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DALLAS–()–Luxury coach service Vonlane resuming all routes in Texas and Oklahoma on July 1st; introduces whole coach vacation charter and package delivery.
Airlines that are adding tracking at more points of the baggage journey are enjoying a huge improvement in bag delivery globally. The SITA 2019 Baggage IT Insights – officially launched at an event in Abu Dhabi International Airport today – shows that where tracking is done at check-in and loading onto the aircraft, the rate of improvement is as high as 66%.
These results come as the record drop in the baggage mishandling rate achieved globally over the past decade plateaus, with the rate steady at around 5.7 bags per thousand passengers over the past three years. In 2018, the rate was 5.69 per thousand passengers.
Over the past year, an increasing number of airlines and airports have started to introduce tracking at key points in the journey – check-in, loading onto the aircraft, transfers and arrival – to improve baggage management and further reduce the chances of a bag being mishandled. SITA’s research provides the first glimpse of the success of this tracking. It reveals that where bags were being tracked when loaded onto the aircraft, the rate of improvement ranged between 38% and 66% depending on the level of tracking introduced.
Peter Drummond, Director of Baggage at SITA, said: “While the mishandling rate has started to plateau over the past few years, this comes against a continued growth in passenger numbers and their bags. In 2018, 4.36 billion travelers checked in more than 4.27 billion bags. More bags makes things more challenging. Everyone across the industry needs to look beyond the process and technology improvements made in the past decade and adopt the latest technology such as tracking to make the next big cut in the rate of mishandled bags.”
Ahmed Juma Al Shamsi, Acting Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “For our passengers the timely delivery of baggage is key to ensuring a seamless passenger experience and therefore an area in which we continue to make further improvements. Looking forward, baggage tracking is fundamental to driving more accurate bag delivery not only at Abu Dhabi International Airport but across the entire passenger journey. We have led the way with the introduction of tracking on arrival and we have already seen significant improvements.”
Transferring baggage from one aircraft, or airline, to another remains a pinch point in the journey and in 2018 it was again the main reason for bags being mishandled. Transfer bags accounted for 46% of all mishandled bags.
Drummond added: “Transfer is by far the most difficult stage to track a bag as there are multiple airlines and airports involved. However, data from this year’s report shows that tracking at key points in the journey, such as transfers, will go a long way to eliminating mishandling and will allow airlines and their passengers to keep tabs on where their bags are at every step of the way.”
Over the past decade, total number of mishandled bags per annum has plummeted 47% from 46.9 million in 2007 to 24.8 million in 2018, while the annual bill footed by the industry has shrunk 43% to $2.4 billion, down from $4.22 billion in 2007.
Akaryn Hotel Group, a Thailand based boutique hotel specialist, is preparing to expand into international markets for the first time, with the launch of its pioneering hospitality brands in Indonesia and Vietnam.
In the coming months, two of the group’s hotel concepts will make their international debuts. Aleenta, the original barefoot luxury brand that first launched in Thailand in 2004, will be introduced to Bali, Indonesia’s “Island of the Gods”, and akyra, the trend-setting boutique brand, will arrive in Hoi An, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed port town in central Vietnam.
Aleenta Retreat Bali will be a spiritual sanctuary in the island’s mountainous north, an hour’s drive from Ubud. Designed in a classical low-rise Balinese style, this serene wellness retreat will feel a million miles away from the busy tourist resorts in the island’s south. Nestled in the lush, jungle-clad hills, this exquisite hideaway will allow guests to relax and reconnect with each other in paradise. The 50 rooms will be large and luxurious, whilst also exuding authenticity and being equipped with the latest amenities.
A spa village and yoga resort, Aleenta Retreat Bali will feature an extensive Ayurah Wellness centre, where guests can unwind with an array of soothing treatments, including traditional Balinese massages and natural therapies. An outdoor yoga area will overlook reflective ponds and a fitness centre will allow guests to enjoy an invigorating workout in paradise.
A choice of restaurants will focus on fresh, organic ingredients, while the Pool Bar will serve refreshing drinks during the day and after dark. Local handicrafts will be available at the Galleria boutique, and guests will have plenty of opportunities to head out and discover the local area, including Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital. Aleenta Retreat Bali will also provide an elegant setting for weddings and functions, with a choice of indoor or alfresco event spaces.
“Aleenta was our first brand and our pioneering resorts in Phuket and Hua Hin have become hugely popular among guests. Every Aleenta property is designed to reflect the timeless charm and character of its destination, featuring large living spaces and world-class facilities while also operating in harmony with the environment. Aleenta Retreat Bali will be a fantastic addition to our portfolio; secluded, spiritual and sensual, this sublime sanctuary will allow guests to discover the true essence of the Island of the Gods,” said ,” said AKARYN Hotel Group’s Founder and Managing Director, Anchalika Kijkanakorn.
Also opening its doors in 2019 will be akyra Hoi An, unique waterfront resort nestled midway between Hoi An’s historic town centre and golden China Beach. Located on the banks of the Thu Bon estuary, this low-rise boutique retreat will be accessible either by car or by boat and many of the 110 stylish rooms and pool villas will sit on the water’s edge.
Guests can soak up this stunning setting with a morning yoga class, a spa treatment at the Ayurah Wellness centre, a dip in the onsen or a workout in the modern fitness centre. Alternatively, they can simply plunge into the inviting outdoor infinity pool. Young guests will be kept entertained at the kids’ club, and all ages can discover delectable Vietnamese and international cuisine at a choice of two restaurants and a pool bar.
akyra Hoi An will provide the perfect balance between cultural exploration and tropical relaxation; the enchanting port town of Hoi An, with its diverse heritage and alluring architecture, is just a short distance away, while the golden sand and azure sea of Vietnam’s central coast is also easily accessible. It will also provide a spectacular setting for events and dream weddings.
“With its peaceful and picturesque waterfront setting, halfway between the city and the sea, akyra Hoi An will allow visitors to discover everything this charming destination has to offer. Guests who have experienced akyra’s hotels and resorts in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai will be familiar with the brand’s trend-setting style. We look forward to introducing guests to a new era of contemporary, cutting-edge hospitality in this idyllic location,” Anchalika added.
AKARYN Hotel Group currently operates a collection of captivating boutique hotels and resorts across Thailand, including Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi, Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga, akyra Beach Club Phuket, akyra Manor Chiang Mai, akyra Thonglor Bangkok and the most recent addition to its portfolio, akyra TAS Sukhumvit Bangkok. The group will continue to introduce its luxurious and personalised style of Asian hospitality to even more destinations across the region in the months and years ahead.
Many of us traveling around the globe on business have travel stories to tell. I spend more than 100 fully-paid nights every year in Hyatt Hotels around the world. Doing this, you get to know a brand more closely.
I am collecting my own list of heroes and honoring each of them eTN Heroes. You cannot buy eTN Heroes, and this title is a publisher’s recommendation based on personal experience.
I realize there are so many heroes in the hospitality industry and even more in the rest of the travel and tourism industry, so my personal experience is only a very small token of well-deserved recognition.
Today, I would like to introduce Cordelia Igel, a senior team leader at Vox Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt, Berlin, Germany as the latest eTN Hero.
Travelers like me experience hotels as a second home. When something doesn’t make sense, I am always outspoken and hope my criticism is heard. I want the businesses that cater to my travel to do well.
Loving my espresso every day is a passion many fellow travelers share. For me, it doesn’t make sense when international hotels cannot see that good espresso is a major selling point. For me, it’s a major buying point when selecting a hotel.
For example, I stopped staying at the Marriott Newark Airport where the Starbucks in this hotel is only open from 6 am to 10 am.
It boggles my mind because people come in 24 hours a day because after all, it’s an airport hotel.
With travelers arriving or leaving this hotel don’t always go by Eastern Standard time.
A good cup of coffee becomes as important as a good bed or a hot shower.
The same goes for food. I select hotels where I can get my breakfast, lunch, or dinner 24/7 because my body time clock is not always synchronized with the time in the destination.
Mistakes happen, especially when you’re jetlagged. One of the worst was when I picked up a suitcase that belonged to another passenger in Tokyo after arriving from Abu Dhabi and showed up at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo with the wrong luggage. Takashi Kai, Assistant Manager at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, was my first eTN Hero that day and managed this impossible and frustrating situation for me.
Here why I am so thankful to Cordelia Igel, the senior team leader at Vox Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Berlin, my latest eTN Hero.
In March during ITB I stayed at the hotel for 8 nights.
The hotel has a fantastic breakfast and a great pool/gym area along with a very central and exciting location close to Potsdamer Platz.
Rooms are a little small and average in Berlin, but acceptable. I may have been spoiled. I stayed at the Hyatt Haus Duesseldorf before arriving in Berlin during the same trip and also one night at the Park Hyatt Hamburg and loved my apartment and hotel suite. My apartment at Duesseldorf Hyatt Haus was over the top – washer, dryer, living room, bedroom, and an outside patio with a million dollar view, and enough space to entertain 100 people.
Here is why Cordelia at the Grand Hyatt Berlin is my hero. Attending a very busy trade show is always a challenge when managing a busy scheduled and sleep. My morning espresso is of utmost importance. In the past, when staying at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, I went to Starbucks across the street from the hotel, but this year, Starbucks was no longer there.
What were my options? As a Globalist member in the Hyatt loyalty program, my breakfast is always included. Hyatt Germany is not one of the hotels forcing Globalists to take their breakfast only in the Club lounge.
The continental breakfast at the Hyatt Grand Clun is usually not comparable with the wide variety of food found at VOX restaurant.
So everything was perfect in the morning, right? Wrong!
When trying the Club lounge espresso, I should have known it wasn’t up to my standards as it was served from a push-button machine. However, not all Grand Clubs are the same. At the Grand Hyatt Seoul, Korea the Espresso machine is the best I found in the Hyatt system so far.
At the Grand Hyatt Berlin, when dining in the hotel’s 5-star restaurant VOX, a 3-star espresso is served from a push-button machine.
When I asked the lead server, Cordelia, why they are serving such a superb breakfast and offer only a push button machine-made espresso she offered a solution.
The only good espresso machine in the hotel not using push-buttons was at the hotel bar. Cordelia went to the hotel bar and personally hand-crafted a cup of real espresso for me. She also managed to bring it back within one minute after pouring. Magical!
Every morning after that, Ms. Igel knew what to do. And for that extra touch of service and not hesitating a second to go above and beyond, Vielen Dank Frau Igel, you are my eTN Hero today.
Malta, the first location for Season One of Game of Thrones, plays host to the annual Valletta Film Festival (VFF), June 14-23, presented by the Film Grain Foundation. This year will mark the Fifth Anniversary of this exciting film lovers’ event. During the ten-day event, Valletta will be transformed into a live cinema with screenings and events taking place in historic buildings and outdoor venues including Pjazza Teatru Rjal and Pjazza San Ġorġ. Over the years, the streets of Valletta hosted various international productions like World War Z, Assassin’s Creed, The Count of Monte Cristo, Game of Thrones and Murder on the Orient Express.
The VFF attracts more than 10,000 visitors and is the largest cinematic event in Malta. “What makes Malta a unique setting for a film festival is that the Maltese Islands themselves are world famous for film production,” said Oliver Mallia, Co-Founder and Co-Director with Slavko Vukanovic, both film producers in their own right. “Movie buffs can visit locations used for the sets of such headliners as the Game of Thrones, and blockbuster films including Gladiator and Troy.”
Malta offers Valletta Film Festival goers a transformative experience, witnessing where major blockbusters have been filmed while at the same time watching a number of Europe’s newest films. The festival will screen over forty feature films, twenty-four short films, and organizes many different master classes and workshops.
VFF 2019 will introduce the first Cinema of Small Nations Competition open to feature-length and short films from small countries in Europe and the Middle East. This competition will put a spotlight on the reality of cinema in small nations, and will highlight the abundance of talent and creativity that is often seen in films produced by filmmakers in these countries.
Michelle Buttigieg, Malta Tourism Authority representative in North America, noted “Film Tourism is trending and very popular with American and Canadian tourists who love to travel for film festivals as well as visit the locations of their favorite movies or TV Series. Malta’s movie sets include the iconic Popeye’s Village which is still one the Islands’ most popular tourist attractions, to the hottest HBO show, Game of Thrones, which started in Malta.”
For the VFF 2019 #VFF5 program visit https://www.vallettafilmfestival.com/
To purchase VFF 2019 passes visit https://www.vallettafilmfestival.com/2019-festival-pass-tickets/
The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta built by the proud Knights of St. John is one of the UNESCO sites and was the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 7,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.
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HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, accompanied by HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and HH Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated on Saturday the new Khorfakkan highway. Extending 89 kilometers and with an estimated cost of Dh 6 billion, the new highway is the latest addition to the world-class roads network of Sharjah and the UAE, linking the arterial Emirates Road (E611) in Sharjah with Wadi Shi Square in Khorfakkan.
HH the Ruler of Sharjah and HH the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah inspected the intersections, tunnels and underground crossings of the new highway that passes through deserts, plains and mountains. The highway includes 14 intersections, and 7 underground crossings along with five pairs of tunnels dug through high mountains. These include Al Sidra Tunnel (2700 metres), which is the longest covered mountain tunnel in the Middle East.
Their Highnesses also inspected Al Rafisah Dam, one of the most important family tourism destinations in Khorfakkan. Spanning a total area of 10,684 square metres, it includes a mosque, outdoor seating area for 300 people, car parking for 45 vehicle, a walkway, and three playing areas spanning 410 sqm.
HH Ruler of Sharjah laid the foundation stone for the branch of Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Khorfakkan on this occasion. The Academy will grant students a bachelor’s degree in applied, theoretical and maritime sciences. He also inaugurated the Khorfakkan Lakes and Fountains Project at the entrance of Khorfakkan. It features 4 lagoons and a number of fountains. It is surrounded by cedar trees in all directions, transforming the place into a massive park.
He also unveiled the Resistance Monument, which bears a historical and symbolic significance for the city’s authentic heritage, and is a testament to the steadfastness of the Khorfakkan people in the face of the Portuguese invasion in the early 15th century.
The leaders also went up to the top of the mountain, where the unique Al Rabi Tower sits, which is distinguished by its unique architecture, to unveil the memorial plaque of the tower that introduces the tower and the history of its construction. He also inaugurated “Al Adwani Tower” located on a hilltop near the Khorfakkan Port besides unveiling a memorial plaque for the excavations of the ancient Khorfakkan wall.
Later, the leaders attended the premiere of the film “Khorfakkan 1507” which is inspired by the book, “Khorfakkan’s resistance against the Portuguese invasion of September 1507” authored by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed al Qasimi. The film has been produced by the Sharjah Broadcasting Authority in cooperation with Get Go Films Ltd.
More than 300 people, including Emirati and Arab artists and producers, took part in the making of the historical film. The film was shot on the shores of Khorfakkan and the ancient city. Through the film, HH Ruler of Sharjah aims to promote the idea of Khorfakkan’s resistance at that important era of the country’s history, and to introduce current generations to the hardship suffered by Khorfakkan and its rebels due to the Portuguese unlawful invasion and occupation.
On this occasion, HH Sharjah Ruler also announced that many more projects will continue to be developed in Khorfakkan to increase the beauty of the city, and provide it with all educational, sports and leisure facilities.
He also promised to develop Shis area along the lines of Al Rafisah besides establishing Khorfakkan Sports City. The projects at the entrance of Khorfakkan will also continue with a new Clock Tower being built along with the Cultural Palace which will include theatres, libraries and halls for all cultural activities, he added. HH Ruler of Sharjah also promised a new corniche project that will extend from Zubarah beach to Luluah areas, and will be named Al Sabihiyah Beach. Also he announced that the Khorfakkan branch of Sharjah University would be developed into the Khorfakkan University within 2 years.
In advance of the highly anticipated opening of the first Four Seasons hotel in Spain, Christoph Schmidinger has been appointed opening General Manager to oversee the new luxury hotel set to open in late 2019. Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Madrid will be located in the heart of the historical city center, converting several spectacular heritage buildings into a 200-room hotel and 22 Private Residences.
Schmidinger started his Four Seasons career 25 years ago, and after a series of international assignments in Singapore, Chicago, Atlanta, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, he assumed leadership at the landmark Four Seasons Hotel New York in Midtown Manhattan, overseeing several other properties as Regional Vice President. His ascent in the company continued when he was appointed General Manager and Regional Vice President to the company’s flagship property in Asia, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, where he has been since 2014.
Under his leadership, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, home to the first Cantonese restaurant in the world to earn three Michelin stars, set the global record for the most Michelin stars at a single hotel. The Hotel has also been widely regarded as one of the finest luxury hotels in China, and around the globe.
“Christoph is an incredibly experienced and talented hotelier, and we are very lucky to have had him lead some of our most notable properties around the world,” said Simon Casson, President, Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “His experience and expertise are what make him the perfect candidate for our new hotel in Madrid, a project that is incredibly important to Four Seasons growth as it will mark our entry into Spain in a thriving international city, and a key destination for luxury travelers.”
“I am very proud to be part of such a significant milestone in our company’s history, and to lead the team as we introduce the Four Seasons brand to Spain with this exquisite hotel,” said Schmidinger. “This project is exceptional in every way, from its location to the destination, the product and our partners at OHL Desarrollos and Mohari Hospitality, and I cannot wait to welcome guests to see for themselves and to experience this great city in a new way together with Four Seasons.”
Truly an international individual, Schmidinger has travelled extensively, starting at a young age with his family, and speaks four languages. Combining his love for travel and hospitality, he studied at the Certificate of Hotel and Tourism Administration Academy in Salzburg, Austria before holding managerial positions at renowned hotels around the world, and then joining Four Seasons.
Casson continues, “Christoph is already hard at work preparing for the upcoming opening of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Madrid, and I have no doubt that he is the ideal leader to introduce the Four Seasons culture, brand, and people to this great city, positioning yet another iconic Four Seasons property for great success.”
Vietjet today opens ticket sales for its new international route connecting the biggest city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City with Bali (Indonesia). Vietjet is the first and only airline to operate this route, which will better link the two tourist-attraction cities to meet the increasing travel demands of local people and tourists as well as boosting the regional trade promotion and integration. Hongkognese will be more convenient to travel these two cities.
The Ho Chi Minh City– Bali route will operate five return flights per week, on every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday starting from May 29, 2019. Flying time is around 4 hours per leg. The flight departs from Ho Chi Minh City at 08:05 and arrives in Bali at 13:05. The return flight takes off from Bali at 14:05 and lands in Ho Chi Minh City at 17:05 (All in local times).
Vietjet Vice President Nguyen Thanh Son said: “Vietjet has the advantages of an expanding flight network and comfortable, friendly aviation services; therefore, I believe that the new route will not only create opportunities for people to travel by safe, civilized and modern air transport, but also connect two cities as known as two economic, cultural centers of Vietnam and Indonesia. The route will contribute to promoting tourism and economic integration in the region as well as introduce the images of Vietnam to the world.”
Bali – the popular tourist island of Indonesia and Asia is often called among travelholics as ––“Island of the Gods”, “Tropical Paradise” or “Dawn of the World”. Voted as the best tourist island in the world, Bali is a wonderful blend between the pristine, beautiful landscape with the local cultural, artistic and religious quintessence. Besides visiting Ubud Palace, discovering the famous town Bedugul with large Bratan lake, tourists can go surfing, ‘snorkeling’ diving or visiting endless terraced fields.
Vietnam, the country of thousand years of culture was always a favorite destination of many international tourists. If Hanoi capital is a representative of ancient culture, bold identity; Hue ancient capital is dreaming or Da Nang, Quang Binh are impressive wonders, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest economic, financial central, vibrant and modern travel destination. The culture exchange trend and retaining characteristics make image and beauty of one of the most dynamic cities of the S-shaped country.
Ottawa Tourism, Shaw Centre and Invest Ottawa are collaborating to launch a program to bring more conferences and conventions to Canada’s capital city through the creation of local ambassadors. In addition to attracting potential ambassadors, the ThinkOttawa program also offers a number of solutions and support services to help win and deliver events across the city.
The program appeals to potential ambassadors by asking if they are trailblazers in their industry and wish to be the sort of leader that leaves a legacy. In particular, to increase engagement, ThinkOttawa highlights four key benefits to becoming an ambassador:
• Raised Profile – hosting an international conference can heighten the visibility of an ambassador’s work – whilst potentially generating additional research funding.
• Impact an Industry – with many international events only ever visiting a city once, it is an opportunity to leave a legacy in the ambassador’s industry and the city as a whole.
• Networking – ambassadorship provides a unique opportunity to expand networks, develop relationships and build research partnerships locally and across the world.
• Recognition – be recognised for their efforts in championing an event at annual awards attended by peers, government leaders and other industry experts.
The program also demonstrates how much support Ottawa Tourism, Shaw Centre and Invest Ottawa can offer ambassadors throughout the organising process:
• Bid Development – ThinkOttawa will work with ambassadors to prepare a customised and polished bid document and presentation.
• Venue and Accommodation – as destination experts the ThinkOttawa team will recommend and source proposals from venues and accommodation providers.
• Government, Community and Partnership Support – letters of support can be obtained from key stakeholders, partners and municipal government where applicable to help both the bid and organising process.
• Marketing and Promotional Materials – access to promotional photos and videos that showcase the city and its unique offerings will help in the initial bid process as well as securing attendance at the event itself.
• Financial Support – Ottawa Tourism offers funding programs designed to assist eligible organisations with exhibition and meeting space rental costs as well as other areas of expenditure.
“Ambassador programs are not unusual in the world of association conferences and congresses but we wanted to go the extra mile and create a truly bespoke offering for those individuals wanting to get involved,” comments Ottawa Tourism’s Vice President, Meetings and Major Events, Lesley Mackay.
“Specifically, we are looking to help those individuals become leaders, share knowledge, connect, introduce ThinkOttawa and identify opportunities for the city. As Canada’s capital we are home to national and international association representatives all looking to host events in creative and inspiring spaces. We want to show them why Ottawa is the perfect destination and how easy it is to hold events here.”
With the support of hotel company Jin Jiang, Radisson Hotel Group is positioning itself in South Asia at the Hotel Investment Conference South Asia (HICSA) 2019.
With the recent appointment of Zubin Saxena as Managing Director and Vice President Operations, South Asia, the region is steadfast towards providing value add to owners through strong relationships with an increased focus on operational excellence, both the region’s core pillars of success.
As the group enters the second year of Destination 2022, its 5-year strategic roadmap, extensive expansion is underway across the region. Radisson Hotel Group signed 15 hotels in India in 2018, and it has already signed 4 more properties in 2019: Park Plaza Amritsar, Radisson Greater Noida, Radisson Gurugram Sohna Road City Center, and Park Inn by Radisson Kashipur.
Seven new hotels were opened in India in 2018, and the group is on track to reach the landmark of opening its 100th hotel in India this year. Radisson Hotel Group intends to introduce international hospitality to a series of fast-growing Tier II and III cities, as well as emerging areas such as North East and Central India.
New hotels set to open within the next 12 months include India’s first Radisson RED hotel, located in Mohali, which will usher in an exciting new era of contemporary, creative hospitality to India.