New Member – Swarnali Sikder

sikderWith living experience in the UK, Middle East , India and Australia Swarnali bring to AITTC her background from the fashion, food and cultural exposures for integration with travel and tourism elements to move AITTC forward.

She is the founder of Indian Spice Bar, a company that sells ranges of spices to various outlets in Australia and overseas inspiring passion for food and cuisine delights from different parts of the world including India.

She has been featured in many international fashion magazines and television channels.

Dates for cricket with India announced.

cricketCricket Australia has revealed its schedule for the summer of cricket, but admitted there was no guarantee the final list would look the same as the sport responds to the coronavirus pandemic.Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday night confirmed dates for the marquee India tour, with Brisbane locked in to host the first Test on December 3 before a day-night clash in Adelaide and the traditional Boxing Day and New Year’s fixtures in Melbourne and Sydney.

  • Australia v India — The Gabba (December 3- 7)
  • Australia v India — Adelaide Oval (December 11 – 15)
  • Boxing Day Test, Australia v India — MCG (December 26 – 30)
  • Pink Test, Australia v India — SCG (January 3 – 7)

Novotel Chandigarh Tribune Chowk

Accor LogoMedia reports in India state Accor to establish presence in Chandigarh with the one of the most recognised brands, Novotel.

A 30-minute drive from Chandigarh International Airport, Novotel Chandigarh Tribune Chowk is in the city centre and offers close proximity to government offices, shopping areas and high-end residences.The hotel will feature 120 rooms, two F&B outlets, event rooms, and recreational facilities including a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

This 21st Novotel is scheduled to open by early 2021.

Speaking on the announcement, Lokesh Sabharwal, Vice President, Development and Special Projects, Accor India and South Asia, said. “The Indian market has always been opportune for Accor and, we are noticing some very interesting opportunities for growing our mid-scale and midscale-lifestyle brands. As part of our densification strategy, we continue to have meaningful conversations with existing partners and hotel investors keen to work with Accor who see long-term value in the business. For a market like Chandigarh, which attracts both leisure and corporate, Novotel is the ideal debut brand and we are certain of its success in the city.”

Ministry of Tourism India Operational Recommendations for Tourism Service Providers

mtiGiven the current COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that all tourism service providers, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality units take suitable measures to restrict any further transmission of the virus while providing accommodation and other tourist services post lockdown.

Ministry of Tourism India has issued recommendations which aim to minimize all possible physical contacts between a Staff and Guest and maintain social distancing and other preventive and safety measures against COVID-19. It also endeavors to make the traceability of the guests easier, in case a situation in future warrants so. These recommendations which can be found in the Ministry of Tourism India website ( are subject to the provisions of any law, rules or any other directions issued by the competent regulatory authorities of the respective State or Central Government from time to time, which will override these guidelines.

Dekho Apna Desh Webinar by Ministry of Tourism India

tigerTo revitalise the tourism industry in India which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism since April has introduced over 40 webinars on YouTube focusing a particular destinations or an aspect on each episode from what to see in cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi and Bhopal to experiencing wildlife or taking on a golfing or bicycle tour. All of them have been extremely popular with the audience in the domestic sector as well as among the international travellers worldwide including Australia. The videos can be found in the Ministry of Tourism India website (


luxWith international travel disruptions significantly impacting the industry, the originally planned 2020 Luxperience – one of Southern Hemisphere’s biggest travel industry event will be replaced with a Virtual Event to take place 13-16 October 2020.

Luxperience’s new Virtual Event will build on the key features of the physical event and provide an exclusive invitation to network with our global community of luxury travel buyers through the safety of tailor-made virtual meetings, bespoke workshops, insightful webinars and online keynote experiences.

The virtual event will incorporate all the hallmarks of the successful physical event including its pre-scheduled appointments format, as well as translating the education program into engaging online workshops and insightful industry keynote presentations. The event will also continue to pre-qualify all participants to ensure that only senior decision makers, with a proven history of purchasing can take part in the online meeting program.

Joining the inaugural virtual event allows participants to connect in ways both old and new and make the most out of a tailored online experience.The central feature of Luxperience is the Appointment Program. Theses pre-scheduled diaries provide delegates with a personalised diary of appointments and are matched exclusively to their business needs and interests

Taj Hotels & Resorts

tajIndian Hotels Company (IHCL), South Asia’s largest hospitality company’s most acclaimed property the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai has been accorded the highest guest satisfaction score amongst its hospitality peers globally for the year 2019-2020 for the third consecutive year

As a brand Taj was earlier ranked Number One on the list of the strongest Indian brands by Brand Finance in their coveted ‘India 100 2020’ report. Taj has got the rare distinction of be-ing ranked the highest across brands in all sectors.

Brand Finance defines Brand Strength as the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures, relative to its competitors. Each brand is assigned a BSI score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the calculations, each brand is assigned a cor-responding rating up to AAA in a format similar to credit rating.

Rescue flights repatriating stranded Indians in Australia and Australians in India

airindiaBecause of the corona virus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, border closures and cancellation of commercial flights several thousands of Australian got stuck in India since late March and vice versa Indians in Australia. Since then over 6000 have returned home from India and Australia either on privately chartered flights or by the ones operated by Qantas and Air India.

Under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express started operating international flights from May 7 onwards to repatriate stranded Indians from abroad including Australia. The first phase was from May 7 to May 16, following which further phases began. A job very well managed and synchronized by Anil Kaul Head of Air India in Australia in collaboration with the Indian High Commission in Canberra and Consulates in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

The rescue flights back to India and back to Australia are coordinated by the offices of the respective High Commissions and the Consulates in alliance with respective government authorities. The cost for the flights has to be borne by the passengers

Any traveller currently stranded in either India or Australia if keen on return needs to first register their presence and request for repatriation with the respective High Commission/Consulate.

Please note that as per present regulation all passengers arriving Australia and India will need to undergo mandatory quarantine as per the strict protocols framed by the Governments.

Great Barrier Reef Welcomes Epic Underwater Museum

underwaterGreat Barrier Reef in north-eastern coastline of Australia is one of the nation’s most visited destination. A new attraction in the region is the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). As the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, MOUA will act to highlight reef conservation, restoration and education on a global scale. This unique gallery offers a contemporary platform to share the stories of the reef, and the culture of its First Nations people, as well as spark a meaningful conversation and solution to reef conservation.

Located approximately 80kms of the coast of  Townsville, the art collection installed 18 metres beneath the surface on the natural sandy inlet of John Brewer Reef  have been conceptualized by world-famous underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor who is among the first wave of new-generation artists to dive into the underwater realm and highlight it as an artistic exhibition space.His permanent underwater works span several continents, including in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Lanzarote, with each project exploring themes of conservation and environmental activism. All projects aim to open debate about our relationship to our seas and highlight the importance of conserving them.

Two installations are already in place with a further two locations planned at Magnetic and Palm Islands

The MOUA will feature incredible installations and sculptures that will be partially and fully submerged with the changing tides. One of the first, and largest, artworks to be installed is The Coral Greenhouse, which is uniquely designed to allow current to pass through while providing a cultivation platform for juvenile corals.“Our oceans are going through rapid change, and there are huge threats, from rising sea temperatures to acidification, and a large amount of pollution entering the system,” Jason said.

“Part of creating an underwater museum is about changing our value systems – thinking about the sea floor as something sacred, something that we should be protecting and not taking for granted.”

The project’s collaborators are also very conscious about the potentially negative consequences of an increase in tourism to the region.

“MOUA is looking at many operational models, from encouraging local visitors more than overseas ones, to electric powerboats and providing stationary pontoons at the site to reduce the amount of travel needed,” according to Jason.

As a true artist and environmentalist, Jason believes that once the works are submerged they no longer belong to him – they belong to the ocean and all the creatures that live there.


AFTA Board Appoints New Chief

aftaThe Board of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) recently appointed Darren Rudd as CEO.AFTA Chair Tom Manwaring said Mr Rudd was selected following a rigorous executive recruitment process.

“Darren is an outstanding choice, with a wealth of experience across business and stakeholder management. The skills and networks he brings to the role will be invaluable as we navigate the new and emerging industry landscape.”

Mr Rudd joins AFTA from the global information services business Tata Consultancy Services where he has served as Head of Corporate Affairs in Australia and New Zealand for the past four years. This position has given him the opportunity to play a role in the Australia – India business relationships at strategic and policy making levels and this experience will be of value to contribute to the growth of Australia- India business and leisure travel.

He brings to the organisation extensive experience in strategic marketing and corporate engagement, including 11 years as GM Services Business Group Asia/Pacific for Alcatel-Lucent and five years as Lead Corporate Affairs Manager at NBN. The appointment also marks full circle for the new CEO. Mr Rudd began his career in Hong Kong designing core Hotel Information Systems (HIS/IBM).

After taking on the role Darren said, “It is an honour to join AFTA at this critical time. I look forward to working with members, the Board and industry stakeholders as we work our way through the current economic difficulties and the challenges that lie ahead.The future is very different to that which we imagined 6 months ago. Yet travel and tourism remain cornerstones of the Australian economy. It is important that governments and regulators understand that getting the policy and regulatory settings right will not only help the sector but contribute substantially to the nation’s overall economic wellbeing.”