Rising - Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India

fhrai.com

Rising - Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India

magazine

april 2013

Rising

from the ashes

A Perspective on ITDC

Vol 13 Issue 04 Pages 72 `50

A MONTHLY ON HOSPITALITY TRADE

By DDP Publications

Eastern

flavours

‘Sakae Sushi’ for good

Japanese & Pan-Asian food

A fantastic

canvas

The Leela Palace New Delhi

Creating luxury benchmark

Tents &

Camps

Tented accommodations

evolving for niche travellers

on demand

Hospitality

Trends by

8Cornell


April 2013

Cover Story

Opting tents to stay

Distinct accommodation products have

made a mark in hospitality and tented

options are being considered unique. It is

one which is niche, offers a comfortable

stay in a remote location and are offered

with many facilities comparable to the

best of mid scale hotels.

44

Picture on the cover:

Monsoon Forest by Mohit Midha

CEO, www.ihatecities.com

44

Cover Story

contents

THIS MONTH

President’s Message

Secretary’s Message

FHRAI Desk

News Updates

Movements

Products & Services

Events

7

9

10

22

60

62

64

FEATURES

22 News You Can Use

50 Explore: Best Western Premier La Marvella

Report

Best rates at home

The Hotel Price Index (HPI) report

by Hotels.com states that Indians get

the best value at hotel room rates

domestically

Conference

Hi-Aim 2013

The second edition of Hi-Aim in 2013

was held in New Delhi on

March 21-22. The ‘conference +

exposition’ was aimed at creating a

knowledge base for the hospitality

owners, designers and architects

32

34

Dine Out

Eastern flavours

Singapore-based brand ‘Sakae Sushi’

fills the void of a good Japanese &

Pan-Asian restaurant which has

entered India with its first outlet in

the Capital

36

36 Dine Out: Sakae Sushi

6April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I


explore chef talk news updates events beverage

president’s message

Dear fellow members,


The launch of a

web Public Service

Delivery System

(PSDS) for Hotel

Approval and

Classification

will serve as a

milestone in

institutionalising an

efficient mechanism

for granting

approvals for

hotel projects and

classification status

to functioning hotels

in a time-bound and

transparent manner


At the outset, I would like to

congratulate the Ministry of

Tourism, Government of India, for

working closely with the Planning

Commission and convincing it to approve an

allocation of `15,190 crores for the Tourism

sector in the 12 th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).

This represents a near three-fold increase over

the outlay of `5,156 crores under the 11 th

Five-Year Plan (2007-2012) and had been the

key thrust of a high-level presentation given by

the Union Tourism Minister to the Hon’ble

Prime Minister in June 2011 on the economic

imperative of Tourism.

In another positive development for our

industry, the Hon’ble Minister of Tourism,

Dr. K Chiranjeevi launched a web-based

Public Service Delivery System (PSDS) for Hotel

Approval and Classification on April 3, 2013.

At the launch event, where I was requested

to articulate the industry’s perspective,

I expressed to the Hon’ble Minister our

confidence that this innovative initiative will

serve as a milestone in institutionalising an

efficient mechanism for granting approvals

for hotel projects and classification status

to functioning hotels in a time-bound and

transparent manner.

With the help of this system, all applicants

will henceforth be able to track the progress

of their cases online on a real time basis.

The Ministry has also announced that now

onwards, all applications will be examined

by its officials within 15 working days from

receipt to completion. Thereafter, all hotel

inspections will be scheduled within the next

15 working days. The recommendations

of the Hotel and Restaurants Approval &

Classification Committee (HRACC) will be

communicated on the spot to the applicant and

these recommendations will also be put on the

website along with the final decision within 10

days of the inspection. The new system will

effectively resolve the unnecessary delay and

uncertainties which our members often had

to face at the project approval stage and at

the time of classification/reclassification. This

would also pave the way for them to secure

timely approvals and requisite licenses from

other agencies as well.

The Minister has stated that in due course,

the Tourism Ministry would move towards

an e-regime and also accept e-applications and

online proposals. The MOT plans to explore

introducing such systems in other spheres as

well, to infuse greater accountability in its

own functioning and decision-making. We

welcome this commitment to cut red tape

and adopt the latest technology to streamline

delivery of Government-to-Business (G2B)

services.

I urge all members to take full advantage of

this unique facility, which is available on the

website http://tourismpmis.nic.in/scripts/

hotel/hotelhome.aspx and share your feedback

with us.

Hotel Classification, although entirely

voluntary, is a powerful tool for the industry

to provide assurance to our valued guests

and patrons on certain uniform standards

of amenities and services across various

star categories. This assists informed

consumer choice and enables hotels to offer

a differentiated value proposition to their

target market segments. With the growing

maturity of the Indian hospitality industry

and our increasingly discerning clientele,

it has been a shared goal of the Ministry of

Tourism and FHRAI to further strengthen our

system of hotel classification. Forward-looking

measures such as the PSDS which can fasttrack

the administrative processes involved

will incentivise even more establishments to

transition from the unorganised category to

the classified segment.

FHRAI is simultaneously pursuing with the

Ministry, the need to review its current

Guidelines for Hotel Classification/Reclassification.

Our detailed recommendations in this regard,

take into account widely accepted international

norms and best practices, and also address the

genuine practical constraints and technical

limitations which our members encounter

in adhering to certain provisions which are

mandatory as per the present criteria.

We are greatly heartened by the tremendous

support and encouragement extended by our

members to FHRAI’s strong, principled stand

in demanding a complete roll-back of the

service tax which has been imposed on all airconditioned

restaurants w.e.f April 1, 2013.

With the exemplary cooperation and assistance

of our Regional Associations, we have reached

out to top leaders across the political spectrum,

in order to seek a broad consensus in the

continued on page 10...


Chairman

Publications Sub-committee

Vijai Pande - vijaipandit@yahoo.co.in

Editor

Deepa Sethi - deepa@ddppl.com

Assistant Editor

Sanjeev Bhar - sanjeev@ddppl.com

sub-Editor

Ramya JS D’Rozario

creative Design

Ruchi Sinha

Advertising

Gunjan Sabikhi - gunjan@ddppl.com

52 GM Canvas: Tamir Kobrin, The Leela Palace New Delhi

Delhi

Prateek Sahay - prateek@ddppl.com

(+919650911388)

Shradha Kapoor - shradha@ddppl.com

(+919650196525)

Udit Pandey - udit@ddppl.com

FEATURES

Chef Talk

A delicious journey

Sireesh Saxena, Corporate Chef and

Vice President (Hotels), India Tourism

Development Corporation (ITDC) is

the proud recipient of the National

Tourism Award

Explore

Marvel in a city

The Best Western Premier La Marvella

in Bengaluru has cashed in on the south

Bengaluru landscape to emerge as a top

performing entity in the region

GM Canvas

A fantastic canvas

Tamir Kobrin, General Manager,

The Leela Palace Chanakyapuri,

New Delhi talks about the way he

approached his task of shaping the hotel

which completed two years of its

operation

Perspective

Rising from the ashes

A comparison drawn on how ITDC has

evolved in the last 22 years

Profile

Swosti@30

Swosti Group completes three

decades and continues to strive for

a successfull journey

40

50

52

56

57

Guest Column

Promoting sustainable

tourism & developing CSR

The development of tourism in the

Indian context lays emphasis on

sustainable tourism and the social

dialogue within the tourism and

hospitality sector

58

Mumbai

Harshal Ashar - harshal@ddppl.com

(+919619499167)

FHRAI - Marketing

S.P. Joshi

Production Manager

Anil Kharbanda

FHRAI

B-82, 8 th Floor, Himalaya House

Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001

Tel: 91-11-40780780, Fax: +91-11-40780777

Email: fhrai@vsnl.com

FHRAI Magazine is published, edited and printed monthly

by DDP Publication Pvt. Ltd. On behalf of Federation of

Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India and published

from DDP Publications Pvt. Ltd. 72 Todarmal Road New

Delhi 110001 Email: fhraimag@ddppl.com

Tel : 91-11-23731971 Fax: 91-11-23351503

Printed at Cirrus Graphics Pvt. Ltd.

B 62/14, Phase-II, Naraina Industrial Area New Delhi 110028

This issue of FHRAI Magazine contains 68+4 pages cover

All information in the FHRAI Magazine is derived from sources,

which we consider reliable and a sincere effort is made to report

accurate information. It is passed on to our readers without

any responsibility on our part. The publisher regrets that he

cannot accept liability for errors and omissions contained in this

publication, however caused. Similarly, opinions/views expressed by

third parties in abstract and/or in interviews are not necessarily

shared by FHRAI Magazine or DDP. However, we wish to advice

our readers that one or more recognised authorities may

hold different views than those reported. Material used in this

publication is intended for information purpose only. Readers

are advised to seek specific advice before acting on information

contained in this publication which is provided for general use, and

may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances.

Contents of this publication are copyright.

No part of FHRAI Magazine or any part of the contents thereof

may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system or transmitted in

any form without the permission of the publication in writing. The

same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken

from another publication. An exemption is hereby granted for the

extracts used for the purpose of fair review, provided two copies

of the same publication are sent to us for our records. Publications

reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission

could face legal action. The publisher assumes no responsibility for

returning any material solicited or unsolicited nor is he responsible

for material lost or damaged.

This publication is not meant to be an endorsement of any specific

product or services offered.

The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw, amend or

otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All

advertisements must comply with the Indian and International

Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any

damage or loss caused by delayed publication, error or failure of an

advertisement to appear.

8April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I


cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

secretary’s message

Member activeness:

key to resolving tourism issues

Vijai Pande

Honorary Secretary

FHRAI

vijaipandit@yahoo.co.in

FHRAI for the last several years has been

painstakingly bringing out a monthly

magazine for its members and policymakers.

The magazine is simultaneously playing

several important roles. First and foremost, it is

disseminating information. It keeps all FHRAI

members informed and updated about the latest

happenings of the hotel and tourism industry.

Secondly, the magazine is our voice. FHRAI is an

excellent vehicle to reach out to those who matter

to us. The magazine is circulated not only among

hoteliers and restaurateurs, but also amongst the

policymakers of the country. Thirdly, the magazine

is a platform to air our views and problems.

Moreover, if we regularly read the magazine, then

we can provide better services to our guests.

It is a matter of happiness that the Centre and

Ministry of Tourism have decided to resolve

some issues that the FHRAI magazine had been

prominently taking up. We have been demanding

since a very long time that the rules for developing

and expanding the hotel industry be simplified.

The Ministry is finally on the course of accepting

our demand. The Ministry of Tourism has recently

declared that it will do away with red tape

and intends to make its own functioning more

transparent. FHRAI President Mr. Vivek Nair in

his message (page 7) has elaborated the issues that

the MOT has tried to resolve.

We stand united on the issue of imposition of

service tax on air-conditioned restaurants. FHRAI

has vehemently opposed burdening of restaurants

with a new tax. The magazine can keep hoteliers

and restaurateurs bonded and it is the need of the

hour. There is much room as far as response of the

members of FHRAI to the magazine is concerned.

In this issue, we are carrying an article elaborating

India’s need to market itself aggressively as a

tourist destination on the international platform.

The Ministry of Tourism can and must take a cue

on how to promote India as a tourist destination

in the world.

Another article says why tourism in Gujarat is

flourishing and other state governments should

also follow this example to promote tourism.

We have thrown light on the importance of the

Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, which is

vital for hospitality industry. I am happy to inform

you that FHRAI forged an exclusive arrangement

with the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research

to bring you some educative articles. In this issue,

we have featured an article on ‘Eight key trends in

hospitality’, which is an interesting read. A meeting

of All India Associations representing restaurants

was held in Mumbai on April 15, 2013. It was held

to deliberate on the issue of the newly imposed

levy of Service Tax on sale of food by all

air-conditioned restaurants.

While talking about tourism awards, it’s worth

ruminating that when the government has realised

the importance of tourism, then why is the

hospitality industry not being provided incentives

that are being given to other industries, like the IT

industry. It is yet to be realised that the tourism

industry has become a major source for earning

foreign revenue, and tourism along with the hotel

industry is one of the biggest source of employment.

Sadly, the country in the first quarter of the current

year has witnessed a slump of 25 per cent in

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) as the recent survey

by Assocham’s Social Development says. This is

due to some untoward incidents that took place in

the last few months. We have to understand that

tourism can flourish with a strong law & order in

force. Also, there is a need to educate our children

in schools about the importance of tourism which

depends on secured and safe society. There is no

slackness on the part of the Home and Foreign

Ministry and the state police forces. We need to

sensitise the society so that no further unpleasant

incident takes place and adversely affects India’s

image in future.

We are happy to inform that Federation of

Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality

(FAITH) has actively and enthusiastically started

taking up the problems we have been facing over

the years. FAITH has classified our demands to

be taken up accordingly with the Central or State

Government. We should be hopeful that FAITH

will continue to work energetically and achieve

what all it has planned and will not lose its steam

midway. We are optimistic that FHRAI members

will come up with suggestions in the magazine to

make it more informative which will also help the

hotel industry and tourism in India to thrive.


fhrai desk cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

...continued from page 7

The Government’s recently released Economic Survey rightly

emphasises the importance of leveraging the untapped

potential of service sub-sectors such as hotels and restaurants

to augment GDP growth

industry’s favour. At various Post-Budget

interactions with senior Finance Ministry

officials, FHRAI has also highlighted that the

ambiguity which is inherent in the language of

the CBEC notification dated March 1, 2013,

could potentially open the floodgates for longdrawn

litigation and needless harassment of

restaurant operators. In the coming days, we

will continue with our assiduous efforts to

engage with various stakeholders and seek an

urgent review of the expanded ambit of service

tax, including carefully evaluating available

legal options. It is certainly gratifying to note

that FHRAI’s valid contention that the new

levy will contribute only a meager amount to

the exchequer but place an unfairly high burden

on both customers and the industry, has found

wide resonance in large sections of the national

media. On behalf of the industry, I would once

again appeal to the Hon’ble Finance Minister

to withdraw this tax.

Restaurants, be it large chains or independently

managed establishments, constitute a vibrant

part of the hospitality industry’s value chain.

They not only render indispensable services

to domestic and foreign tourists alike but also

play a vital socio-economic role in the local

economies of their individual cities. They

facilitate job-creation, foster skill development

and symbolise a much-needed spirit of

innovation and entrepreneurship. Presently,

our restaurant industry is being bogged down

by extraneous factors such as sluggish business

and consumer sentiment due to a slowing

economy, high inflation, incessant shortages

of inputs such as power and water, archaic

laws, an arduous licensing regime, apart from

multiple taxation.

The Government’s recently released Economic

Survey rightly emphasises the importance of

leveraging the untapped potential of service

sub-sectors such as hotels and restaurants

to augment GDP growth. The focus of the

Government’s efforts, both at the central and

state level, should be on providing an enabling

policy environment which can return our

industry to its trajectory of robust double-digit

growth. Viewing the industry simply as an

avenue for short-term revenue generation by

way of adding yet another tax to the existing

maze of complex and multiple taxes will indeed

be a myopic and retrograde policy. This would

also be contradictory to the Government’s

own stated objective of doubling India’s

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and Domestic

Tourist Visits (DTVs) and also expanding our

inventory of classified hotel rooms to a total

of 3,00,000 guest rooms by the end of the

12 th Plan Period, i.e., 2017. At every forum,

FHRAI lays particular emphasis on highlighting

that by employing 9.2 per cent of the country’s

workforce, tourism already serves as the single

largest employment generator. The sector has

the potential to create 25 million additional jobs

within the next five years, provided we receive

proactive support from the Government.

The Food Safety & Standards Authority

of India (FSSAI) has announced a strategy

aimed at harmonising India’s food safety

standards with those laid down by the Codex

Alimentarius Commission, established by the

United Nations’ World Health Organisation

(WHO) and the Food and Agriculture

Organisation (FAO). As part of this initiative,

the current standards and regulations are

proposed to be comprehensively reviewed,

taking into account the latest developments

in food science across the globe, consumption

patterns, use of new food additives and

ingredients required by food producers etc.

This process will commence shortly and is

expected to conclude by December 2014

with the notification and adoption of revised

standards. FHRAI has always maintained that

the Food Safety & Standards Act should not be

limited to just being a legislative overhaul of

our food safety laws but also usher a flexible

and industry friendly regulatory framework

for Food Business Operators, which reflects

contemporary business realities and is

consistent with international best practices.

Therefore, we welcome this ambitious

endeavour and have already assured the FSSAI

of our active participation.

Vivek Nair

President - FHRAI

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

10


fhrai desk cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Changing

tactics

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

12

From Hon. Secretary’s Desk

Promoting India Aggressively

The returns from promotion of tourism in

India are as high as 36 times, said a report

of the World Travel and Tourism Council

released in November 2012. The report

said if India spent $1 for promotion of tourism in the

country, then it would have earned $36. This fact

notwithstanding, India’s track record in promoting

tourism in the recent past, both for domestic and

foreign tourists has been poor.

It was in the year 2002 that India for the first time was

marketed as a tourist destination throughout the world.

No concerted effort had been made to attract tourists

to India. The aggressiveness and professionalism to

promote tourism was missing.

It was in the same year that the ‘Incredible India

campaign was launched jointly by the advertising agency

Ogilvy & Mather and the Ministry of Tourism. The

campaign was featured in print and electronic media of

all developed countries. The results

were incredible! In the very first year

of launch of the campaign, foreign

tourist inflow increased by 16 per

cent. The following year the campaign

focussed on spiritual tourism and

arrival of foreign tourists increased by

around 29 per cent.

In January 2004, Lonely Planet

conducted a survey in 134 countries to

select the world’s favourite destination

for individual travellers. India ranked

5 th among the top five favourite

international destinations in the global

survey following Thailand, Italy,

Australia and New Zealand. Much of

the credit for India’s emergence as a

favourite tourist destination went to

the campaign.

According to Dr K Chiranjeevi, Tourism Minister,

Govt. of India from 2002 (the year when the Incredible

India campaign was launched) to 2012 the Foreign

Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) to the country increased from

2.38 million to 6.65 million. During the same period,

Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) increased from

`150.64 billion to `944.87 billion. The domestic

visits during the same period rose from 269.60 million

to 850.90 million. The campaigns are a regular

feature of the Ministry’s promotional activities and

are carried out keeping in mind the Ministry’s goal

of overall development of tourism to and within

the country.

While

the allocation for

tourism in the

Union Budget

2013-14 has been

hiked by `87.66

crore, its promotion

has found no

mention

The Ministry of Tourism, as part of its on-going

activities, releases print, electronic, online and outdoor

media campaigns in the international and domestic

markets, under the Incredible India brand-line. Besides,

the Ministry through its overseas offices organises

roadshows like ‘Know India Seminars and workshops’;

participates in various fairs, exhibitions and events

to promote various Indian tourist destinations and

products. The campaigns include holistic promotion

of various Indian tourism products and destinations of

the country. But a recent survey of countries as tourist

destinations by World Economic Forum has placed India

at the 67 th position.

The monetary allocation for the Ministry of Tourism in

the current financial year is `1,297.86 crore, which is

`88 crore more than the previous year’s allocation. But

promotion of tourism finds no mention in the budget.

The focus in this year’s budget is on infrastructure

development and upgradation of existing facilities.

“While the allocation for tourism in the

Union Budget 2013-14 has been hiked by

`87.66 crore, its promotion has found no

mention,” comments Kamlesh Barot, the

former President of Federation of Hotels

and Restaurants Associations of India

on a travel and tourism website. “The

Budget has no mention at all of tourism

promotion. What can I say?” he questions.

The Ministry of Tourism in 2011-2012

spent `355 crore for promotion of

tourism in the country. In the following

financial year – 2012-13, the figure rose

by just `2 crore and the amount spent was

`357.20 crore.

Other developing countries like Egypt,

Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia who are at par with

India are increasing their budget by manifold for tourism

promotion. Adel El Masry, Director, Egypt Tourism

Office, sometime back told a travel information website

that his country had doubled the allocation for promoting

tourism to Egypt.

Closer home, Sri Lanka is also investing heavily

in attracting foreign tourists to the country. The

Sri Lankan government recently organised a three-week

long tourism roadshow in Russia and Ukraine in order to

attract more tourists to the country. The roadshows were

held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. Since the end

of the internal strife in May 2009, the country has seen a

steady rise in tourist arrivals every year for the past four

continued on page 18...


fhrai desk cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Boosting

tourism

From Hon. Secretary’s Desk

Reasons Galore

for flourishing tourism in Gujarat

We have

been allocated

`25 crore for

advertisements

and promotional

activities for the

existing year. Last

year it was around

`18 crore

When Amitabh Bachchan implores on

television – ‘Kuchh din to guzaro Gujarat

mein,’ in his signature sonorous voice,

people just cannot ignore his proposal. No

doubt, the number of tourists, foreign and domestic,

visiting the western coastal state of India is increasing.

That Gujarat is very serious to promote tourism in

the state can be gauged from the fact that the Chief

Minister Narendra Modi ended his address to the

Indian-Americans in New Jersey and Chicago by saying,

“Gujaratis are the best tourists but until recently, Gujarat

was never a tourist destination.” Asking members of the

Indian diaspora to make more frequent visits to Gujarat,

he repeated Amitabh Bachchan’s tagline.

It was in early 2010 that Gujarat roped in

‘Big B’ for promoting the State as a tourist

destination. Other states also promote

tourism but Gujarat was the first state to

cash in on the charisma of the Bollywood

superstar to attract tourists.

Kamlesh Patel, Chairman of Tourism

Corporation of Gujarat Limited at that

time had said the number of tourists

to Gujarat had increased after making

Amitabh Bachchan the brand ambassador

of Gujarat Tourism. Amitabh Bachchan

has endorsed Dwarka, Somnath, Kutch,

Saputara and Gir National Park.

The Gir Sanctuary has benefited from the

splurge, seeing a 30 per cent jump in tourists in two

years. The Rannotsav Festival in Kutch and the pilgrim

sites of Somnath and Dwarka too have become major

draws. “We have been advertising widely not only

on television and radio but also in in-flight magazines

of prominent international airlines. In the last two

years, there has been a flow of nearly 54 lakh tourists

to Gujarat, which is an achievement,” Vipul Mittra,

Principal Secretary, Gujarat Tourism recently said.

According to the figures provided by the Ministry of

Tourism, 18.8 million domestic tourists visited Gujarat

in the year 2010. The figure rose by 11.43 per cent the

following year. The number of tourists who visited the

State crossed the mark of 20 million. A little less than

that, 140,000 foreign tourists visited Gujarat in the year

2010. The number in 2011 was 166,042, a sharp rise of

21 per cent.

Since 2009, an aggressive Gujarat has seen a five-fold

increase in its budget for tourism promotion. A whopping

amount of `10 crore was spent on promotional activities

before the ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign kicked off

in October 2010. The tourism department is hoping to

spend around `55 crore by March 2013. Last year, the

State government had set aside just `2.5 crore in the

budget just for promotion.

Gujarat has surpassed even Madhya Pradesh, another

state that aggressively promotes tourism. The Madhya

Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation

(MPSTDC) has increased its budget by just `7 crore

in the promotional activities this year. “We have been

allocated `25 crore for advertisements and promotional

activities for the existing year. Last year it was around

`18 crore,” said Om Vijay Choudhary, Chief General

Manager (Operations and Marketing), MPSTDC. There

are no separate funds for television promos and social

networking sites. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat

Limited (TGCL) officials say that they are spending the

maximum within the country. The corporation will also

organise roadshows across the country and take part in

trade fairs.

The Gujarat government has taken a new initiative by

signing an MoU with Indian Oil Corporation. Tourism

Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) will set up

amenities for tourists at 50 petrol pumps of Indian

Oil Corporation on various highways of the state

with an investment of `40 crore. Tourism officials

believe that 80 per cent of tourists visiting Gujarat

come by road. These centres developed will be given

to organised food chain companies for operation on

third party basis. TCGL will develop amenities like

food courts, kiosks and toilets at IOCL petrol pumps.

The amenities will be given to organised food chains

for operations. The restaurants will also have logos of

IOC and TCGL on it.

“Close to 80 per cent tourists use roads to reach tourist

places in Gujarat. So, creating amenities on national and

state highways are very necessary,” Mittra told reporters

recently. Three categories of amenities centres will be

created over an area of 4,000 sqmt, 2,000 sqmt and

1,000 sq mt. Fifty petrol pumps have been identified for

the purpose. The first outlet will be operational in six

months, while the rest will be commissioned within a

year. Furthermore, Gujarat is also trying to attract film

producers to the State. No wonder, it has been achieving

success so effectively on the tourism front.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

14


fhrai desk cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

A key

document

today

From Hon. Secretary’s Desk

The importance of PAN Card

PAN card is your sole identity proof

in the financial world

The importance of Permanent Account Number (PAN) card has

grown over the years, and it is today an essential part of our lives.

The most important purpose of allotting PAN to an individual

is for the purpose of identification and to track all the related

monetary information of that person. Initially, the significance

of PAN was for filing income tax returns. Over time, PAN was

used in dealings with the stock markets, banks and purchase of

real estate and vehicles. Today, PAN has started finding use in

unconventional areas as well.

A detailed information on PAN is given below:

Payment to travel agents: Cash payment of more than `25,000

for travel to any foreign country (fare or purchase of foreign

currency) in a single payment requires you to produce a copy of

your PAN card.

Do NRIs require PAN?

As PAN is required for any financial transaction in India, an NRI

will need to have a PAN card if he has an income in India. He also

has to file returns if he wishes to invest in India, when he carries

out banking transactions, purchases/sells real estate or for any

transaction mentioned above.

Sale/Buy/Rent agreements: Nowadays, landlords demand a

copy of the PAN card of tenants, as the primary ID proof while

letting out/selling/buying property.

Bank Fixed Deposits: If you open a fixed deposit with your bank

for an amount exceeding `50,000, a copy of the PAN card needs

to be given. In the absence of a PAN card, the bank will deduct

TDS of 20 per cent or at the prevailing rate, whichever is higher

(instead of the normal 10 per cent). Further, the bank will not

issue a TDS certificate. Form 15G/15H and other exemption

certificates will be invalid in this case.

Payment in hotels and restaurants: You may be asked to

submit a copy of your PAN card if you pay cash in hotels or

restaurants against bills for an amount exceeding `25,000.

Jewellery shops: High-value purchase of jewellery in cash

should be accompanied by a copy of the PAN card of the buyer,

mainly as a means to curb black money usage. Other areas where

the PAN card is required include: Payment in second-hand car

dealings, installation of telephone and visa facilitation centres.

It is seen that quoting or producing a copy of your PAN card

is compulsory in practically every money transaction, and not

restricted to income tax dealings. The significance of PAN cannot

be questioned as this has become the primary document sought in

all important legitimate dealings.

PAN Frauds

The increasing importance of PAN has increased the likeliness of

PAN card identity theft. The safeguarding of the physical copy

of the PAN card no longer assures that your card is not being

misused. As a majority of transactions demand a photocopy of

your PAN card, or simply quoting the Permanent Account

Number, it is very easy for your information to be misused for

high-ticket purchases or benami property transactions. A copy of

your PAN card or simply its number can be quoted in transactions

which you are not even a part of.

Example of misuse of PAN: Recently, a consumer rights

activist group revealed that the PAN card copy used in railway

ticket tatkal bookings were misused by several jewellers.

When an individual produces his PAN to book tatkal tickets,

the information is fed in the Indian Railways system and also

displayed on the ticket, reservation chart and train coaches.

Unscrupulous jewellers use this information from such public

displays and use it to furnish tax collected details, while they sell

jewellery of very high value to high-net worth individuals who

do not wish to produce their PAN.

If this happens to you?

When your PAN card is illegally used, you may not even be aware

of this for at least six months after the illegal transaction. You can

check for such benami transactions by going through your Form

26AS, which is a consolidated statement of tax deducted, along

with other details. If you are a non-tax paying PAN card holder,

you may not even be able to check this form.

The Income Tax department will require the PAN card holder to

prove that the transaction was not carried out by him, and also

give details on his source of funds. This becomes very difficult

and time-consuming. As a PAN card holder, you should take care

while disclosing your PAN details to anyone. You must hand over

only signed photocopies and try to reduce using PAN in all casual

transactions as ID proof, like hotel booking, ticket purchasing,

meaning PAN is required in every sphere of life.

Phonetic PAN (PPAN)

The phonetic PAN (PPAN) is a new concept introduced

to prevent a single PAN being allotted to more than one

assessee with same or similar names. When PAN is allotted,

the PPAN of the assessee is compared with the PPANs of

all the assessees to whom the PAN has been allotted in the

country. A warning is sounded off if a matching PPAN is

detected. A duplicate PPAN report is then generated. A new

PAN can be allotted only if the Assessing Officer overrides

this duplicate PPAN detection.

Thus, PAN is a key document today and even takes predominance

over your name as far as the tax authorities are concerned.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

16


fhrai desk cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

industry

meet

Hospitality industry miffed

Over double taxation over and above VAT

The Associations of Restaurants

in India have decided to close

down their establishments

in protest on Monday, April

29, 2013. Accordingly all the

restaurants, eateries, bars in India

shall observe this closure for one

day to protest their demand

A

meeting of All India Associations representing

restaurants was held in Mumbai on Monday,

April 15, 2013. The meeting was held

to deliberate on the issue of the newly

imposed levy of Service Tax on sale of food by all

air-conditioned restaurants, including those partly airconditioned.

The representatives of all restaurants felt

the said tax amounts to double taxation over and above

the VAT being charged by the state governments. It

was further felt that the consumers will be subjected

to tax on 140 per cent of the total bill amount, which

is against natural justice and ultra vires of the

Constitution. Several representations have been

filed with the Union Government urging the

withdrawal of the Service Tax which will have

an adverse impact on the sales of all restaurants

in the country. The Associations of Restaurants

in India have decided to close down their

establishments in protest on Monday, April 29,

2013. Accordingly all the restaurants, eateries,

bars in India shall observe this closure for one day

to protest their demand.

...continued from page 12

years. To the east of India, countries like Myanmar and

Vietnam are emerging as major tourist destinations for

North American and European travellers.

It is high time that India once again markets itself

aggressively as a tourist destination of the world. It is a

known fact that tourism is a major sector that generates

a big amount of foreign exchange earnings (FEE).

According to a rough estimate, India’s FEE through

tourism is nearly one-third of what India earns through

exports.

It is well understood that a lot has to be done to give

a thrust to tourism in the country. Dr Chiranjeevi

on his recent visit to Berlin, pointed out that foreign

tourist arrivals to India constitute only 0.64 per cent

of the World Tourist Arrivals and foreign exchange

earnings account for 1.61 per cent of the World

Tourism Receipts. He said that it was a matter of

concern and efforts would be made to increase

India’s share to 1 per cent of the World Tourist

Arrivals by 2016.

Later, while presenting the National Tourism Awards

for 2011-12, he said that the tourism industry has

immense potential. He explained, “For this, we need to

constantly monitor trends and re-invent our products

for the marketplace.”

There is no doubt that the Ministry of Tourism has

taken some steps worth appreciation to boost tourism

in India. The Ministry has asked the Central Home

Minister to bring more countries under the ambit of

the Visa-on-Arrival Scheme. Many tourism experts

were feeling that the Incredible India campaign has

lived its life and lost its sheen. It’s commendable that

the Ministry of Tourism has come up with a new avatar

of the campaign.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

18


fhrai desk cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Study

Eight Trends for the Hotel Industry

CHRS Chair Professor Rohit Verma and Glenn Withiam, Director of Publications,

Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, offer a summary of key trends shaping the

global hospitality industry

Trend 1: The Expanded Role of Travel Intermediaries and

Travel Portals

The hotel industry’s need to determine how to work with OTAs has

become only the tip of the distribution iceberg. The industry has seen

the growth of major intermediary sites such as Expedia and Travelocity,

properties have increased distribution through opaque sites (such

as Hotwire and Priceline), and hotel brands have built up their own

websites. The entry of Google has added a new dimension to hotel

room distribution, since users can book directly from the search results

page, instead of clicking through to another site. The challenge for

hotels is to avoid being distributed as if they were package goods. Many

guests will go to a travel purveyor for hotel rooms, just as they go to a

food market for groceries.

Trend 2: Mobile Apps and RFID

Social media continues to grow exponentially, but mobile devices

present another potentially big development for hotel distribution and

operations. Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips may be of

particular interest, since the cost of RFID has plunged. This can break

out as its own trend soon enough, and the combination of RFID and

mobile apps could allow guests to use their smart phones to book a

room, check in, open their guestroom door, and settle their folio—all

without direct contact with your staff. Even without RFID, guests’ use

of mobile devices will create opportunities for innovation by hoteliers,

including new services and operating efficiencies. Most critically, the

dominance of electronic distribution as summarized in trends 1 and 2

will solidify the major trend of access to and transparency of information.

Trend 3: Brand Management and Customer Relationship Building

Given the strength of third-party distribution portals and the push toward

commoditization, the hotel brand will become more important than ever,

particularly in the context of developing customers’ loyalty. A powerful

brand lineup can offset the equally strong forces for commoditization,

and the hotel industry can draw from package goods companies’ brand

strategies. A study of top brands found four critical elements of brand

building: having an ideal, focusing on fundamentals to remain true to

the brand’s heritage, recognizing the importance of leadership (in the

form of a brand champion), and seeking engagement with customers.

Trend 4: Customers’ Search for Value through Social Couponing

Value comes in all forms, but in the current economic environment,

it means special offers and discounts, which are a form of customer

engagement. The rise of the daily deal sites, notably Groupon, melded

social media with customers’ desire to get a “deal.” This trend will

continue regardless of whether Groupon survives, because dozens

of other websites are also offering social coupons. For hoteliers, this

means developing packages that will provide value for all stakeholders,

including both customers who seek a deal and those who are “regular”

customers, as well as the hotel itself. Strategies include creating

packages that are not directly comparable to existing services and

controlling cost structures so that the social coupon is not a money-losing

proposition. Although social coupons do involve some cannibalisation

of existing customers, recent research has demonstrated that they bring

in new customers and encourage infrequent customers to return.

Trend 5: Sustainability

Customers’ demand for sustainable hotel operations has taken root

and expanded. The hotel industry has taken notice, as demonstrated

by a push for consistent reporting standards and industry best practices

coming from our industry roundtables in both Asia and North America.

In that regard, meeting planners and corporate planners are now

requesting that hotels’ provide sustainability-related information (such

as energy use or recycling policies). Third-party certification of green

claims has become an important part of sustainability reporting, as

demonstrated, for instance, by Travelocity’s Green Hotel Directory,

which does not recognize self-certified hotels.

Trend 6: Blending of Hospitality and Health Care

Although health care structures and financing vary substantially

from nation to nation, it has become clear that the core principles

of hospitality management apply to health care and assisted living

facilities just as they do to hotels. In the U.S., for instance, we know

of two major hospitals that have managers who were formerly with

the Ritz-Carlton Company, and an offshoot of Hyatt Hotels is a major

operator of lifecare communities. To maintain profitability, the healthcare

industry maintains a tight focus on costs and revenues that the

hospitality industry could emulate.

Trend 7: Next Generation Globalization

Not long ago, globalization meant that hotel brands from highly

developed nations expanded into developing nations. Globalisation is

also flowing in the reverse direction, as brands from developing nations

are expanding globally. To give two examples, Jumeirah now manages

the Essex House in New York, as well as properties in London and

Frankfurt; and Taj operates U.S. properties in Boston, New York,

and San Francisco, as well as hotels in London and Sydney. Thus,

globalization will mean that hotel brands criss-cross the globe.

Trend 8: Economic Uncertainty

Although economic growth seems to have returned, it’s still not clear

that the world economy, which is intertwined to a great extent, has fully

recovered. Thus, it appears that economic and political turbulence will

continue, and the hotel and travel industry will constantly be facing a

“new normal” somewhere on the globe.

(Credit: This article is reprinted from the report ‘2012 Cornell Hospitality

Research Summit: Critical Issues for Industry and Educators’, through

an exclusive arrangement between FHRAI and the Cornell Center for

Hospitality Research. The article cannot be reprinted, in part or full,

without prior permission from the authors.)

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

20


news updates cover story chef talk gm canvas events beverage

enabling

efficiency

Ministry of Tourism

makes hotel clearances speedier & more transparent

In a quest to double its inbound and domestic arrivals,

as envisaged by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT),

estimates suggest that India needs more than double

the existing room inventory. As a facilitative measure to

speed up hotel projects, MOT has now launched a webbased

project monitoring information system powered

by the National Informatics Centre.

“With a view to bring in transparency in granting

approvals for hotel projects, we launched a web-based

Public Service Delivery System for hotel approvals,

classification and other allied services. All applicants

seeking hotel project approvals, hotel classification and

approvals for other related services will be able to track

the progress of their cases online on a real time basis,”

said Dr. K Chiranjeevi, Minister for Tourism.

“By putting this system in place, there will be a pressure

on the officers of the ministry to deliver on time and

increase accountability on their part. Now onwards,

all applications will have to be examined within 15

working days from receipt till completion. Thereafter,

all hotel inspections will be scheduled within the next

15 working days. The recommendations of the Hotel

and Restaurants Approval & Classification Committee

will be communicated on the spot to the applicant

and these recommendations will also be put on the

website with the final decision within 10 days of the

inspection,” he added.

Further, the Minister added, “We will align our PSDS

with the Hospitality Development Promotion Board

(HDPB). The Tourism Ministry will move towards an

e-regime and build such systems in other spheres of

functioning also.”

Present on the occasion, Vivek Nair, President,

Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India

and Nakul Anand, President, Hotel Association of India

among others lauded the efforts of the ministry and

stated that this is a path breaking initiative taken to bring

transparency and speed up hotel projects.

Pic: Simran Kaur

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

22


news updates cover story chef talk gm canvas events beverage

new

look

New brand identity for The Leela

On April 5, 2013, for the first time since its

inception, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and

Resorts has unveiled a new brand identity,

including a new logo and a revamped website, designed

to express the brand’s transformation over the last 25

years. A comprehensive plan will guide the transition

of the new identity at existing and upcoming properties

which also includes signages, advertising creatives,

guest facing materials, sales and marketing collaterals,

stationery and amenities.

The group plans to double its portfolio in the next four

years, adding four new luxury hotels and two branded

Leela Residences to its portfolio. Commenting on

the initiative, Vivek Nair, CMD of The Leela Palaces,

Hotels and Resorts said, “The Leela Group’s new brand

identity is a tribute to The Leela’s past and future, and

articulates the brand’s promise to offer only the finest

luxury experiences, in settings that are the essence of

India. Now is the time to not only continue redefining

luxury which the Group is known for, but also to reflect

it in everything that bears our name.”

The new logo, designed by Landor Associates, Paris,

is a monogram - the timeless quality seal of luxury

expressed in traditional Indian calligraphy. The singular

L stands for Leela, luxury, legendary, lavish and lyrical.

Indian calligrapher Satya Rajpurohit gives a true Indian

character to the logo, which is further enhanced by a

copper hue as seen in a tail of a peacock, the national bird

of India. The symbol of infinity at the bottom is a salute

to the future of the new optimistic India - boundless,

limitless, everlasting.

The new identity is designed to reflect the brand’s

philosophy and commitment towards its four pillars

- grace, luxury, nature and India. The project was

based on an 18-month analysis of guest feedback and

satisfaction surveys as well as in-depth interactions with

key market influencers to identify brand perceptions and

expectations.

The Leela will undergo the change across its awardwinning

network of eight luxury hotels located in prime

destinations across India and new properties currently

under development. In addition, new upcoming

projects include a resort in Jaipur; a business hotel in

Bhartiya City, Bengaluru, strategically located near the

airport; a palace hotel at Supertech’s largest mixeduse

development in Noida; a palace hotel in Agra,

where every room will face the Taj Mahal; and Lake

Ashtamudi in Kerala. Further, the group is introducing

ultra-luxury residences in north and south India. The

Leela is developing The Leela residences in Bengaluru

at Bhartiya City and at Supertech’s largest mixed-use

development in Noida.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

24


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

branching

out

Four Points by

Sheraton to debut

in Ahmedabad

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide recently

announced the debut of its rapidly expanding

Four Points by Sheraton brand in Ahmedabad.

Owned by SAMHI Hotels (Ahmedabad), Four

Points by Sheraton Ahmedabad will be a

conversion from an existing hotel and will

be Starwood’s first managed Four Points

by Sheraton in India.

Brian McGuinness, Starwood’s Senior

Vice President, Specialty Select Brands,

said, “The Four Points brand offers

travellers seeking great hotels at great

rates, and has grown to become the

second largest in the pipeline among all

Starwood brands. We are excited to

open our 5 th Four Points by Sheraton in

India and believe the brand has immense

opportunity in the country. Our guests are seeking an

honest value, genuine service, and the amenities they

need to stay productive on the road.”

Asset ownership is challenging in today’s competitive

environment. “With Starwood’s distribution

capability, the power of its award winning loyalty

programme, SPG, and the strength of its brands

offers great value. We do believe this partnership will

prove fruitful in repositioning our hotel,” said Ashish

Jakhanwala, Managing Director & CEO, SAMHI

group. “The debut of the Four Points by Sheraton

brand in Gujarat will strengthen the brand’s presence

in the Indian market and is in keeping with our goal to

continue to expand our footprint in tier 2 markets and

in micro markets within larger metros. Our upscale

brands offer a great opportunity for us to be able to

do this,” said Dilip Puri, Managing Director India and

Regional Vice President South Asia for Starwood Asia

Pacific Hotels and Resorts.

Four Points by Sheraton Ahmedabad is a 104-room

hotel that is well situated in a visible location in the

city. The hotel will have one food & beverage venue,

approximately 2,500 sqft of meeting space and a

fitness centre.


news updates cover story chef talk gm canvas events beverage

launch

JW Marriott Hotel launched in Pune

In a recent move, The Pune Marriott Hotel and

Convention Centre has now converted to the JW

Marriott Hotel, Pune. The property is not only the

first JW Marriott in the city and the 3rd in the country

after the JW Mumbai and the JW Chandigarh, but also

the first Marriott property in the Asia-Pacific region to

undergo conversion.

The conversion launch saw the presence of Rajeev

Menon, Area Vice President for the Indian Sub-

Continent, Maldives, & Australia for Marriott

International Inc. Speaking on the occasion Menon said,

“The hotel, which was the 500 th Marriott property, was

a HALO hotel under the Marriott portfolio. Through

the two and half years of its functioning, the hotel has

managed to effortlessly make its way beyond the MHRS

brand guidelines, thus proving to be a befitting choice

for a JW conversion. This change will see Marriott

International come together to ensure that we surpass

the hotels hospitality touchpoints, making it more

luxury driven, promising and splendid.”

The General Manager of JW Marriott Pune, Jatin Khanna

said, “JW Marriott Pune celebrates constant innovation

and will continue to offer to the city of Pune a life of

elegance. The hotel that is a wedding, lifestyle and F&B

destination will see the introduction of various luxury

touchpoints over the next one year.” The unveiling of

the Griffin marked the highlight of the launch evening.

new

hotel

Westin enters Chennai

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Worldwide has launched its 215-room

Westin Chennai Velachery property

in Chennai. This is its sixth in India and first

of seven new Westin hotels opening this year

in the Asia-Pacific region. The property has

a 24-hour gymnasium, outdoor swimming

pool, Heavenly Spa and a group-running

programme called Run Westin. It has three

restaurants – all day-dining ‘Seasonal Tastes’,

‘Pan Asia EESTTM’ and the ‘Poolside Grill

and Barbeque’ along with a cricket-themed

Shrikant Wahkharkar

GM, The Westin Chennai

Velachery

lounge bar ‘Willows’. The hotel also houses more than

1,170 sqmt of meeting space, including two pillarless

ballrooms and 12 breakout rooms for MICE events.

said, “Chennai has tremendous potential for

MICE segment as the city has hosted some

high-profile international conferences in

the recent past. The lodging demand will

continue to be dominated by the business

segment, but MICE is bound to grow at

a rapid pace in the next few years. The

continued addition of branded rooms

inventory in the city, especially over the last

18 months has led to a compression in the

city, but we are optimistic that the strength

of our brand, the power of Starwood and

its distribution system and the value that our loyalty

programme, SPG brings will give us a definite edge to

ramp up our business and outperform the market.”

According to Shrikant Wakharkar, General Manager,

The Westin Chennai Velachery; after the successful

launch of the Westin brand in cities like Hyderabad,

Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune, Westin brand’s entry into

Chennai as a major metro city had to follow.

According to Wakharkar, the hospitality scene in

Chennai has metamorphosed over the last year or so

with highly reputed new entrants across all brands and

categories opening hotels in the city. Explaining the

current scenario of hospitality sector in Chennai, he

Besides being an important IT hub, the retail sector is

also poised for quantum growth. “We want be a part

of this growth story and the exciting time in Chennai,”

adds Wakharkar. He informed that the average local has

a lot more spending power now than a half a decade back

due to the rise in income level. Hotels with innovative

F&B offerings have a great opportunity to tap into the

growing segment of locals who are spending more

on F&B. With Chennai airport modernisation, more

domestic and international flights are expected to be in

service to/from the city in coming years.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

26


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

Pic: Simran Kaur

branding

Priya Paul

Chairperson,

ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels

The Park Hotels unveils a new brand identity

The Park Hotels have introduced a new brand

identity promising a refreshed approach to

their boutique hotels in India. The new logo

expresses The Park being the place to be and to be

seen at. The new identity is simple and draws strength

from its black and white

colour coordination.

Different from the

previous branding,

this is the fifth time

the ApeejaySurrendra

Group has redeveloped

its brand identity in

over 40 years.

Vijay Dewan

Managing Director,

ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels

Discussing the new

identity, Priya Paul,

Chairperson, ApeejaySurrendra Park Hotels, says, “The

new design is black and white, but bold with lots of

depth and new layers to the identity. We are known for

creativity and innovation and as we continue to grow,

we realised the need to communicate boldly the strength

of our brand. The fresh design language strongly reflects

contemporary India and our ethos. It is striking and

captures our personality perfectly. It highlights our

leadership through differentiation and reinforces who

we are.”

The brand revitalisation exercise has taken more

than two years and has spends of about `12 crore.

This process also integrates the execution of unique

experiences that are present in the brand promise of

‘Anything But Ordinary’.

“The origin of the new identity comes from the vibrant

culture built around values of excellence, innovation,

teamwork, commitment, integrity, empowerment and

respect. Our creativity has been expressed in every detail,”

says Vijay Dewan, Managing Director, ApeejaySurrendra

Park Hotels. At present, the group is represented by 12

hotels across the country with three more scheduled to

open in the near future. Already having an inventory of

over 1,200 rooms, the hotel chain is awaiting an additional

800 keys in the next three to four years. The branding

roll out starts April 1, 2013 and ‘Anything But Ordinary’

experiences will be there throughout the year.


news updates cover story chef talk gm canvas events beverage

new

segment

Rajat Sethi

GM, Hilton Garden Inn

Gurgaon Baani Square

Hilton eyes new segment of travellers

The newly-opened mid-priced Hilton Garden Inn

Gurgaon Baani Square is the second Hilton Garden Inn

brand hotel in the country. Cashing in on the location,

the hotel aims to cater to the business,

leisure and transit travellers in the region.

Rajat Sethi, General Manager, Hilton

Garden Inn Gurgaon Baani Square says,

“The convenient location of the property

is the prime differentiating factor. The

hotel is centrally located within the

quadrilateral of NH8, Sohna Road, Golf

Course Road and Golf Course Extension

Road and can be approached from either of

the roads within a 4 km radius. The hotel

is a 10-minute drive which is 8 km from

DLF Cyber City, the central business hub in Gurgaon

and is 30 km away from the Delhi city centre.”

The hotel is looking at working closely with the Indian

travel trade. “Our hotel is strategically located for

tourists transiting through Gurgaon to Jaipur and other

tourist destinations. Making an alliance with the B2B

segment, we aim to promote the hotel for the first night

and last night destination for tourists transiting through

Delhi as well,” he adds.

Talking about the USP of the brand, the GM remarks,

“Garden Inn is specifically targeted for the business

travellers. Being a business hotel, Hilton Garden

Inn Gurgaon Baani Square strives to ensure today’s

busy travellers have everything they need to be most

productive on the road. The features at the hotel include

the brand’s signature offerings of complimentary

Internet access, 24-hour complimentary business centre

facilities and complimentary remote printing service

from the guestroom to the business centre.” The 24-hour

business centre at the hotel is equipped with state-ofthe-art

audio-visual facilities, which will cater to all the

needs of business travellers. The four meeting rooms,

each with city views and natural light, can accommodate

from 20 to 150 people. The hotel offers 18,000 sqft

of conference and banqueting facilities with green lawns

and a courtyard, perfectly suited for all business events,

social gatherings, private receptions and weddings of up

to 400 people.

According to Sethi, there has been a tremendous inflow

of hotel investments in Gurgaon with both national

and international hotel chains vying for their footprint.

“There has been a phenomenal surge in number of budget

hotels leading to a correction in prices and average room

revenue in the region,” he pointed out.

new

brand

TUX Hospitality offers affordable luxury

Tux Hospitality introduces its first ‘Hive’ - the

affordable-luxury brand in Alwar, Rajasthan. After the

success in the National Capital Region with Mosaic

Noida, Tux seeks to deliver the best of facilities and

services at Hive Alwar. The hotel is

located at a convenient 3 hour drive

from both Delhi and Jaipur. Having

taken factors such as connectivity and

convenience into account, the property

is strategically placed not only in the

best of surroundings but just 3 km away

from the railway station and in close

proximity to the Matsya Industrial Area

(MIA).

Several attractions of rich history such

as the Alwar Fort, City Palace, Bala

Qila, Bhangarh Fort, City Palace and Museum, etc.,

are in close proximity to the hotel. The surrounding

attractions include the scenic beauty of rich natural

woods, valleys and splendid lakes such as the Siliserh

Lake. Hive Alwar is also conveniently located from the

famous Sariska Tiger Reserve for which Alwar is also

known as the ‘Tiger Gateway to Rajasthan’.

The hotel features 45 well-appointed rooms and offers

three categories - deluxe, club and suite. The rooms

offer amenities of great convenience, such as highspeed

wireless Internet access, electronic safe and LCD

television with national and international channels. The

24-hour guest room services include in - room dining

and laundry looked after by a team of well groomed

industry professionals.

Hive Alwar offers a specialised Food & Beverage outlet,

namely – ADD, a 24-hour access control gymnasium

and a meeting room. The hotel is soon coming up with

The Grill - a sophisticated Rooftop Grill Restaurant, The

Bar and a banquet hall for business and social gatherings.

It will also have a rooftop pool for the unwinding

experience in the picturesque backdrop of the Aravalli

Hills and has plans to come up with a spa as well.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

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news updates cover story chef talk gm canvas events beverage

bakery

Puratos India launches new range

of products

Dhiren Kanwar

CEO, Puratos India

S 500 Puff

Your puff / khari just got bigger, better and healthier

Puratos India, the fully owned Indian

subsidiary of the Belgium-based multinational

Puratos Group having a presence

in 68 countries, has increased its product line by

adding nine new products that were launched at

AAHAR 2013 in New Delhi last month. Talking

about the ambitious plan, Dhiren Kanwar, CEO,

Puratos India said, “Puratos India was launched in

2008 to bring specialist products for the bakery,

confectionery and catering industries. We have

launched 90 products in four years. This year we

are launching nine products in the three different

categories we operate in.”

The company has three product categories

viz., bakery, patisserie and chocolate.

It has launched four new products

each in the first two categories

and one in the chocolate

category. Kanwar informs,

“Interestingly, 98 per cent of

our products are vegetarian

i.e., eggless. We import

around 10-15 per cent of our

ingredients for manufacturing

the entire offering in India.”

The company has an R&D centre

for customising taste, functionality

and cost of the various products

that are manufactured in India, with its

manufacturing plant in Navi Mumbai that was

established in 2009. “We would like to use this platform

as an opportunity to introduce new products which are

The nine new innovative products

launched by Puratos India:

• Bakery

• Easy Ciabatta

• Easy Focaccia

• S-500 Puff

• Tigris Power

• Patisserie

• Easy Sponge Cocoa Egg free cake

• Hotfil Strawberry

• Creamfil Ultim

• Tegral Satin Red Velvet Cake Mix

• Chocolate

• Carat Coverlux white

unique and innovative. We look forward to bringing a

change in the Bakery, Patisserie & Chocolate industry.”

“We are the only company to provide bromatefree

products. We have focussed on enzyme-based

products,” remarked Kanwar. The company’s

marketing response has been good in eight states. “We

are educating the wide range of our target market by

organising seminars in about 34 cities that would cover

8,000 bakeries. Our approach is to offer an exquisite

taste with healthy products,” he added. The company is

expecting a triple digit growth following the extension

of product line.

showroom

Celfrost launches its 15 th Brand Centre

in New Delhi

Celfrost Innovations launched its 15th Brand

Centre at Jail Road, New Delhi to tap the

expanding West Delhi market. The company has

marked its Brand Centre presence in Mumbai, Delhi,

Goa, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad,

Gurgaon and other cities in India to promote a globally

acclaimed range of commercial refrigeration and food

service products. These products include popular

international brands such as Vestfrost of Denmark,

Manitowoc of USA, La Cimbali of Italy, Taylor of USA,

Merrychef of UK, Lincoln of USA, Hamilton Beach of

USA among others.

Neeraj Seth, Managing Director of the company said,

“The stores offer a wide range of products suitable

for hotels, restaurants, bakery shops, coffee shops,

bars & pubs, clubs & canteens, food retail stores and

so on. After receiving an overwhelming response to

our first 14 stores launched in India, we decided to

open our second Brand Centre in New Delhi. The

stores will enable us to reach a larger audience who

prefer to touch and feel the products before buying.”

According to him, the differentiating factor for the

company is its assured after-sales service support

which is missing in this sector.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

30


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expansion

Wyndham Hotel Group expands

India operations

Wyndham Hotel Group expanded its India

operations by announcing a new addition to

its portfolio, Ramada Chennai Egmore. The

opening of Ramada Chennai Egmore is an important step

in expanding the

group’s footprint in

south India and will

help strengthen its

existing portfolio.

Ramada Chennai

Egmore is Ramada’s

first operational

hotel in Chennai and

is owned by Ansari

Estate.

In India, the

company will have

17 operating hotels and approx., 1,800 rooms under

the Ramada, Wyndham Grand, Dream and Days Hotel

brands. The group also has 26 hotels under construction

with near 3,000 rooms, which will expand its India

portfolio significantly.

Ramada Chennai Egmore brings the famous world-class

Ramada experience to Chennai at affordable prices. The

hotel is Chennai’s preferred destination for business as

well as leisure travellers and is a perfect blend of comfort

and functionality. The hotel offers guests a complete

array of choices, including 113 elegant and spacious

rooms including Suites, Executive, Deluxe and Classic

rooms; state-of-the-art pool, world-class restaurants,

bar-cum-lounge, a fitness centre, conference rooms,

business centre and a salon-cum-spa.

The hotel also has great banqueting facilities which can

accommodate anywhere between 10 - 300 people,

making it ideal for corporate and social occasions. The

hotel is centrally located and is close to the airport,

railway station and key tourist hotspots including the

Marina Beach, Egmore Museum, St. Anthony’s Chruch

and Connemara Library among others.


eport cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Best rates

at home

According to the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) report by Hotels.com, the

global hotels expert, India beats other countries when it comes to getting the

best value at hotel room rates domestically. Excerpts from the report…

Travelling at

home

The report revealed that in terms of

the average price paid for a hotel room,

Indians found the best value at home at

`4,715, followed by the Portuguese

paying `4,846 and the Spanish -

`5,009.

Swiss travellers paid the most at `10,345

for a night travelling domestically

with the Singaporeans in second place

at `9,994 and Norwegians in third at

`9,899. The Australians were in the

fourth place at `9,531 and South Korea

at the 6 th spot at `8,319.

More at home

or away?

Of the 29 countries analysed, 20 paid

more abroad than at home with some

of them having a considerable gap

between the two sums. The Chinese

spent `3,513 a night more on average

when travelling abroad, followed by the

Argentineans who paid `2,866 extra and

the Indians shelled out `2,816 more.

Only nine nations paid more at home

than away. Travellers from Singapore

had the greatest difference, spending

`2,283 more domestically than

abroad, followed by the Swiss with

`1,233 variation and the Norwegians

with `958.

Top destinations:

When it came to overseas travel,

Southeast Asian destinations dominated

the top 10 list for Indian travellers.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

32

Top overseas destinations for travellers

from India in 2012:

Rank Destination

u Bangkok

v Singapore

w Dubai

x Pattaya

y Hong Kong

z London

{ Phuket

| New York

} Kuala Lumpur

~ Las Vegas

India specific

Free Wi-Fi trumps both free parking and

complimentary breakfast when it comes

to choosing a hotel for both leisure and

business travel, showing that access

to the online world is a necessity for

modern-day travellers with over a third

still looking to stay connected whilst on

their holidays. In fact, just 11 per cent

of global travellers said they would be

willing to pay for Wi-Fi when staying

in a hotel. Among Indian travellers, 26

per cent consider Wi–Fi as an important

amenity while looking for hotel

accommodation during leisure travel.

The demand for free Wi-Fi doubles

to 55 per cent for business travellers.

“With an increase in airlines and airports

offering free Wi-Fi, tech-savvy travellers

expect the experience to continue upon

arrival at their hotel,” said Zoe Chan,

Senior PR Manager APAC, Hotels.com.

“They are using their tablets, smart

phones and laptops to plan activities,

stay connected to family and even order

a delivery meal straight to their hotel

room, so it’s no surprise they require

free and fast Wi-Fi.”

The Perks of New Technology –

Favourite ‘Modern’ In-Room Amenities

It would seem that the technological

comforts of home are also high on the

priority list for travellers with 23 per

cent of global respondents choosing highend

coffee makers as their top, modern

desire in hotel room amenity. Fully wired

rooms controlled by a single remote

received 20 per cent of the votes. Guests

also indicated they would like to enjoy

free Wi-Fi on hotel-provided tablets for

guest information, room service and

local guides (15 per cent). However for

Indian travellers, the preferred ‘modern’

in-room amenity is massage chairs or foot

massagers (36 per cent) and 25 per cent

of them would like to have totally wired

rooms controlled by a single remote.

It’s the Little Things that Count – Most

Appreciated Simple Amenity

Staying hydrated when travelling

is important to hotel guests

globally with 43 per cent choosing

complimentary bottled water as the

most appreciated simple amenity.

Sharing the same sentiment, 42 per

cent of Indian travellers also appreciate

complimentary bottled water. Only

respondents from Taiwan, Hong Kong

and Brazil rated free power adaptors

above bottled water.

The Way to the Hearts of Hotel Guests’

– Through Their Stomachs!

• 48 per cent of Indian travellers would

like to see complimentary breakfast

as a standard offering at all hotels in

2013, while 19 per cent travellers

would like to enjoy the items in their

room refrigerator without being

charged for it.


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Five-Star Life – The Highs and Lows of

Luxury Perks

• Designer toiletries ranked

the highest among favourite

amenities while staying at luxury

hotels for Indian travellers (31

per cent) while high-end fitness

centre & spa was the second

choice (29 per cent).

City with best

hotels

• 37 per cent Indian travellers voted

the ‘sun & sand’ city Goa as the

best destination for hotels with

good facilities.

• Metropolitan business city - Mumbai

was the second choice among Indian

travellers (18 per cent).

• Other destinations popular among

Indian travellers for good hotels

include Jaipur, Hyderabad, Shimla

and Kochi.

Global price

change

The average price of a hotel room around

the world rose by 3 per cent during 2012

compared to the previous year, having

reached 107, just seven points higher

than when the Index was launched in

2004. The rate of increase has slowed

when judged against the 4 per cent rise

in 2011.

This highlights the fact that hotel prices

remained at a great value for travellers

throughout the year as the global Index

for 2012 was still ten points behind its

2007 peak of 117 and only just ahead of

its 2005 level of 106.

Prices rose in all regions for the year, apart

from Europe and Middle East, where there

was a slight fall. There were particularly

strong showings in the Caribbean, North

America and the Pacific.

Although not directly comparable, the

relative stability of global hotel prices can

also be seen in a less technical fashion by

comparing the fluctuation of the HPI with

other global commodities such as gold,

oil and coffee in an index. Swings there

have been considerably more volatile and

prices have risen substantially, reinforcing

the great value that hotel prices still

represent. At the end of 2012, the index

for gold, for instance was four times

higher than in 2004, with oil three times

and coffee more than double.

Asia on the rise

Hotel prices in Asia rose 2 per cent

during the year, not keeping track

with the global rise but a more

robust result than in 2011, when

prices fell by 2 per cent following

the natural and nuclear disasters in

Japan which deterred travel both

within and to the region.

The Asia HPI stood at 109 for 2012 and

has the farthest ground to make up on its

2007 peak of 131. In fact, it is still behind

its 2005 level of 110, although individual

cities have performed well.


conference cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Pic: Simran Kaur

Hi-Aim 2013 discusses

project implementation issues

The second edition of Hi-Aim in 2013 was held in New Delhi on March 21-22. The

‘conference + exposition’ was aimed at creating a knowledge base for the hospitality owners

who wish to delve deeper into the subject with designing and architecture possibilities to

make projects economically viable and operationally effective.

2013 was

themed – ‘Challenges

of Implementation’

Hi-Aim

– in order to address

the concerns of owners who invest in

hospitality projects. At the inaugural

session, Romesh Koul, CEO, Naaz

Hotel Consultants and Co-Founder,

Hi-Aim said, “A decade back, with

less hospitality events, the focus was

primarily on conferences that deliberated

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

34

on operations but projects and their

implementation issues. That is why,

Hi-Aim was created as a forum to

address an owner’s issue like design

development, ROI, architecture, project

implementation and challenges of

implementation.”

The two-day seminar concentrated on the

owners, their relations with architects,

interior designers and facilitators of

projects and challenges thereon. Koul,

talking to TravTalk, said, “The themes

set up an apt debate between the two

concerned parties which was informative

and delved on the challenges they face

as they go on to invest in projects. The

primary objective was to find out costing

and return on capital invested.”

On the other hand, Anil Sharma,

Founder, A Sharma Associates and


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

Co-Founder, Hi-Aim remarked,

“Over 300 people participated at the

event. We tried to be specific and

find issues that are problem areas

for hospitality owners. More than

just a conference and exposition, we

have emerged as a workshop where

we found solutions to core issues.

Professionals sharing a common

platform in Hi-Aim 2013 discussed the

future course of better performance

and raising benefits.” The list of

attendees included speakers, hospitality

owners, architects, designers, business

delegates, sponsoring companies and

exhibitors. “We have definitely grown

as a platform offering sound quality

deliberation on hospitality.”

The next edition of the conference is

scheduled from March 20-21, 2014 at

JW Marriott, New Delhi Aerocity. “We

will try to raise topics that would talk

on the operational efficiency or could be

related to an environmentally sensitive

approach. Owners are taking a keen

Business

sessions

The two-day Hi-Aim 2013

conference highlighted the needs

of owners, developers, architects,

interior designers, consultants,

project managers, etc., through

some critical topics as follows:

• Return on Capital Deployment

– Bang for the Buck

• Adaptability of Brand Standards

• Challenges of Implementation

– Midscale Hotels

• Multiple Stakeholders – Who

Calls the Shot

• Design vs Function

• Design Overkill – Heart of the

House – Midscale Hotels

• Relevance of PMC

• Running the Last Mile

interest after getting a vivid perspective

on the subject of design, architecture

and interiors,” Koul added. Sharma

informed, “Following positive feedback

from owners, we wish to take Hi-Aim

to other Indian cities and possibly to

neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka.”

According to Koul, the year 2014-15

will be promising for the hospitality

sector. He said, “This year will see a

similar growth like last year. In fact,

there will be growth which will be

accommodated by supply inventories

that will be added up this year. Hence,

we will be at the same level of market

expectations like last year. Though,

investors should not be demoralised

by the dull phase where occupancy and

RevPAR have dipped. These have to

be seen on a long term basis with key

considerations and focus on location,

categories and brand. Owners need

to do homework thoroughly to

minimise costs for a positive result,”

he summed.


dine out cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

There are not many Japanese

and Pan-Asian food joints

in India yet. Keeping an

eye on the void that exists,

Singapore-based brand ‘Sakae

Sushi’ has entered the Indian

market by having a joint

venture in order to expand

its footprint. Keeping up

with what the international

chain does, it has customised

the menu to suit local taste.

Sanjeev Bhar

q Agedashi Tofu

Eastern

flavours

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

36


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

A

series of bamboo columns

gives the restaurant’s décor

a touch of elegance. There is

a feel of the Oriental as one

enters Sakae Sushi in the upmarket

Ambience Mall of south Delhi.

The ceiling of this renowned restaurant

chain with red-brown decorative art has

dragons sprawled all over, reminiscent

of the Japanese architecture, depicting

a Japanese poem. Designed by an international

firm, the ambience set for the

restaurant outlet has been kept subtle that

which is aptly complimented by the lighting

and décor.

Having a capacity for 120 pax, the

restaurant is located on the third floor

of the mall. It has a set-up divided into

two floors which adds a dimension to

it since the upper section is an open-air

terrace space. The ‘Roof Terrace’ has

a green ambience created with the use

of artificial grass, with the open sky to

give an apt setting for enjoyable cocktail

evenings. A small bar addresses the

Chander Agarwal

Executive Director, TCI

Lilian Foo

Promoter & Vice President,

Sakae Sushi

need of this exclusive space, and adds a

portion of creativity accommodating a

maximum gathering of 30 pax. Further,

there is a private dining area which

can accommodate 8-10 pax giving an

exclusive dining experience in the

lower level.

A new

avenue

One of the leading players in the Indian

logistics sector - Transport Corporation

of India (TCI) has forged a Joint Venture

(JV) company with the Sakae Holdings

Singapore, which promotes the brand

Sakae Sushi. This is the first venture

into hospitality for TCI through this

JV. Chander Agarwal, Executive

Director, TCI says that hospitality is

a service industry and food is seen as

the foremost service element attached

to it. Food business is very much

dependent on logistics and therefore,

it was an easier way to approach the

restaurant business and fulfill his lure

for good food. He says, “I particularly

chose Japanese cuisine as it is interesting

and people like it a lot. Also, you will

find only up-market Japanese restaurants

in the city. Further, there are too many

Chinese, Italian… restaurants. But a

Japanese restaurant is a rarity. It has been

a missing link and we want to capitalise

on this gap,” he adds.

Though this joint venture company did

not reveal any investments made in the

restaurant business so far, it would look

forward to grow simultaneously through

ownership and the franchisee route in


dine out cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

q Salmon Cheese

q Salmon Carpaccio

Food choices

Sakae Sushi is amongst the most prominent and fastest growing restaurant

chain in Asia. The restaurant has pioneered the concept of having tiered-plate

pricing, incorporating built-in hot water taps for a fuss-free and efficient dining.

Its elaborate Japanese menu includes signature dishes like Spicy Kimchee

Seafood Kaminabe, Salmon Yuzu Shirataki, Spicy Sumiyaki Udon, Sakae

Blossom, Sakana Isshi and Hotate Mentaiyaki to name a few. There is a also a

seasonal menu and a kids’ menu, for tasty and healthy Japanese bites for tots.

The team of global chefs specialises in an authentic menu.

p Salmon Mentaiyaki

India. “In the next three years, we plan to

have a total of three outlets operational,”

Agarwal says. “The franchisee option will

be used for expanding our horizon but

it would be through the JV company in

India,” informs Lilian Foo, Promoter &

Vice President, Sakae Sushi.

The restaurant has been positioned

between low and mid-market by bringing

the most famous Singapore brand

in Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisines.

According to Foo, India was on its radar.

“We want to be a globally strong brand

by extending beyond the 200 outlets that

the company has in 10 countries. We

spent a lot of time in looking for a right

market and India is a perfect place in this

respect. Here, people are looking for

more international cuisines and there is a

lot of scope for Japanese cuisine. In other

countries, we have expanded by having

set our master franchisee and looking for

inorganic growth. But, India happens to

be our first joint venture market, where

we are inventing,” she says.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

38


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Localising

flavours

Majority of food served in the restaurant

has been as per the authenticity of the

cuisines. Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisines

have been becoming quite popular in

the Indian market following a set of

diners who prefer these cuisines. “Yet,”

says Agarwal, “We have tried to add

some element of local taste in order to

appeal to all tastebuds. “You have to

understand that Japanese food would be

bland otherwise to the Indians. But just

by adding a bit of flavour by using spices

we have been able to attract the attention

of customers and have received great

feedback,” he says.

The dining

experience

According to Foo, Sakae Sushi is a

well known throughout Asia for it is

premium food served in an innovative,

fun and engaging setting, all at

affordable prices. She says, “In addition

to serving fresh, healthy and delicious

food as can be expected from our

kitchen, the speed and ease with which

our customers can have their food served

via the conveyor belt is also the signature

of our business. I am extremely excited

to celebrate the opening of our restaurant

in India now.” She is right. The conveyor

belt approach that divides the entry level

q Sakae Blossom

into two halves is something new. The

concept – Kaiten – gives the convenience

of picking up the sauces, etc., as it moves

on the conveyor belt.

Further, a nice bar set up at the lower

entry level has been designed aesthetically

with a dragon tattoo adding a distinct

charm to the restaurant outlet.


chef talk cover story dine out news updates events beverage

A Delicious

Journey

p

Chef Sireesh Saxena receiving the National

Tourism Award from the Hon’ble President

of India, Pranab Mukherjee as the Minister

for Tourism, Dr. K Chiranjeevi and Secretary

Tourism, Parvez Dewan look on.

With over three decades

of sheer excellence as a

food professional, Sireesh

Saxena, Corporate Chef and

Vice President (Hotels),

India Tourism Development

Corporation (ITDC)

has scored many miles.

Now, the proud recipient

of the National Tourism

Awards wishes to share his

knowledge and experience

with the upcoming

generation of hospitality

professionals.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

40

Q

How does it feel to be

recognised with the ‘Best

Chef’ award at the National Tourism

Awards 2011-12?

It is a proud moment for me and it

certainly feels wonderful. Even though

every award is special, this one is the

biggest of them all, being recognised at

the national level.

Q

You oversaw production &

catering services to State

guests at Hyderabad House, The

Ashok and Vigyan Bhawan. How did

you take up these challenges?

When you are catering to the highest

office, there really is no room for error.

You know it and you accept it as a

challenge. With each function/event, it is

a new challenge with a new set of issues.

Planning needs to be done independently

for each event and that is the essence of

the challenge. Executing it to the delight

of the dignitaries is the satisfaction point

that you work towards.


chef talk cover story dine out news updates events beverage

Sireesh Saxena

Corporate Chef and Vice

President (Hotels), ITDC

Q

As Corporate Executive Chef

of the Group, how have you

developed your team to meet the

strenuous requirements of banquets

at the President’s House, etc. How

was your experience?

From amongst the large team that we

have, we pick up the right person for

the right job. The right person needs not

only the right skill but also the mental

toughness and presence of mind. It does

sometimes happen that you are in a tight

spot due to an unforeseen incident.

On such an occasion, the chef needs to

stay calm and find solutions to not only

come out of the crisis but also execute

it equally well. At this level, there is no

second chance. Hence, constant training

for the team is critical – not just for skill

enhancement but also for mental agility

and adaptability.

Q

How did you go about

motivating your team as the

F&B department is a demanding

sphere with no scope for error?

The team that works towards the success

of such important events is highly

skilled, responsible and understands the

seriousness of such occasions. This does

not happen in a day but is a result of years

of training and experience. The team

knows and takes pride in the fact that

they are providing services to the highest

level of bureaucrats.

The very fact that they

are catering to people

who are the ‘who’s

who’ of the country is

itself a big motivator.

Q

How do you

manage

the operational

responsibilities that

come to you with

your role as Vice

President of ITDC?

As Vice President,

ITDC, the additional

responsibility entails

looking after all the

units of ITDC spread

across the country.

When you are

catering to the

highest office, there

really is no room

for error. You know

it and you accept

it as a challenge.

With each function/

event, it is a new

challenge with new

set of issues

However, the task of being the Corporate

Chef remains ever so important. Of

course, the team at the next level has

been trained to get into the nitty-gritty.

However, a desired amount of focus is

kept on catering for the VVIPs and

other guests.

Q

What would be

your advice for

a budding chef? What

are the few things to be

kept in mind to succeed

in this highly dynamic

and challenging field?

Before you enter the

industry, be ready for

long and excruciating

working hours. You

can’t work by the clock

in this profession. It is

a highly creative field

and not everything goes

by the book. You need

to carve out new paths

on your own. Creating/

innovating on an everyday

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

42


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It does sometimes

happen that you are in

a tight spot due to an

unforeseen incident.

On such an occasion, the

chef needs to stay calm

and find solutions to not

only come out of the crisis,

but also execute it

equally well

basis. And, you learn

everyday. The budding

chefs also need to be

ready to meet the

guests, which will make

them understand and

evaluate the worth and

value of their product.

No food is good unless

it is relished and

appreciated by the

guest for whom it is

meant for.

Q

Which are the

characteristics

vital to make a chef

a true ambassador of

food?

An eye for detail,

creativity on your mind

and a love for food… if you have them, you are a

‘food ambassador’.

Q

How do you recall your career journey so far?

As you are about to hang up your boots in

about three months, what is your aim now?

The journey has been ‘delicious’ – to put it simply in

‘culinary’ term. I do wish to share my knowledge and

experience with the coming generation of hospitality

professionals so that they benefit and do well to serve the

industry in the coming times.

Q

As Vice President,

ITDC, the

additional

responsibility is of

looking after all

the units of ITDC

spread across the

country. However,

the task of being

the Corporate Chef

remains ever so

important

Any unfulfilled wish in your career that you

would like to pursue...

My 37-year career has given me everything that I have

ever aspired for and I am extremely happy and satisfied

at this stage of my career. My hard work and sense of

commitment have been suitably recognised in

the industry.


cover story f&b services chef talk news updates events beverage

Opting tents

to stay

Offering a comfortable stay in a remote location with all facilities has been a

niche mantra of hospitality that is offered through tented accommodations.

Be it a casual camp or a luxury tent, there is something unique about this

proposition that has struck a chord with travellers who are increasingly

looking for options. Though the path of setting up a tented accommodation

is riddled with operational issues and cumbersome marketing hurdles

afterwards to attract customers, the scope is immense and the industry

should explore this horizon of hospitality more. SANJEEV BHAR

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

44


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p Inside view of Manvar Desert Camp

p Kinner Camps

Pic: Ameya Gokaran


cover story f&b services chef talk news updates events beverage

p The cultural

evening at the camp

Pic:Manvar Resort & Camp

Would anyone give away

the comforts of sofas,

plush interiors, decorative

arts and well cushioned

beds for something

basic like charpoys (khaats), offering basic

needs to stay? Yes. The new age travellers

see experience in nothingness and limited

services that are available through tents

and camping facilities.

This sort of stay facility arguably started

with backpackers heading for isolated

locations and choosing to set up tents for

camping purpose. With time, organised

players picked up the trend and ensured

that tents offer not only a comfortable

stay but a luxurious one as well. Facilities

from hot water, wash basins to western

commode… all find place in tents these

days. Interiors can give competition to

best of mid-scale hotels having properly

arranged beds by refurbishing traditional

‘charpoys’, designed interiors and so on

that add a glamour quotient to the tents

and lure travellers to opt for it.

Critical issues

Thinking of tented accommodations,

one directly relates the facility with

weather conditions. The usual question

that pops up is how safe will it be to

keep it hospitable. Anshul Mediratta,

Managing Director, Virgin

Travel Spots & Co Founder Kings

Jungle, Sohna agrees, “Upkeep &

maintenance, proper caretaking etc.,

are critical issues. Also, the same

licensing issues as the other hospitality

projects would have, is faced by the

tented accommodations.” He also

says that one can club tented facilities

with eco-tourism/farm tourism and

can avail state loans for the projects.

“Different states have nice prospects, like

nice interest schemes, tax holidays, etc.,

to lure the investors. Interestingly, we

have not faced any major hurdle in setting

up tents. As a matter of fact, the State

governments turn supportive in such

kinds of projects,” he says.

Abbas A Zaidi, Owner, Jungle Niwas,

Ranthambore, ironically feels that

the government departments don’t

do anything to promote tented

accommodations. That said, there are

other hurdles of workmanship and

material related to tented camps which

are confined to some very limited places.

“Expert tent installers are difficult to get,

standards for construction (platforms,

bathrooms, etc.), ventilation are not

existing yet,” he explains. According to

him, tented accommodations do have a

Anshul Mediratta

Managing Director

Virgin Travel Spots &

Co-founder, Kings Jungle

Abbas A Zaidi

Owner

Jungle Niwas

Ranthambore

high operational cost owing to the need

of installation, de-installation and proper

storage in each season. That requires

mobilising of personnel and specialising

in these activities. Additionally, he

adds, to give the feel of nature in such

accommodation to tourists, the ‘pucca’

construction has to be maintained at the

bare minimum - which makes storage in

off-season more expensive.

The tents also face an issue of climatic

condition, which is of paramount

importance. Zaidi says, “We are open

in the cooler period - October till April

- which more-or-less coincides with the

peak season in Ranthambhore. There are

a growing number of ‘green’ tourists,

including nature photographers who

prefer to stay in tents. Foreign tourists

actually look forward to staying in tented

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guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

accommodation as they feel closer to

nature than in a brick construction.

On the environment front, tents can

withstand moderate dust and rainfall.

On the other hand, Pradeep Negi,

Owner, Kinnercamps has never had

any trouble with licenses and other

permissions as such. “We got our licenses

pretty easily having Himachal Pradesh’s

tourism friendly policies. The biggest

hurdle rather in tented accommodation

is the weather condition as an off-season

snowfall can damage our tents. Also,

sometimes locals create problems because

they feel tourists can cause security

problems in these remote villages where

thefts are unheard of.” This is an area

where the government has a role to

educate the locals.

Business dynamics

The Indian hospitality industry

contributes around 2.2 per cent of India’s

GDP. The industry is expected to reach

`230 billion (approx. US$ 5.2 billion) by

2015, growing at a robust CAGR of 12.2

per cent. India will be investing around

`448 billion (approx. US$ 10.1 billion)

in the hospitality industry in the next five

years, according to a report ‘The Indian

Hotel Industry Report - 2011 Edition’

by CYGNUS Business Consulting &

Research Firm. In the next two years,

a total investment of US$ 12.2 billion

(approx. `545.2 billion) is expected that

will add over 20 new international brands

in the hospitality sector. Referring to the

report, Mediratta says, “I feel that there

is an urgent need for more rooms and

more concept tourism to include large

and tented accommodation, since with

The best part is that tents can be erected

in minimum time and anywhere, provided

you fulfill all necessary requirements.

States like Rajasthan, Himachal

Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh,

Maharashtra, Haryana, down south to

northeast etc., have in fact indulged in

promoting this avenue of accommodation

its offbeat travel pitch it would play a

very important part in this scenario. The

tourism department demarcates areas

in different landscapes such as deserts,

riverbanks, forest reserves, etc., and

therefore it is one avenue that is going to

get bigger in the times to come.”

The business dynamics for tented

accommodations is growing. Negi says,

“To my knowledge Ladakh, Uttarakhand,

Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh

actively promote tented facilities. Any

natural environment near a water body is

an ideal spot for tented accommodation,

which should be explored far more.” He,

nonetheless, feels that the only deterrent

is the maintenance cost which is very

high. “Since tents can get easily damaged

in bad weather and also, seasonal

dismantling and putting it together back

again is a cost, the operational aspect

becomes tedious and an expensive affair.

A constant supervision is desired to make

sure that the water and electric supply is

fine to make the proposition profitable,”

he elaborates.

Rajasthan as a state offers an interesting

mix of hospitality products, and tents

have been quite successful there too.

To keep customers happy as they stay,

special attractions are created for them.

Bhanu Vikram Singh, Owner, Rajasthan

Royal Desert Camp says, “We mainly

organise fairs and festivals, cultural

activities like puppet show, Kalbeliya

dance, magic shows, etc. So, for a few

days of tourist traffic one needs to make

a lot of effort. And this can only be done

if a good number of advance booking has

been received, otherwise it could led to

revenue loss.” Similarly, Negi organises

campfires, treks, rock climbing, river

crossing and other activities to engage

travellers. There are no operational

hurdles as such in maintaining tents. All is

good, according to Singh, if one has good

number of advance bookings, trained

persons to assemble tents, set up proper

water and electric connection in tents.

Looking at the brighter side of these

accommodations, Mediratta says, “The

best part is that tents can be erected

in minimum time and anywhere,

provided you fulfill all necessary

requirements. States like Rajasthan,

p Kinner Camps

Pic: Ameya Gokaran


cover story f&b services chef talk news updates events beverage

q The Jeep Safari Camp

With all the trouble and uncertainty,

tented facilities are still liked by many as

an investment proposition. The growing

number of customers is good news. New

sets of customers, though skeptical, try to

make sure about the safety parameters

Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya

Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, down

south to northeast etc., have in fact

indulged in promoting this avenue of

accommodation. These days, tents

offer the best of services with all the

modern amenities and having them in

‘naturesque’ location would be a key for

the hospitality sector.”

Yet there are instances where companies

are shutting down tented facilities.

In south India, a company which was

operating in tented accommodations

refused to comment officially. Reason

- closing the tents. The tents were not

doing well and it warranted a closure

of the facility in order to reduce the

group’s losses. Not ready to come

on record, the company has now

withdrawn its plan and is replacing

the same with cottages. According

to the spokesperson, the business

viability of tents is not helping much.

Mediratta agrees. He says, “Yes, it is

tough on pockets. Regular upkeep and

maintenance is important to match up

with the standards of hotels as every

traveller seeks comfort during his/her

stay. Being made up of fabric rather

than concrete it becomes essential to

take extra care so as to prevent damage

and losses.”

Offering perfect

hospitality

With all the trouble and uncertainty,

tented facilities are still liked by many

as an investment proposition. The

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guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

q Jungle Niwas

availability, it will also make operation of

tents more cost-effective.

growing number of customers is good

news. New sets of customers, though

skeptical, try to make sure about the

safety parameters. Negi explains, “The

first question people ask is – ‘Is it safe?’

Secondly, people want to know if the

toilet and bathing area are inside. Also,

questions like ‘Will they get hot water?’

to funny questions like ‘Are wild

animals likely to enter the tent?’ arise

apart from standard of room service.”

People also want discounts since it is

not a brick and mortar construction, he

laughs, forgetting that tents are costly

too. Singh says, “A Swiss luxury tent

costs around `75,000 - 1,00,000.”

The basic necessity for a good tented

accommodation is a good safe location,

tents made of good material, hygienic

waste disposal system and clean toilets.

Zaidi feels, the mainstream tourists in

India still prefer ‘pucca’ accommodation

but the younger generation, being

more open to experimentation, is more

amenable to tented accommodation.

To that Mediratta argues, “It all

depends on which part of the segment

tent owners are targeting. We have

luxury tented options near NCR, which

targets mostly corporates and youth.

We give them the best of adventure

with sumptuous food options and a

comfortable stay.”

Future course

As tourism shifts from ‘popular’ to

‘green’ (the trends are already indicating

this), Zaidi feels that such camps/tents

will become more common. “And with

better techniques, material and personnel

Pic: Manvar Desert Camp

This is a niche segment. Hence,

Mediratta explains, it would require a

lot of marketing skills/initiatives and

know-how of the trend to make projects

successful. “In this context, we run a

resort consultancy wherein we help

people find out places and set up this

kind of facility clubbed with loads of

fun. We also make an ROI chart, where

people can break-even in a shorter time

horizon. We have a JV in the luxury

tented accommodation segment clubbed

with adventure facility in the NCR.

For future, we also plan to set up more

resorts in the lap of nature, alongwith the

best of tented accommodation facilities,”

he adds.

Tented facilities will have its ups

and downs. Negi says, “We have

received good response to our tented

accommodation. In our experience so

far, people love staying in tents in spite

of their initial apprehensions. It brings

them closer to ‘Mother Nature’ and that

is an enriching experience for them to

explore on more such opportunities.

We even have more and more student

groups coming.”

This avenue of accommodation brings a

unique sense of joy for the owners and

operators. Till the time people feel the

need to stay connected to nature and

prefer to stay that way while travelling,

tented facilities can expect to grow and

offer unique hospitality that they are

known to offer.


explore cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Establish yourself, gain confidence,

increase the brand

awareness and then move

on to new highs with more

expansion. This has been the mantra of

La Marvella, a boutique five-star luxury

hotel in the heart of south Bengaluru. The

hotel that opened in mid-2010 is now

the best performing hotel, claims Sudhir

Sinha, President & Chief Operating Officer,

Best Western India.

On the hospitality front, Bengaluru’s

landscape was initially limited only

to its north side. However, with

hoteliers making a beeline to the

south region to set up shop, the

demarcation between the north and

south area has blurred in recent times.

South Bengaluru is slowly but steadily

acquiring the glamour tag with rapid

transformation in recent times.

Talking about the opening days of the

hotel, Sinha reminisces, “When we first

established our presence in this side

of the city, we did manage to raise a

few eyebrows. People thought it was a

stupid decision to come to this side of

the city as the action in Benagluru back

then was limited to the northern part of

the city. But we looked at it differently.

This is the IT hub. There was demand

for accommodation and we realised that

supply needed to flow in.”

The hotel opened in the middle of the

recession. “Most hotels were cutting

down costs when we commenced

operations. But that did not make us

Marvel in a city

Luxury does not necessarily need to come with a price. With this motto,

Best Western Premier La Marvella has cashed in on the south Bengaluru landscape to

emerge as a top performing entity in the region. MEGHA PAUL

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

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guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

lose heart. The hotel began with a huge

marketing campaign for spreading

awareness. This showed results when

business picked up in mid-2011. In the

last three quarters of last year, the hotel

performed extremely well with 8-10 per

cent growth,” he reveals.

Nearer to business

The hotel now is growing with leaps

and bounds. However, the real

revelation is not that the hotel is a

commercial success. From a hotel

industry perspective, the message

from the hotel is that it is re-inventing

the paradigm of luxury hospitality in

India. One interesting new trend is that

unlike in the past, when hotels were

at the city centre, a large number of

new hotels started coming up where

their clients were based. There are

three main reasons behind this, says

the General Manager. “Availability

of land, lower land price outside the

central business district and huge

catchment areas for customers, thanks

to IT parks scattered outside the CBD

are the primary causes. This hotel has

positioned itself near the IT hub and

thus, gets a huge chunk of corporate

clientele,” he adds.

The F&B edge

With 49 rooms, the hotel is currently

luring customers with its F&B

offerings. “Generally, in January F&B

and conferencing drop. They pick up

in the latter half of February. Unlike

other business hotels where business

drops during December, this hotel did

exceptionally well last December, and

the credit goes to our F&B segment.

“F&B is the driving factor of the hotel.

With hoteliers making a beeline to

the south region to set up shop, the

demarcation between the north and south

area has blurred in recent times. South

Bengaluru is slowly but steadily acquiring

the glamour tag with rapid transformation

in recent times

Being close to the IT hub,

we witness a number

of corporate dining on

weekdays,” Sinha says.

In terms of performance,

45 per cent of the

hotel’s revenues is

garnered from ARRs

and 55 per cent comes

from F&B. “We do an

occupancy of 60 per

cent. Almost 40 per

cent of our clientele are

foreigners. The Best

Western tag has helped

us in grabbing eyeballs,

in terms of inbound

travellers,” he opines.

Meetings

unlimited

Conveniently located with ample

parking facility, La Marvella’s banquet

halls are the perfect venues to induce

guests. The spacious halls come with

every modern amenity. Apart from a

boardroom, the 49-room boutique fivestar

property sports two grand banquet

We do an

occupancy of 60

per cent. Almost

40 per cent of

our clientele are

foreigners. Thus,

the Best Western

tag has helped us in

grabbing eyeballs,

in terms of inbound

travellers

halls – Colosseum and

Aurum. The Colosseum

is the biggest conference

facility, which can

accommodate up to

300 people in theatre

style. With a capacity

to accommodate 100

guests, Aurum is the

second largest banquet

venue.

Expansion

spree

After having established

its presence, the hotel is

now looking at expanding

its property. “We plan

to increase the number

of rooms by another 50. Thus, we are

looking at almost doubling our room

inventory. As banqueting and F&B are

huge in the area, the new expansion

would include at least two more banquets

and one F&B outlet. We are also planning

to double the size of the pool and spa.

The hotel will start with restructuring

of banqueting and lobby followed by the

expansion of the rooms,” he points out.


gm canvas cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

canvas

A fantastic

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guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

As a new entrant two years

ago, The Leela Palace New

Delhi at Chanakyapuri has

now grown into business

reckoning in a manner that

every entity is taking notice of

it. Tamir Kobrin, General

Manager of the property, feels

that the New Delhi market

offered a challenge that has

been met and surpassed

creating a benchmark in luxury

hospitality. SANJEEV BHAR

Coming to India and being

here for five years has

been an experience that

Tamir Kobrin, General

Manager, The Leela Palace

Chanakyapuri in New Delhi relishes.

He came to India immediately after the

26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008 and

took charge of the Leela Palace Udaipur

as its General Manager. He recalls, “The

hotel was pitted against two established

brands in the city, but now we are among

the top performing hotels.” After that

he was asked to take charge of the Leela

Palace Chanakyapuri in New Delhi.

“It has been a stupendous journey for

two years here. In fact, this hotel has

changed the dynamics of Delhi hospitality

completely,” he remarks.

Capturing the

mindset

The hotel raised many doubts as it

entered at a premium cost in the city

and offered premium room nights.

Kobrin says, “We can only succeed

through excellence in service and

quality. Following our efforts, we are

commanding the highest rates in the

city. I am the lone player in the rates

we are operating. We are charging a


gm canvas cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

p The Lobby Lounge

premium. But why should people then

come to me? The fact is we have been

able to skim the top end of each hotel

in Delhi.” According to him, with

growing aspirations of people, they are

ready to pay a bit more for even better

quality having positioned as the premium

product and sustaining it.

Service

deliverance

The hotel has been steadily raising its

occupancy and RevPAR, both of which

has doubled, confirms Kobrin. He says,

“The city occupancy was at mid 70s last

year, which came down to higher 60s.

Considering just two years in operations,

we are at low 50s and expect to go better

by the end of this year.” From the days

of infancy, this hotel was sustained by

the F&B revenue, but now

room revenue has outgrown it.

“For every `1 crore of room

revenue, we earn `90 lakh

from F&B. With expectation of

occupancy rising, we are going

to get better,” he adds. The

occupancy of the hotel touched

65 per cent in January 2013

and it is expected to close the

FY2012-13 at low 50s with the

highest rates in the city. “Now,

we have a target to close at low 60s for

the current fiscal,” Kobrin asserts.

Empowerment

mantra

His simple philosophy to lead the team

is to empower staff to deliver the best

of service. “They should be able to take

Anything above and beyond an achievable

goal is not good. We have to live in reality

where we can exceed or meet it. Four

things are vital in meeting reality i.e.,

occupancy, market, relationship with

customers and expanding our success in

the leisure segment

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

54

Tamir Kobrin

General Manager, The Leela

Palace Chanakyapuri in

New Delhi

decisions and interact with

guests at a personal level.

Instant result can be achieved

only if guests’ concerns are

addressed immediately.

This is possible when we

can reduce the protocols of

taking permissions to deliver

service. It is vital to curtail

the delivery time to serve

guests better,” explains Kobrin.

According to him, hospitality is about

bringing the best in people. And India is

the best place to showcase hospitality.

“A hospitable nature is ingrained in

Indians that they bring from their home

environment. It allows you to paint a

wide empty canvas,” he adds.

He recalls, when I joined this hotel,

it needed a leadership. “Capt. Nair

had told me that ‘you have made the

Udaipur property the best; now I want

this property to be the best as well in the

city’. I wanted to give this vision to my

staff. A vision where we are the best,

we are premium and for what reasons

and finally, guests should feel that they

get value-for-money,” he elaborates. He

wanted that feeling to percolate down

to the 1000-staff. Operational efficiency

creeps in gradually with time and one can

achieve consistency in performance far


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

more effectively. Due to this reason, the

hotel now has 900 staff to manage it all.

Motivation is a quality that can do

wonders. If Kobrin has to be believed,

he did wonders by motivating his staff to

create a benchmark unprecedented for

a city hotel. “I made sure that my sales

& marketing team was not just selling

an expensive hotel of the city, but also

an experience and luxury for its guests

which come at premium value. Initially,

there was skepticism for selling rooms at

a high rate but now, they are not selling

anything less than `14,000 a night,” he

exclaims. He feels that the premium

factor comes with service deliverance

and quality.

In today’s dynamic

scenario, the SOPs

have to be flexible to

adapt themselves, he

feels. “Adaptability is

acceptability. We can

only do better if we

listen to what customers

have to say about our

service. It is vital to

evaluate customers’

experiences with the

hotel,” he emphasises.

It is also crucial to set

targets realistically.

“Anything above and

beyond achievable goal

is not good. We have

to live in reality where

we can either exceed

the target or meet it.

Four things are vital

in meeting reality i.e., occupancy,

market, relationship with customers

and expanding our success in the leisure

segment,” Kobrin professes.

On the other hand, the hotel has been

recognised by people for its standard

of service. “The hotel is awarded as

the top big & luxury hotel in Asia and

the top big, luxury & service hotel

in India by TripAdvisor. It tells you

what customers have to say about

you; whether you choose to look at

it or ignore it completely. We chose

to learn from it,” he points out.

“The hotel gets 43 per cent repeat

customers. Also, according to the law

Hospitality is

about bringing

out the best in

people. And

India is the best

place to showcase

hospitality. A

hospitable nature

is ingrained in

Indians that they

bring from their

home environment

p TripAdvisor Accolades for The Leela Palace New Delhi. Brian Payea, Head of Industry Relations,

TripAdvisor for Business (left) and Tamir Kobrin, General Manager, The Leela Palace New Delhi (right).

of average, if one is

topping TripAdvisor

then the chances

of getting business

increases by threefold,”

he adds.

But all was not rosy.

The hotel had its share

of bad comments too.

That did not deter

Kobrin. He says, “I

always made sure

to respond to those

customers individually

with sincerity and

acknowledged our

mistake if there was

any. Guests seek

honesty and a sense

of security from us.

Acknowledging mistakes is equally

important as is patting your back in

times of success. Therefore every

morning, there is a team meeting

for 20 minutes where we review

TripAdvisor comments and get to hear

the managers and their thoughts.”

Scoring on the

international

market

Delhi’s business is interesting as it

ranges from leisure to corporate to

diplomats and so on. He says, “Our

business mix consists of 75 per cent

international customers and remaining

domestic. Of the international pie, 60

per cent business comes from America

and then Britain, Europe, Southeast Asia

and so on. “We have been selected to

join the list of luxury properties featured

in Virtuoso. Also, Preferred Hotels &

Resorts is our marketing and operational

partner. These associations have uplifted

our luxury brand position in the US

markets. In fact, now FTOs from those

destinations are inquiring about our

brand from DMCs operating in India.

My thoughts are clear. The margins are

high in the leisure segment and this is

where I wish to command. We have

been able to take out some chunks of

leisure business from other leading hotel

brands in the city,” claims Kobrin.

“Delhi is also one of the markets

where State officials visit and 60 per

cent of the total business coming to

Delhi and Mumbai is shared by The

Leela Chanakyapuri and The Taj Mahal

Mumbai,” he claims. In December

2012 and January 2013, there were

four and five State guests visits in the

city respectively, and in each of these

months the hotel hosted three of them.

The hotel claims to have been profitable

since the first year of its operations

with an aim where every Re 1 spent

brings back Rs 2. “We want to achieve

exceptional guest satisfaction. We

started with a sense that we will do good

and we have achieved the desired results

for all to see and wonder,” Kobrin

chuckles to sum up the conversation.


perspective cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Then & Now

ITDC rises from the ashes

held press conference on March 19, 2013, Lalit K Panwar, Vice

Chairman & Managing Director, ITDC evoked the need to use

the power of being a public enterprise with absolute strong

fundamentals of the private institutions that have changed the

landscape of Indian hospitality.

It aimed to become a pioneer in tourism and Panwar recalled the

days where The Ashok came into the picture way back in 1955-

56. He believes that ITDC still has in it to be at the forefront.

But, comparing to the scenario 22 years ago, ITDC is again going

through the same pages of history. After enough slogging for

years under losses, it is showing some positive results. At a press

conference held recently, Lalit K Panwar said, “We have evolved

as a group by strengthening our performance in the last two

years, which is also getting reflected with the positive outcome

at the stock exchange where ITDC share has shown a strong

gain. We are extremely happy with our performance.” The

group is expecting to close the year as on March 31, 2013 at a

profit of `30 crore with an aim to reach `50 crore in the current

FY. Now it is a zero debt company.

Courtesy: TravTalk

22 years on…

Things have changed. It wants the best of both worlds;

public as well as private. Now ITDC wants to capitalise

on the front that it is a public sector enterprise and

simultaneously, cashing in on the key stalwarts of the

industry (in the private sector) who are ex-ITDC. At a recently

The company is focussing on non-hotel avenues like Event

Management, Duty Free/Travel Retail, Light & Sound shows,

etc. Renamed as Ashok Events (erstwhile Ashok Reservation

& Marketing Services), this event management arm has been

managing the flagship events of Ministry of Tourism, but is now

getting offers of managing events of other ministries. “In the last

two years, Ashok Events have managed events of 20 different

ministries, nationally and internationally,” Panwar said. ITDC

has trained 7,000 youths in the last two years under ‘Hunar Se

Rozgar Tak’ scheme by providing two months skill training, and

aims to train 10,000 students per year for the entire 12 th Five

Year Plan through our 16 hotels. Further, it is conducting ‘light

& sound’ shows at 20 heritage monuments and there are 20

additional requests to look into. It is also going aggressive in the

Duty Free/Travel Retail division where it has opened seaport

shops and adding airport shops at Coimbatore and Goa.

Someone in the conference asked if ITDC (or MOT) needs a

brand ambassador to promote itself more… the answer to that

was Minister of Tourism himself; a popular actor from the south,

said ITDC head. Now the question is - can Dr. K Chiranjeevi really

give a performance for a tourism and hospitality blockbuster?

Travel trade will have to again wait or watch, hopefully for not

another 22 years.

By Sanjeev Bhar

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

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profile

Swosti@30!

Completing three decades in the hospitality industry is no small feat. The Swosti Group has achieved

this not only to boost its business horizon but also to take forward the message of Odisha’s hospitality.

Turning 30 for many might

be a sign of ageing. But for

Swosti Group, it is a sign of

maturity. It showcases a ‘fresh’

feel through its refurbished Swosti Hotel

for the last three decades in the temple

city of Bhubaneswar. An ISO 9001-2008

accredited hotel, it has gone through remodelling

and is being presented as the

finest boutique hotel of the city.

The facade as well as the interiors now

give a magnificent look which is new

and modern. The lobby and guest rooms

have been redesigned, along with the

reception area, giving a completely

different ambience to what existed. It

appears far more beautiful and luxurious.

The hotel now has a comfortable,

intimate and welcoming setting.

Further, the property boasts Aqua – a

brand new multi-cuisine specialty

restaurant; Galeria – 24-hour Coffee

Shop and Oceana – a world-class pub.

J K Mohanty, Managing Director of the

group recalls, “Those days were amazing

when Swosti started its operations way

back in 1982. It was the first four star

hotel in Odisha. We offered the best of

facilities, the largest conference hall, and

of course, great food. The wonderful

guests we used to receive then continue

to be a part of the Swosti family even

today. It makes me nostalgic as I go back

to those days.”

Looking back

With Swosti Hotel coming to the fore

in 1982, it marked a new beginning

for Odisha hospitality. Since it offered

world-class services, Swosti had to make

no extra effort to become a popular

name. “I am very happy that Swosti

has again bounced back as a leading

hotel and the centre of attraction in

Bhubaneswar,” he says.

Recognition

Meanwhile, the Swosti Group took

up a new avatar and came up with

Swosti Premium Ltd. (erstwhile

Plaza), arguably eastern India’s largest

convention hotels in 2006. This

property has secured a fine position in

the market. The hotel was renovated

and it hasn’t looked back since then. In

2005, the group launched Swosti Palm

Resorts at Gopalpur-on-Sea.

Hotel Swosti, in particular, has had

many awards in its kitty including

the OASME Gold Star Award 1994,

International Trophy 1994 for the

promotion Touristique, Hospitality

India International Award 2007 and

many more. Similarly, Swosti Premium

had many recognitions coming its way

including the CSR Award by Tefla

2009. This apart, JK Mohanty has to his

credit awards like Rashtriya Samman

Puruskaar by India International Council

for Industries and Trade and the Global

Samman Award.

Creating a

brighter future

The group is eyeing a new goal of

expansion, but is concerned about the

shortage of manpower. Mohanty says,

“Having spent 30 years in the industry, I

feel it was all through a Iearning process

and establishing contacts worldwide.I now

feel that I must give back to the industry

my years of experience and contacts.”

Hence, Swosti Group is foraying into

the hospitality education sector and will

start our first institute in the hospitality

business this academic session.

Swosti Institute of Management &

Social Studies (SIMSS) has been formed

understanding the need to provide

high quality trained manpower for the

requirement of the hospitality sector and

the modern traveller. “Our experience

is based on the analysis of the feedback

received from our valuable guests staying

in our hotels from within India and

abroad, we wish to mould the students

into high quality professionals, fulfilling

requirements of the international

hospitality sector,” Mohanty sums up.


guest column cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

Promoting sustainable

tourism and developing CSR

The development of tourism in the Indian context lays emphasis on

sustainable tourism and the social dialogue within the tourism and hospitality

sector. These form a vital aspect for attracting international cooperation for

promoting tourism. GAURAV M J NEGI

Sustainable Tourism refers to

a level of tourism activity that

can be maintained over a long

term because it results in a net

benefit for the social, economic, natural

and cultural environments of the area

in which it takes place. The objective

of sustainable tourism is achieved by

balancing the needs of tourists with those

of the destination.

For sustainable tourism development

to prosper, we have to involve the

most important actor - the tourist.

However, the image of tourism as an

economic activity and the tourist as a

client seriously hampers any effort to

get the social factors count, involving

future generations. Tourists have to start

to understand that something is being

expected from them. (See Figure 1)

According to UNWTO, sustainable

tourism should “make optimal use of

environmental resources that constitute

a key element in tourism development,

maintain essential ecological processes

and help to conserve natural resources

and biodiversity. It should respect

the socio-cultural authenticity of host

communities, conserve their established

and living cultural heritage and traditional

values, and contribute to inter-cultural

understanding and tolerance. It should

also ensure viable, long-term economic

operations, provide equal socio-economic

benefits to all stakeholders, including

stable employment, income opportunities,

social services to host communities, and

contribute to poverty alleviation.”

Sustainable

development

A sustainable enterprise is a business that

does not negatively affect the global or

local environment, community, society

or economy. It is a key source of growth,

wealth creation, employment and decent

work; and takes into consideration

the differentiated impact of its policies

and practices on men and women.

Cooperation among governments,

businesses, employee and society

is required to promote sustainable

enterprises and guarantee the quality of

employment in a sustainable manner.

The competitiveness and capability

of enterprises within this fast-paced

globalising environment depends on

mutual trust, respect, non-discrimination

and good employee - management

relations among workers and employers.

Employees who are qualified and satisfied

with their working environment will

produce a better outcome both in

terms of enterprise performance and

enterprise engagement with social and

environmental issues.

Investing in workers includes the

development of training and the

promotion of decent and efficient work

environments by concentrating on the

human dimensions of productivity and

competitiveness.

CSR

We now discuss the concepts that

underline good stewardship for both

the natural and social environment.

This is Corporate Social Responsibility

(CSR). CSR is a voluntary, enterprisedriven

initiative. Such programmes have

emerged as a way for enterprises to

Figure 1 Components of sustainable tourism

Ecology Environment,

Natural Resources

Business Profitability

Customer

Business

Satisfaction

Profitability

S U S T A I N A B LE TOURISM

Socio economy

Social Culture

Local and National

Monuments

Economic and Social DECENT WORK Cultural Heritage

Development

Ethnic Groups

Job Creation

Living Culture

Working Conditions

Local Cultures

Indigenous Groups

Fig 1 Source: Diagram prepared by the ILO based on K. Langenfeld: ‘Tourism and Sustainable

Development’, GTZ, Sector Project, ITB Convention, Berlin, 2009.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

58


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

consider the impact of their operations

on society and affirm certain principles

and values within their own internal

processes and interactions with

external stakeholders. Companies

are responsible for their products,

services and the conditions under which

they produce them. CSR initiatives

go further than the minimal legal or

contractual requirements, but they do

not replace the role of the government,

collective bargaining or effective

industrial relations. Key factors of CSR

are transparency and accountability.

Different organisations have established

principles related to CSR that among

others, cover environmental and social

responsibilities (see Table 1).

Many companies including Carlson

Rezidor, Four Seasons and Hilton

have implemented skill enhancement

programmes, employee empowerment

and recognition initiatives, and mobility

opportunities for their employees.

(See Fig 3)

Aim to promote tourism sustainability

There is a wide range of international

instruments and agreements that

are designed to promote tourism

sustainability and have clear implications

in employment and decent work arenas.

In May 2010, 42 governments committed

to certain guidelines that provide

voluntary principles and standards

for responsible business practices in

accordance with applicable laws. Their

main objectives are:

• To ensure enterprise operations

remain consistent with government

policies,

• To enhance mutual confidence

Figure 3

Areas of Engagement

in Corporate Social

Responsibility Actions

Customer service 3%

Stakeholder involvement 6%

Supplier relations 17%

Host community support 34%

Internal management 40%

Figure 3 Source: Figures prepared based on

UNWTO: ‘CSR in Tourism Study’, Tourism

and the Millennium Development Goals,

Madrid, 2010, p. 11.

between enterprises and societies in

which they operate

• To assist the development of foreign

investment environments and to

strengthen contributions made

to sustainable development by

multinational enterprises.

Table 1

Main areas in which

CSR comes into play

Accountability

Including stakeholder engagement,

reporting on environmental and human

rights issues, performance related to

standards

Business conduct

Competitive conduct, corruption,

bribery, intellectual property rights,

political activities, proprietary

information

Community involvements

Community economic development,

employment of local and/or

underutilised workers, philanthropy

Corporate governance

Shareholders’ rights, conduct of

executive boards

Environment

Precautionary principles, input/

output, engagement of shareholders,

employee training, management

systems, public policy, sustainable

development

Human rights

Indigenous people’s rights, health

and safety, child and forced labour,

freedom of association, wages

and benefits, working conditions,

discipline

Marketplace/consumers

Marketing and advertising, product

quality and/or safety, consumer

privacy

Workplace/employers

Non-discrimination, training,

harassment/abuse, downsizing, child/

elder care, maternity/paternity leave

(Source: A. Kalisch: ‘Corporate

futures, social responsibility in

the tourism industry’, in Tourism

Concern, London, 2002.)

The Working Conditions (Hotels

and Restaurants) Convention,

1991 (No. 172), and the Working

Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants)

Recommendation, 1991 (No. 179),

set minimum standards to improve

working conditions, training and career

prospects in hotels, restaurants and

similar establishments, and noted that

collective bargaining is required to

enhance job security. This Convention

stipulates that the minimum standards

adopted at a national level should not

exclude workers. As of July 2010, only

15 countries had ratified this Convention.

The European Commission reported,

“CSR is the concept that makes an

enterprise accountable for its impact

on all relevant stakeholders. It is the

continuing commitment by business

to behave fairly and responsibly and to

contribute to economic development

while improving the quality of life of the

workforce and their families, as well as

the local community and society at large.”

(See: www.bsdglobal.com/issues/

eu_green_paper.asp, (accessed 24 Mar.

2010); C. Beddoe: Labour standards,

social responsibility and tourism,

Tourism Concern, 2004.)

To conclude, tourism, by definition,

involves a journey, a passage through

time, space and through a diversity

of cultures, peoples and pasts. In the

Indian context, tourism has a critical

role to play in generating knowledge,

dialogue and understanding across and

between cultures. It also has a critical

role in the development process. At

one level, the journeys of tourists may

be individual in nature, but on another

level the journeys of tourism forms a

part of exchange for development that is

inextricably linked.

Therefore, this on-going journey of

humanity is common for all and should

be made accessible to all. This common

journey needs research, reflection,

mediation, and coordination to ensure

that it functions as a creative and positive

force that works in harmony and balance

with the cultures that shape it.

(The writer of the article is a Research Scholar.

Views expressed by the author are personal.)


movements cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

new

faces

movements

within the hospitality trade

P K

Mohankumar

MD and CEO

Roots Corporation

Limited

iP K Mohankumar has been

appointed as the Managing

Director and Chief Executive Officer

of Roots Corporation Limited (RCL),

subsidiary of The Taj Group. In his

new role, Mohankumar will lead the

Management Team in consolidating

current operations of Ginger Hotels pan

India and spearhead fast track growth

and development in the domestic

market.

Prior to this new appointment,

Mohankumar served as Chief Operation

Officer of The Gateway Hotels & Resorts.

He brings a wealth of experience and

knowledge to the table after serving

more than 39 years in the hotel

industry. He will also be responsible

to bring in sharper focus to customer

engagement and deliver excellence in

all Ginger moments. At present, Ginger

Hotel has 27 properties across India.

Rajeev Babbar

Vice President –

Finance & Planning,

South Asia

Premier Inn

iRajeev Babbar joins Premier

Inn, a budget hotel chain in UK

and part of Whitbread PLC, as Vice

President – Finance & Planning, South

Asia (India, Sri Lanka and Maldives).

Prior to joining Premier Inn, Babbar

was working with Emaar MGF Land

Limited as Assistant Vice President

Finance – Hospitality and Treasury.

Babbar brings with him substantial

expertise, knowledge and experience

in several key areas of Finance and

Strategic Planning. At Premier Inn,

his core responsibilities will include

interaction with the capital markets

and leadership of the finance,

accounting, corporate mergers,

acquisitions and divestitures for

the company. In this role, he was

responsible for business development,

acquisitions, management tie-ups,

financial reporting and budgeting.

Sharad

Datta

General Manager

Hyderabad

Marriott Hotel

&Convention

Centre &

Courtyard

by Marriott,

Hyderabad

iSharad Datta joins Hyderabad

Marriott Hotel &Convention

Centre and Courtyard by Marriott,

Hyderabad as its General Manager.

He brings with him a rich and versatile

experience gained from having

worked with reputed brands such as

The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt

Hotels and Carlson Rezidor Hotels.

Over the years, Datta has worked

with The Regent, Renaissance, The

Hyatt (all in Mumbai) and The Oberoi

Hotels. His last assignment was with

Radisson BLU Dwarka, New Delhi as

its General Manager.

He is also an enthusiastic golfer and

thoroughly enjoys his Sunday morning

rounds of golf. Datta is also extremely

passionate about music and loves

playing classics such as the Beatles

on his guitar.

60

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

Shane Krige

General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore

iThe Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced the appointment of Shane Krige as General Manager of The Ritz-

Carlton, Bangalore which is set to open in summer 2013. He is responsible for all the pre-opening stages of

development and for the daily hotel operations of food & beverage, rooms and sales & marketing divisions once the

hotel is launched.

With over 15 years of experience, Krige joins The Ritz-Carlton from his role as the General Manager of The

Plaza New York. Prior to this, he distinguished himself in leadership roles in London and Dallas. He re-joins The Ritz-

Carlton Hotel Company after previously holding a senior management position at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington DC.


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Raman Deep Singh

General Manager

Mosaic Hotels, Noida

iMosaic Hotels, Noida has recently

announced the appointment of Raman

Deep Singh as the new General Manager.

He comes with 14 years of experience

in the hospitality sector and brings with

him an extensive pool of experience from

implementing new food and beverage

concepts to building strategic alliances

with various key figures and corporations in

the hospitality industry. Singh will play an

active role in the overall management of the

property with particular attention towards

maintaining and developing high quality

service and superior experiences.

Singh has worked with domestic and

international brands such as The Imperial

- New Delhi, Marriott, ITC, Clarks, Speke

Group of Hotels & Sodexo Food Solutions

India to name a few.

Sanjoy Kumar Das

General Manager

Radha Regent – A Sarovar Hotel, Chennai

iSanjoy Kumar Das has been

appointed as the General Manager

of Hotel Radha Regent – a Sarovar

Portico Hotel, Chennai. Prior to joining

Hotel Radha Regent, Das has led the

team at The Raintree Hotel, Chennai and

earlier worked at the Hilton Warwick,

United Kingdom, Taj Hotels and Resorts,

The Park Hotel Kolkata and Park Plaza

Ludhiana.

As GM of The Raintree, he renovated

and upgraded the F&B outlets making

them more thematic and competitive to

up-coming competition in Chennai’s 5-star

scenario. He was associated with Hilton

Hotels Worldwide in UK, where he spent

two fruitful years learning the nuances

of the European hospitality industry at

Warwick’s finest luxury hotel.

Sanjay Gupta

General Manager

Le Meridien Jaipur

iSanjay Gupta has joined the team

of Le Meridien Jaipur as the General

Manager of the hotel. Prior to joining

Le Meridien Jaipur, Gupta had been

instrumental in establishing Le Méridien

Coimbatore, the newest hotel in India by

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and

the 100th Le Méridien hotel globally for

the brand.

With a successful term at the Coimbatore

property, Gupta is keen to replicate his

significant work at Le Meridien Jaipur.

Having spent almost 19 years in the

hospitality industry, Gupta has also

worked at The Royal Orchid Group of

Hotels in Bengaluru. In his previous roles,

he has worked with The Oberoi Hotels and

Resorts and Trident Hotels, Mumbai in the

capacity of Food & Beverage Manager.

Sheetal Iyer

Director Sales &

Marketing

Sheraton Bangalore

Hotel at Brigade

Gateway

iSheetal Iyer has recently been appointed

the Director - Sales & Marketing in

the Sheraton Bangalore Hotel at Brigade

Gateway. With over 10 years’ experience in the

hospitality industry, Iyer has been associated

with brands like Zuri, Le Meridien and The

Oberoi. Her key expertise lies in developing

and implementing sales strategies in sync with

market conditions.

With a multi-faceted approach of open

mindedness, transparency and an experienced

leadership style, she helps her team to share

their thoughts, feel important and celebrate

success as a team. Speaking from a team

parlance, her primary focus is to keep the team

motivated and keep them from getting bogged

down by pressures and stress.

Rakesh

Chauhan

Executive Assistant

Manager

Hotel India Awadh,

Lucknow

iRakesh Chauhan has recently

joined Hotel India Awadh

Lucknow as an Executive Assistant

Manager. He brings with him over

14 years of experience in the

hospitality industry and possesses

notable expertise in revenue, costing,

management control and hotel

operations. Prior to joining Hotel India

Awadh, Chauhan was associated

with Peppermint Hotel as a Food &

Beverage Manager.

Chauhan brings with him 14 years

of experience in the hospitality

industry. He is a hotel management

graduate from the Institute of Hotel

Management – Chandigarh.

Dr. Jojy

Abraham

Manager – Siddh Spa

Hyatt Regency

Chennai

iDr. Jojy Abraham has been

appointed as Manager – Siddh

Spa at Hyatt Regency Chennai.

Hailing from Kerala, he brings along

an industry experience of more than

12 years from various renowned

properties.

In his new role, Abraham will be

supervising all activities related to

the spa, anticipating, identifying and

ensuring guest needs are met in the

best way possible, developing spa

marketing strategies by studying the

market, ensure costs are controlled

as per budget figures, manage

inventory effectively and assist the

team in their growth.


products & services cover story chef talk news updates events beverage

SUFI skincare range

Riding on the premium segment post the launch of SUFI essential oils

and Eau de Toilette in early 2012, The Imperial Spa and Salon launches

SUFI’s second phase of skincare range, its own brand of botanical and organic

skincare. The retail products have been expanded to include a vibrant new

selection and offering a tribute to women on the occasion of women’s day.

All the ingredients are ethically sourced and packed in recyclable airtight

containers that are lightweight and perfect for daily use or for travelling. Also

to pamper the non – resident guests with the goodness of the all new range

and the oils, an exclusive SUFI ‘Massage room’ was launched at The Imperial

Salon on the occasion.

Greenways Foods & Beverages

launches ‘Lounge Myx’

Greenways Foods & Beverages introduces Lounge Myx, a range of

non-alcoholic mixes created by a crew of professional bartenders

who are sticklers for perfection. All these recipes of cocktail mix has

been approved and

certified by Beverage

Testing Laboratory,

Chicago, USA (BTI

Chicago). These cocktail

& mocktail mixes are

the exact replica of the

internationally known

cocktails & mocktails.

Cocktails have been

around forever, and now

consumers can enjoy

ready-mixed cocktails at home, at dinner parties and functions without

spending the whole night behind a blender. Lounge Myx is priced at Rs 75

in 250 ml cans.

Costa Coffee

introduces

‘Mocha Berry’

Leading international

coffee chain Costa Coffee

has introduced Mocha Berry,

an innovative coffee based

beverage, across its outlets in

India. The new Mocha Berry

was the winning entry created

by Sachin Chawrsia, the

winner of Costa ‘Barista of the

Year 2012’.

Barista of the Year is a unique

initiative from Costa Coffee to

promote talent and creativity

among their Baristas across

countries of presence. Sachin

Chawrsia won the latest Indian

edition of the competition

with his innovative creation

- Mocha Berry. This coffee

combines the taste of the finest

Mocha with rich strawberry

sauce and chocolate, giving a

unique aroma, taste and body

to the beverage.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

62


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Victorinox knives & stand block

The legendary Swiss Army Knife manufacturer, Victorinox

brings its latest ‘Ceramic Line’ and ‘Knife Block XV’.

Ceramic Knives are becoming increasingly popular. The benefits

are the best possible cutting quality, the blade remaining sharp over

a very long period and the blade’s neutrality with regard to taste.

The Ceramic Blades (12 cm, 15 cm and 17 cm) are manufactured

from high purity Zinconium Oxide powder compressed at very

high pressures and sintered in furnaces at temperatures of 1500°C,

resulting in an extremely hard blade that is comparable to the

hardness of a diamond.

Victorinox offers three sizes of ceramic knives - the 12-cm paring

knife, the 15-cm carving knife and the 17-cm Santoku knife (a wellbalanced,

all-purpose knife that originated in Japan). Thanks to the

ceramic material, the knife is very light and weighs only half as much

as a steel knife of the same size would.

Baby Saffron for aroma

and flavour

Baby Saffron, a market leader of saffron in India, launches

the all new 1gm pack of powdered saffron for instant

effect with the same mesmerising aroma, colour and flavour.

Powdered saffron is just plain saffron highly recommended

for everyday users and busy chefs looking for powerful saffron

qualities and enchanting essence within a fraction of seconds.

The extra smooth powder is deep red in colour, which signifies

their high mixing power in all kinds of recipes.

The powder is stored in airtight glass jars with par to

international packing standards to preserve potency. Thus, if

stored properly it will not absorb moisture and the quality

will remain intact for a long time. Powdered saffron is by no

means inferior to saffron stigma and many gourmands enjoy

the convenience and economical advantage of using Baby

Saffron powder.

Cocoberry Sugar Free

Frozen Yogurt

The delectable sugar free and low fat frozen

yogurt, that is part of Cocoberry’s latest

offerings, goes a step further in pleasing the taste

buds of the calorie conscious. Now Cocoberry offers

not just low cal, but also sugar free yogurt.

With its new Sugar Free variant, Cocoberry serves

as the perfect heat busting delicacy for people of all

ages. The company will also shortly introduce sugar

free chocolates.


events cover story chef talk news updates explore beverage

National

Tourism Award

for Rajasthan

t Rakesh Srivastava, Principal Secretary and

Commissioner, Tourism, Govt. of Rajasthan,

receiving the National Tourism Award from

Pranab Mukherjee, Hon’ble President of India.

Rajasthan was awarded the

National Tourism Award for

the year 2011 – 2012 for being

the Second Best State in the category

of Comprehensive Development of the

Tourism Sector. Furthermore, the award

for Best Heritage Hotel was also given to

the State’s, Jaipur-based Samode Haveli.

The Hon’ble President of India,

Pranab Mukherjee presented awards to

all the winners of various categories.

Rakesh Srivastava, Principal Secretary

and Commissioner, Tourism, Govt. of

Rajasthan received the award from the

President. Dr K Chiranjeevi, Union

Minister for Tourism, and Parvez

Dewan, Secretary, Tourism,

Govt. of India, were also present at

the occasion.

The Rajasthan Relief Riders

Programme was also conferred with

a special award at the ceremony for

the most ‘Innovative and Unique

Tourism Project’.

HICC bags

the National

Tourism Award

for ‘Best

Standalone

Convention

Centre’

Hyderabad International

Convention Centre (HICC)

has been awarded the ‘Best

Standalone Convention Centre’ for

the year 2011-12 by the Ministry of

Tourism, Government of India. Pranab

Mukherjee, Honorable President of India,

presented the award to Peter Frawley,

General Manager - Delegate, Accor

Andhra Pradesh at the award ceremony

held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

64

Ministry of Tourism, Government of

India annually presents National Tourism

Awards to recognise and award the

contribution of various players in the

travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

Speaking on the occasion Peter

Frawley said, “We are delighted

to receive the award and this is

indeed a moment of great pride

for the Hyderabad International

Convention Centre (HICC) to win this

prestigious award for the fourth time

in a row. With the growing MICE

(Meetings, Incentives, Conventions &

Exhibitions) tourism sector in India,

HICC has established itself as the

preferred ‘convention destination’

in India and this award will further

strengthen our efforts to

position Hyderabad as the convention

capital of India.”


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National Tourism

Award for

disabled-friendly

monument

Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi,

President of India Pranab Mukherjee,

Sminu Jindal Managing Director

Jindal Saw, Founder Svayam and Abha Negi

at Nation Tourism Awards being awarded for

Making Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Best maintained

and disabled friendly monument.

Best Hotel

in Five Star

Category

Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi,

President of India Pranab Mukherjee

giving away Nation Tourism Awards

to Rajindera Kumar of Vivanta by Taj

Ambassador New Delhi for the ‘Best Hotel

in Five Star category. The award was given in

recognition to its significant contribution to

hospitality excellence.

National Tourism

Award for The

Oberoi, New Delhi

The Oberoi, New Delhi has been

recognised for its significant

contribution to tourism in the country

and unremitting commitment to excellence.

The luxury hotel has been awarded the

prestigious National Tourism Award in the

Best Five Star Deluxe category.

t (From left) Dr K Chiranjeevi, Minister of State for

Tourism, Pranab Mukherjee, President of India with Jay

Rathore, VP & GM, The Oberoi, New Delhi; Reuben

Kataria, EAM, The Oberoi at the event.


events cover story chef talk news updates explore beverage

HOTREMAI organised seminar during AAHAR 2013

On March 16, 2013 during

AAHAR-2013, the Hotel

& Restaurant

Equipment Manufacturers’ Association

of India (HOTREMAI) organised a

seminar on ‘Transformation of Hospitality

Supply Chain Management’, a panel

discussion by Hospitality Purchasing

Managers` Forum (HPMF) at Pragati

Maidan, New Delhi.

The core members of the HPMF

were present on the occasion. They

highlighted the importance of the supply

chain management in the perspective

of the industrial arena in general and

the hospitality sector in particular. The

seminar was knowledge-oriented and

was followed by a question-answer session.

The event was well attended by the

representatives of HOTREMAI member

companies and ITPO officials.

HOTREMAI ‘Get-Together’

As a part of its promotional

activity and with a view

to boost the recognition

and brand building of Hotel and

Restaurant Equipment Manufacturers

Association of India (HOTREMAI),

a ‘Get-together over Cocktail

and Dinner’ was organised by

HOTREMAI on March 15, 2013 after

the AAHAR exhibition hours in the

VIP Lounge at Pragati Maidan, New

Delhi. HOTREMAI exhibitors of

AAHAR-2013, professionals from the

hospitality industry and ITPO officials

were present on the occasion.

Earlier in the day, a jury comprising

of reputed professionals from the

hospitality industry was formed to

adjudge display in stalls of HOTRE-

MAI participants under three sizes of

stalls and pronounce awards. The stall

of M/s Ramsons Garments Finishing

Equipments, New Delhi was adjudged

the best stall in 100+ sqmt stall

category, while the best smaller stalls

(


events cover story chef talk news updates explore beverage

Women’s Day

celebration

at The Suryaa,

New Delhi

The Suryaa, New Delhi in

association with the Cancer

Patients Aid Association

organised a colourful and vibrant

afternoon on the occasion of International

Women’s Day. An initiative by Greesh

Bindra, VP & GM of the hotel, the event

was held at Sampan with the strong cause

of breast cancer awareness attached to it.

Cancer specialist Dr Kanchan Kaur spoke

about breast cancer awareness and modes

of self examination.

Talents awarded @ Culinary Art India

2013 competition

The Suryaa, New Delhi’s talent displayed and proved their culinary skills at the

Culinary Art India 2013 competition. Culinary Art India is a five-day event hosted

by the Indian Culinary Forum, held alongside AAHAR – an international food fair

at Pragati Maidan. Culinary Art India is an internationally-modeled annual chef

competition, where chefs from various properties are pitted against each other in

various categories and cuisines. This year it saw more than 250 chefs from all of north

India contesting for 16 different categories.

The Suryaa, New Delhi won medals in Artistic Pastry Display – where Chef

Anoop Paul won the Bronze Medal. Chef Rajesh Katoch won the Bronze Medal in

Three Course Set Dinner Menu. Chef Amar Singh Bisht won the Bronze Medal in the

Desserts category. Greesh Bindra, VP & GM of the hotel seen with the winners in

ther picture below.

The afternoon was complete with a lavish

spread of Pan Asian Cuisine and fun

activities like nail art and skin renewal

therapies at the venue. Guests seen

enjoying the afternoon were Sita Raina

(theater personality), Shefali Talwar

(actor and model), Neeta Mehta (author

of famous cook books), Dr Kanchan

Kaur (breast cancer specialist), Anuradha

Bindra, Rachna Kohli and Kiran Hukku

(CPAA) to name a few.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

68


guest column technology products & services travel explore fhrai desk analysis

Venus celebrates its 50 th anniversary

Venus Industries celebrated its 50 th year of its existence in the hospitality industry by organising a grand

celebration party on March 16, 2013 at the hotel Leela Kempinski, Gurgaon. Keeping in view its long lasting

relationship with the industry stakeholders, Venus Industries expressed its gratitude by congratulating others

for its success. J K Khurana, Chairperson of the group welcomed the gathering. His two sons and directors of the

company, Bimal Khurana and Vicky Khurana also played hosts for the evening.


events cover story chef talk news updates explore beverage

Grand Steinway Piano at The Imperial

Nostalgia at 1911 Brasserie

known for classic European

evenings with old world

western fare and live music, unveiled

‘The Grand Steinway S -155’,

synonymous with the finest pianos

since 1853. World renowned for

its high levels of craftsmanship and

painstaking attention to detail, each

handcrafted piano is an instrument

to reckon with. The Steinway is now

a part of the iconic heritage at The

Imperial New Delhi and it is now the

only five star deluxe hotel in India

to be a proud possessor of this

legendary piano.

Sharing his views, Vijay

Wanchoo, Sr. Executive Vice

President and GM said, “Nostalgia

imbues reflections of the era gone by

with exquisite specialties flambéed

on tables, coupled with vintage

and new wines in a picturesque

setting. The launch of ‘The Grand

Steinway S -155’ will enrich the

Nostalgia experience and will throw

a spotlight on unmatched piano

music, unearthing the soul, while

enchanting diners.

April 2013 I www.fhrai.com I

70


RNI No. DELENG/2000/1230

Posting Date 15-21 (Every Month)

Postal Reg. No. DL-(C)-01/1294/2012-2014 at MBC-1

Date of Publication 12-04-2013

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