jayarajanalso launched the portal of ‘Invest Kerala’that includes details about IBPMS (Intelligent Building Plan Management System).

Dr K Ellangovan, Principal Secretary, Industries, Commerce & NORKA, gave a presentation on ASCEND Kerala 2019,and said Kerala is thecountry’s only state that has amended all the existing rules to streamline and encourage its industry sector.

Mr Tom Jose, Chief Secretary, Govt of Kerala, said in his welcome address that the industry sector’s motto was to convert jobseekers into entrepreneurs.

FICCI National President Mr SandipSomany noted Kerala topped national rankings in sectors such as startups, food-processing and technology.  CII Chairman (Southern Region) Mr R Dinesh said Kerala has a unique advantage in knowledge-based industries.

Kerala Small Scale Industries Association President Mr M Khalidalso spoke at the session, where TiE Kerala Chapter President Mr MSAKumarproposed thanks.

The meet showcased Kerala as a top-notch investment destination, where entrepreneurs from India and abroad can set up a wide array of enterprises in a speedy and hassle-free manner with minimum of bureaucratic interventions.

The conference, through presentations and panel discussions, also presenteda slew of legislations and administrative reforms the Kerala government has initiated to enhance theEase of Doing Business in the state.

Entrepreneurs, industry captains and representatives, administrators, policy-makers and top industry department officials, besides senior functionaries of local bodies were present.


Time-bound quality service key to attract investors, say top officials

One of the key factors for attracting investors is time-bound quality service, remarked top officials, who shared the policies and best practices  of various states during a plenary session at  ASCEND Kerala 2019 here on Monday.

An ambitious initiative of the Kerala government,   the one-day conclave was aimed at positioning the state as an investment hotspot by showcasing the administrative and policy measures taken to improve the Ease of Doing Business.

The officials, from Haryana and Telangana besides the top bureaucrats of the home state, shared their success stories while attending a session on “Ease of Doing Business-sharing of best practices.”

Shri Jayesh Ranjan, Principal Secretary (Industries), Telangana said: “The state has accomplished in getting $21 billion in four-and-a-half years since it has come into being. More than 60 per cent of the ventures have reached the stage of commercial production, and many of them are expansion investments. The state has received investments from 23 different countries,” he explained.

“We have given 15 days for giving approval for applications from investors. If the permission is not given within the time-frame, the investor can start their ventures on the 16th day,” he said.

The official added that an inquiry will be conducted on the delay and salary will be deducted from the official concerned as penalty.

Commenting on the facilities available for the industry, Shri Jayesh said: “We ensure that there is uninterrupted supply of power to the industry. The government also takes the responsibility of providing skilled manpower to the entrepreneurs. As part of the industrial policy, there are multiple kind of incentives to the industry.”

Dr Christy Fernandez, Chairman, KSIDC, who chaired the session, opined that it is necessary to improve the social milieu for the investors who wish to do business in the state. He also added that we have to learn to be proud of our achievements.

Meanwhile, Dr Sharmila Mary Joseph IAS, Secretary, Industries, Govt. of Kerala, and Managing Director, KSIDC, said the government has amended seven acts, 10 rules and issued large number of executive orders and standard operating procedures aiming at the growth of industry. The reform exercise will continue to take Kerala to the top list of industry-friendly states, she said.

Shri Devender Singh, Addl. Chief Secretary (Industries), Haryana; said high quality time-bound service delivery, putting in place strong policy and institutional frameworks, continuous investor engagement through various ways are the secrets that helped Haryana to make it to the third position among the industry-friendly states.

“There are 80-plus enterprises related services and 20-plus departments in one office. Clearances are guaranteed in 45 days (30 days and 15 additional days for clarification) and there is a central inspection system to monitor the process,” he said.

Stating that the state is also harnessing the benefits of social media, Shri Devender said all the information regarding land is available under one website and there is also a dedicated helpdesk system for seamless investor facilitation.


Kerala to give building permits in 30 days

ASCEND 2019 launches Intelligent Building Plan Management System

 Planning to build a house in Kerala and clueless when you would get the permits?

That worry will soon be a thing of the past, as the state government launched today an Intelligent Building Plan Management System (IBPMS) that provides single-point, integrated and holistic online development permissions to applicants in specified timelines for ease of doing business (EODB).

Minister for Industries and Commerce, Mr E P Jayarajanlaunched the systemat ASCEND Kerala 2019 that aims to showcase Kerala as a top-notch investment destination.

Building permission is critical in starting an enterprise.The introduction of the online system will facilitate quick clearances. Permits will now be available in 30 days of the application,” after its launch during the second breakout session on ‘Operationalising Ease of Doing Business Through LSGIs’.

The Minister also gave away certificates to four beneficiaries of Thrissur Corporation, which is the first local body in Kerala to implement this system.

Additional Chief Secretary (LSGD) Mr TK Jose detailed the efforts taken by the government for ease of doing business in the state. This included the formulation of the Kerala Investment Promotion & Facilitation Act, 2018 that revised seven redundant laws. “Only two documents are now needed for getting a trade licence in Kerala:an identity proof and lease deed or legal occupancy certificate,” he added.

KSIDC Managing Director Dr Sharmila Mary Joseph, who is Secretary, Industries, said the Kerala’s EODB index was 47.4 per cent. With the launch of K-SWIFT, IBPMS and InvestKeralaportal at ASCEND2019 today, the EOBD has risen to 62.8 per cent.

The government’s efforts on entrepreneurship promotion won the appreciation of industry bodies including CII, FICCI and Kerala State Small Industries Association (KSSIA), which praised the initiatives to promote ease of doing business and ease of running a business in Kerala.

The other speakers at the breakout session were CII former Chairman (Kerala State Region)Mr P Ganesh; FICCI Member Mr Baby Mathews, KSSIA former State President Mr DamadorAvannoor, Directorate of Urban Affairs Director Ms R Girija and Department of Town and Country Planning Chief Town Planner Ms KS Girija.

A valedictory session that ensued noted that the day-long proceedings acknowledged a positive change that has happened in recent years in Kerala as an investment destination.Minister Jayarajan, speaking to delegates, said Kerala looks forward to ascend from its present EODB index to 95 per cent next year.


ATMto host inaugural Hotel Industry Summit as GCC plans for 58,761 new hotel rooms in 2019

UAE & KSA account for 94% of new hotel supply

Inaugural Hotel Industry Summit will shine spotlight on infrastructure developments, investment opportunities and digital innovations

UAE hotel supply forecast to grow at CAGR of 6% to 183,718 hotel rooms between 2017 and 2022

 Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) showcase in Dubai, which will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019, has announced that it will host the first ATM Hotel Industry Summit as part of its line-up of special events.

The inaugural summit, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 30th April on the Global Stage, will see various panels of experts discuss the latest hotel infrastructure developments, investment opportunities and digital innovations which are shaping the region’s ever-changingindustry.

The UAE’s hospitality market is expected to be worth $7.6 billion annually by 2022, growing at a five-year Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.5% between 2017 and 2022, driven by Dubai’s Expo 2020, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and various other government initiatives to boost travel and tourism across the region.

Over the same period, hotel supply is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 6% to 183,718 keys, according to research published in a report by Alpen Capital.

In addition to this, STR data shows that the GCC is expecting an additional 58,761 hotel rooms to enter the market in 2019. The leading contributors are the UAE with 31,517 rooms (53%) in the pipeline; Saudi Arabia with 24,170 (41%); and Oman with 2,984 (5%).

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “It is important to highlight that the GCC is one of the fastest growing regional hospitality markets on a global scale, with the UAE leading the way as it gears up for Expo 2020 which is now less than two years away.

“Dubai’s hotel supply alone is expected to reach 132,000 in 2019, with the emirate aiming to complete 160,000 hotel rooms by October 2020 – in time to welcome 25 million visitors for Expo 2020.”

The summit will get underway with a session on ‘Regional Development and Investment Hotspots’, highlighting buoyant destinations in the Middle East and explaining the factors behind their underlying growth. This market intelligence will be essential for hotel professionals, management companies, owners and investors – particularly with major infrastructure projects stacking up across the Gulf.

The second session of the day will discuss ‘The New Normal – Digital Transformation Secrets Revealed’, in which panelists will show how hotel groups can boost revenues and guest personalisation by implementing the latest technological tools.

Digital now dominates all facets of modern life including hospitality, from reservations, pre-arrival messages and mobile check-in, to mobile keys, in-room preferences and experiences, upgrades and check-outs.

According to research conducted by Colliers International, personalisation through

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could increase hotel revenues by over 10 percent and reduce costs by more than 15 percent – with hotel operators expecting technology such asvoice and facial recognition, virtual reality and biometrics to be mainstream by 2025.

“Hoteliers have been cautious of technology taking away the human touch from the guest service and overall experience. However, by giving guests the autonomy to choose at each touch point during their hotel stay, hoteliers can learn the right balance between staff interaction and AI-powered, automated customer service,” Curtis said.

Rounding off the first summit will be a discussion on ‘New Hospitality Concepts Making Waves in the Middle East’, as operators target a wider range of visitors and aim to meet the needs of modern travellers, many of whom are yearning for more authentic experiences.

Curtis added: “Highlighting the opportunities that will drive the next era of hospitality in the region, the inaugural ATM Hotel Industry Summit is an exciting addition to what is now a comprehensive 360 industry showcase.

“As well as providing intelligence, insight and advice to attendees, the summit will also help focus minds on the upcoming infrastructure developments, investment opportunities and digital innovations that will continue to shape the industry over the next decade.

ATM – considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2018 event, showcasing the largest exhibition in the history of the show, with hotels comprising 20% of the floor area.

ATM 2019 will build on the success of this year’s edition with a host of seminar sessions discussing the ongoing unprecedented digital disruption, and the emergence of innovative technologies that will fundamentally alter the way in which the hospitality industry operates in the region.


The World's Biggest Miscellaneous Dessert Pudding Being Created by UDS Group of Hotels

All chef buddies of UDS Hotels will join hands in the creation of the world’s Biggest Miscellaneous Dessert Pudding. They will also demonstrate their culinary skills and passion for baking and making the desserts.

The massive treat will be unveiled by 10.00 am on the 14th of February 2019 at The UDS Hotel, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram. The desert aiming the world record will weigh 1500 kg (3307 lb).

The Miscellaneous Dessert Pudding is a cake pudding that will be made out of crumbs from sandwich cookies and puddings, in combination with other ingredients. The desert will portray an amazing landscape view with garden, water body and mountains.

UDS Hotels Group has registered this event in the Universal Records Forum and from there it will be taken to the  Guinness book of World Records


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