E d i t
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 1
Oman is beautiful and I had the opportunity to spend 3 days in this wonderful country.
Muscat often referred to as the "walled city", has a lot to attract tourists. To get a glimpse
of the city a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour with the Big Bus Tour would be ideal. Not
to be missed is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque - the third largest mosque in the world
(accommodating up to 20,000 worshippers). In Muscat I stayed at Shangri-La’s Barr Al
Jissah Resort & Spa a property spread over 124 acres that has 3 hotels in its complex.
Went also to the Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid. Tour Oman were kind enough to
organize the tour. They are looking at the Indian market in a big way.
With 10,147 exhibitors from 189 countries – more than two-thirds of whom came
from abroad – were represented in 26 halls which were booked to capacity and some
114,000 trade visitors (2013: 109,616) travelling to Berlin it seems the global travel
industry is once again on course for rapid growth. This year’s ITB Berlin reported a four
per cent rise in trade visitors and an increase in business volume, which Messe Berlin
estimates reached 6.5 billion euros. The focus of the world’s leading travel trade fair was
on mobile bookings and on sustainable practices in tourism. We have reviewed this
Express Inn has already been ranked number one in Nashik on Trip Advisor recently
launched their Presidential Enclave wing. Built on the top-most floor of the property the
Presidential Enclave provides a sprawling view of the city on one side and the famous
Pandav-Leni on the other. The Presidential Enclave Floor consists of five suites, one
Chairman Suite, one Presidential Suite, Freesia Lounge with a library and finally a
Smoking Lounge. In near future they plan to have butler service also.
It was quite impressive and surprised me that any owner would create such a
luxurious suite in a tier II city. We have done a photo feature on the Presidential Enclave.
ANMsoft Technologies provides low risk – cost effective solutions to address
complex business requirement of its client. Established just a decade back, ONTRA the
Travel practice division of ANMsoft Technologies is quite popular in the hospitality
world. Ontra is supporting large scale tour operators / OTAs / Travel Portals with their
online travel solutions. With 200+ members and presence in US and India, with 20,000
Sq ft Software Development Center in Mumbai, India they are able to cater to clients
across geographies in diverse business and technology practices. We have interviewed
Vikash Sinha, the CEO and Promoter of ANMsoft Technologies, a first generation serial
entrepreneur and technocrat, who is largely responsible for the success of the company.
Las Vegas is always a happening city but for 5 days of every year it becomes the hub
of technology as techies from across the globe (including journalists) converge into Las
Vegas for International CES – the largest technology event in the world. This year was
no exception as visitors and the media witnessed amazing tech breakthroughs and
thousands of new product introductions, innovation at the 2014 International CES.
Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the International
CES is the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of innovation.
With a record two million net square feet of exhibit space housing more than 3,200
exhibitors and over 150,000 industry professionals in attendance, including 35,000 from
outside the United States, 2014 CES was the largest in the shows history. We have
reviewed this show and also presented the latest gadgets that were on display – some yet
to be launched and some from small but potential companies.
Editor - Chandragupta Amritkar, Design - Manoj Durgam
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any inadvertent errors, commissions or opinions expressed.
C o n t e n t s
Global Destinations May - June 20144
ITB Berlin 2014
Keys Hotel Whitefield
aving traversed the globe and visited 40 plus countries
this was my first visit to Oman. It was again thanks to my
good friend Hamed M. Al-Harthy, Country Manager –
India, Oman Air that this was possible. I had been invited to cover
ITB, Berlin and when I mentioned this to Hamed M. Al-Harthy,
he saw an opportunity for me to visit his country and promote it
through my publication to my elite readers. He decided to fly me
down to Germany with a stopover in Muscat. Muscat was so
impressive that now we are doing a cover story on Oman. His
foresight has to be appreciated.
I thought who would be the best tour operator for Oman and
many said it has to be Tour Oman who are aggressively promot-
ing themselves to the Indian market. Having met Sunil Prabhakar,
CEO, Travel City and Travel Point LLC as well as Manoj Dass,
Head - Tour Oman, a division of Travel Point LLC, I sent an
email to them and they were kind enough to quickly reply that
they will take care of the local hospitality as well as visa.
All set to go I took the morning Oman Air flight which has a
fairly good timing of 6.40am (unlike most other airlines where
you invariably miss out on a good nights sleep). The flight was
on time and I picked up the visa from the visa counter and cleared
the immigration quickly. Coming out of the airport I spotted the
Tour Oman placard. We proceeded to Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah
Resort & Spa. It took us 45 minutes from the airport to reach the
property. Had heard a lot about the property from both Hamed M.
Al-Harthy as well as Sunil Prabhakar and I was not disappointed.
The route from airport was so picturesque – the postcard
images of buildings, the good roads, the greenery etc.
Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
A fully integrated destination resort
It’s difficult to visualise the size of the property (spread over
124 acres) till you start moving around the property in a buggy.
It’s truly an amazing property giving some of the most scenic
views. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Muscat the
Resort is a fully integrated destination resort ideal for both fami-
lies and business travelers, MICE and weddings.
After a quick check-in I was guided to my room located in the
Al Husn property. I was informed that Al Husn is one of Oman’s
most luxurious hotels. My room was spacious and well located -
facing the sea. Complimentary selected beverages from the in
room mini bar were also included. On request an iPod is also pro-
After relaxing for a while I explored the area in close vicinity
to my room. I found a nice cozy library with books from almost
10 languages. I picked up one for reading. Theres also a nice busi-
ness center in the same room with computers and a printer - open
I was scheduled to have lunch with Eihab Attia, Communica-
tions Manager, Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. I could
not meet Lori-Jean Collins, Director of Sales & Marketing,
Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa as she was out of the
country. (I had the fortune of meeting her at ITB Berlin a few
Over lunch Eihab Attia
explained that the property com-
prises of three hotels - the exclu-
sive Al Husn (The Castle), Al
Bandar (The Town) and the fam-
ily-oriented Al Waha (The
Oasis) – having a total of 640
rooms and suites all overlooking
the Sea of Oman and providing
guests with 600 metres of pris-
After lunch Eihab Attia took
me for a tour of the property
starting with the Al Husn hotel.
The hotel’s design reflects a
fusion of Moorish architecture.
C o v e r S t o r y
Global Destinations May - June 20146
Oman is worth a visit thanks to its natural beauty says
All 180 deluxe guestrooms and suites face the sea. “Guests stay-
ing at Al Husn can enjoy the facilities of the entire three hotel
resort but the services and facilities within Al Husn are exclusive
to Al Husn guests - butler service, private beach and beach bar,
infinity pool, library and hospitality lounge. Access to the central
courtyard which has just water and palm trees facing the ocean is
also exclusive to Al Husn guests,” said Eihab Attia.
From here we walked down to the Al Bandar hotel whose
architecture is inspired by old Muscat, featuring buildings of
varying heights and a variety of ornate balconies. The deluxe
property provides 198 guestrooms with views of the garden, sea
or swimming pool.
“Al Bandar is the resort’s focal point. While the three hotels
share 21 food and beverage outlets Al Bandar has 8 out of 21
F&B outlets. Our restaurants serve cuisines from numerous coun-
tries including Indian, Asian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Mid-
dle Eastern and even South American. On the MICE front Al
Bandar has 11 meeting rooms including the spectacular Barr Al
Jissah Ballroom, which spans 1,008 square metres and provides
banquet-style seating for up to 850 people,” said Eihab Attia.
With such a huge ballroom it can be an ideal destination for
Indian corporate to hold their MICE events and also Indian wed-
dings. There are also seven additional meeting rooms.
Al Bandar is also the hub for swimming enthusiasts of all ages
- a pool spanning 1,400 square metres, a Jacuzzi, children’s pool,
as well as access to the Lazy River. The 500-metre Lazy River
enables guests an unusual method to travel between Al Bandar
and Al Waha by floating between the two hotels' main swimming
pools on a controlled water current.
From here we proceeded to Al Waha which comprises 262 gue-
strooms. Its ideal for families with children as it features Cool
Zone, one of the three children’s clubs within the resort offering
a wide range of supervised indoor and outdoor activities for chil-
dren up to the age of 10. There’s also a toddler’s pool with a rub-
ber cushioned floor.
I also had the pleasure of meeting and spending some quality
time with Mark Kirk, the dynamic General Manager of the hotel.
What amazed me was his knowledge on theindustry and his ded-
ication to the group – he has been over 12 years with Shangri-La
Hotels and Resorts at various locations.
Due to lack of time and a very busy schedule I could not enjoy
the resort facilities like Scuba Diving & Snorkelling (which I was
able to do on my visit to Maldives a fortnight later), Marina &
Sailing – a private resort marina, with berthing for up to 80 boats
and yachts. The resort also has a SPA – CHI, a secluded spa – one
of the largest spa villas in Muscat. One can experience the unique
CHI Water Oasis, featuring a vitality hydro pool, an herbal steam
room, tundra and tropical showers, an ice fountain and a relax-
ation area. A smiling Eihab Attia said, “This gives you a reason to
come again and for us an opportunity to host you again.”
Tour Oman Office
Tour Oman had organized a chauffer driven vehicle that would
remain with me during my stay. I paid a visit to their Muscat
office. It was a pleasure to meet Manoj Dass again. He highlight-
ed some specific points on the tour itinerary. Then we went
upstairs to meet Sunil Prabhakar. After greeting the first state-
ment that he made was, “It’s not fair. Just 3 days in Oman. You
will not justice. You need at least a week to get a glimpse of our
I spent an hour with them knowing more about the group and
their plans for the Indian market (see the exclusive Interview on
Muscat often referred to as the "walled city", has a lot to attract
tourists. To get a glimpse of the city Tour Oman organized a hop-
on, hop-off sightseeing tour of Muscat with the Big Bus Tour. My
chauffer drove me to the main starting point of the Big Bus -
C o v e r S t o r y
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 7
Mutrah Suq. The Day Tour can be boarded at any one of the tours
10 stops across the city. The ticket is valid for 24 hours during
operating hours. The route takes you to the major landmarks and
historic sights across the city as you listen (ear phones are provid-
ed) to a recorded commentary (available in six languages) provid-
ing information on the landmark as well as explaining the histo-
ry and culture of the city. Included in the Big Bus ticket is a free
shuttle service to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
On finishing the tour I decided to stroll around the Mutrah Suq
(souk) - one of the oldest markets in the Arab World. There are
numerous alleyways with shops offering a variety of traditional
and modern goods - Asian spices, gold and silver, precious gems,
antiques, souvenirs etc. It has also many cafes or restaurants.
The Corniche Area with its promenade, markets, cafés and
restaurants, is one of the highlights of the city. Stretching three
kilometers with gardens and fountains adorning the area, it over-
looks the port. The renovated Corniche area is a popular place for
a walk and also for its eating joints.
On the southern end of the Corniche you can view the Mutrah
Fort raised high upon the rocks. The fort was built by the Por-
tuguese during their occupation in the 1580's. If you are adven-
turous then scale the fort to enjoy some incredible views.
Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace is the office of Sultan Qaboos, the
ruler of Oman. Though visitors are not allowed to visit the palace,
they can take photographs at the entrance of the palace.
Oman’s parliament building, locally known as Majlis Oman is
a new parliament building which includes four major compo-
nents; the council of Oman, the state council, the consultation
council and common facilities. The iconic centrepiece of the par-
liament building is the 64 metre high clock tower. Boasting four
4.8 metre clocks, it is the highest clock tower in Oman.
Oman is full of beaches and Muscat is no exception. The
Qurum beach located adjacent to the Mangrove Lagoon is an
open public beach and a popular destination for locals as well as
tourists for a swim or to relax under the palm trees.
Another must stop is the Royal Opera House Muscat a premier
venue for musical arts and culture. It reflects contemporary
Omani architecture, and has a capacity to accommodate maxi-
mum of 1,100 people. The opera house complex consists of a
concert theatre, auditorium, formal landscaped gardens, cultural
market with retail, luxury restaurants and an art centre for musi-
cal, theatrical and operatic productions. Time and availability of
tickets permitting do try to watch a concert.
Do keep a couple of hours for the Sultan Qaboos Grand
Mosque. This is the third largest mosque in the world (accommo-
dating up to 20,000 worshippers) and one of the few open to non-
Muslim visitors – Visit from 8am to 11am - Saturday to Thursday.
The Mosque is a work of art and its interior decor is exquisite.
It consists of a main prayer hall, ladies prayer hall, covered pas-
sageways, a meeting hall and a huge library (I liked the library
which has numerous book on various topics and also over 20
computers to use for your research – all free).
The walls of the main hall are covered with white and dark grey
marble, decorated with murals of leafy patterns and geometrical
designs. The dome is made up of spherical triangles inside a com-
plex of sides and marble columns, crossed with pointed arches
and embellished with porcelain panels. Timber panels stretch in a
custom that reflects the architectural development of Omani ceil-
ings. Must sees in the mosque include the Swarovski crystal
chandelier, the second largest hand made persian carpet in the
world and the marble panelling.
Like in Thailand there are numerous Indian run tailors who
stitch suits from excellent fabrics at a reasonable price.
After touring Muscat and a good nights rest in Shangri-La we
proceeded to Wadi Shab. The driver informed me that Wadi Shab
is one of the most spectacular of the easily accessible wadis in
Oman. Located about 100 km southeast of Muscat its accessed
from the main coastal road to Sur at the village of Tiwi.
On the way our first halt was at Bimmah Sink hole (a sinkhole
is a natural depression or hole in the Earth’s surface which may
have various causes) situated at the Hawiyat Najm Park. The
water in the pool is in a unique shade of vibrant turquoise, the
pool roughly 550 meters from the sea, is 40 meters wide and
about 20 meters under the surface. Quite a few people were
Then we proceeded to Quriyat, Wadi Tiwi, and Fins beach. The
place was a bit crowded and one has to take a small boat or wade
through the water (which a lot of Europeans were doing). The
wadi gives visitors views of aquamarine pools, waterfalls and ter-
raced plantations. There’s a partially submerged cave. The hiking
can be rocky and even slippery so a good pair of shoes is a must.
Not having the right kind of shoes and not being very adventur-
ous I just enjoyed the beauty of the place and the waterfalls with-
C o v e r S t o r y
Global Destinations May - June 201410
Wadi Shab Resort
For lunch we proceeded to the Wadi Shab Resort. The GM
there is an Indian and you get a lot of Indian dishes to relish mak-
ing it an ideal place to stay over for Indians. The resort is truly
beautiful and offers the serenity of mountains and the surf of the
sea. The resort has 34 guest rooms and 03 luxury suites and all
rooms offer a view of the sea from all its rooms. All rooms have
flat screen LED television and guests are offered free Wi Fi
access in rooms and public area. The resort offers guests boating
It is ideally located to visit Wadi Shab just 3 kms from the
resort. The resort is built on the hill overlooking the blue sea near
Tiwi. Sur town is approximately 47 kms from resort.
The Tomb of Bibi Mariam, in the Ancient City of Qalhat is sit-
uated approximately 4 kms from Wadi Shab Resort. Qalhat
remains on UNESCO’s tentative list of cultural heritage sites and
was Oman’s first capital.
After a good Indian dinner and a nights rest we proceeded to
Sur, renowned as the Dhow City, approximately 70 kms from the
resort. It is a placid sea coast town with striking traditional
dwellings. The streets revealed many fine old houses with carved
doors and arabesque windows.
Its one of the famous cities in the Persian Gulf in building
wooden ships. Even though the city is a major dhow-building
town – the orders have steadily declined.
Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is a wadi whose stream maintains a constant
flow of water throughout the year. Large pools of water and boul-
ders are scattered along the course of the wadi. As you enter the
wadi there are two large pools of clear emerald water, a simple
café and plenty of palm trees. Follow the sign 'cave' located after
a km of rock climbing and relish some beautiful human beings
swimming in the crystal clear water and narrow canyons. Reach-
ing this cave takes a lot of effort and visitors should be prepared
for the adventure. As a geographical area, Wadi Bani Khalid cov-
ers a large swathe of low land and mountains.
Caves form some of the interesting features of this wadi.
Before going deep into the wadi do use the clean toilets at the
beginning of the Wadi.
From here we proceed to Muscat and reached by 6 pm. Since
my flight was at 2am I stopped by at Muscat Dunes Hotel where
Ajai Punj is the General Manager. Ajai Punj asked me to release
the driver as he said at 11pm he will personally drop me at the air-
Taking me on a tour of the property its quite noticeable that the
hotel is quite new with all modern furniture. The rooms are big
and clean though I felt the bathrooms were small compared to the
room size. The location is convenient near the expressway and
just 15 minutes from the airport. Being in a new development
area it’s not easy to find the hotel (my driver had to call a couple
of times to get exact directions). The pool on the roof gives good
views of the neighborhood.
Thanks to an Indian menu and a pocket friendly hotel it would
be a good option for Indians. They also have extensive confer-
ence facilities for board meetings, seminars and small conven-
We had a good Indian dinner and then at 11pm Ajai Punj
accompanied me to the airport.
C o v e r S t o r y
Travel City LLC and Travel Point LLC have emerged as one
of the most reputed and successful travel service providers in
the Sultanate of Oman. This group underwent a management
change in 2008 surging it to the top of the market. From a
mere 9 member workforce, they now have a team of about 200
spread across the country.
Travel Point LLC office represents all other travel solutions
such as international product franchises, high quality leisure &
hospitality products, Medicare tourism, pilgrimages, travel
management partners, car hire, logistics and cargo and many
Tour Oman is the Inbound Tours division attracting global
visitors to experience in Oman.
Spearheading the operations is Sunil Prabhakar, Chief
Executive Officer of the Travel Group who has more than 29
years of experience in Oman. In 2008 when he became Group
General Manager he enhanced the business network from only
2 branches, to 42 fully operational branches spread across
Oman. Manoj Dass who is head of Tour Oman has been quite
successful in getting FIT Travel, Leisure Groups, MICE
(Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) and even
Bollywood. Had the pleasure of meeting both of them had
their Muscat office and took the opportunity to Interview
What makes Oman such an attractive destination?
Sunil Prabhakar (SP): Oman has so much of potential - 1700
kms of pristine coastline, over 500 forts and towers across Oman,
the dry desert and the huge desert dunes , the wadis and moun-
tains of over 9000 feet. Oman's beaches are major breeding loca-
tions for various species of sea turtle. It’s a must for a visitor.
Also as you will notice during your travels Omanis are most hum-
ble, very friendly and helpful to tourists. Compared to most other
countries Oman is relatively a safe country and serious crime is
How big is your group and reason behind its success?
SP: We have grown substantially over the years largely due to
owners blessings and a free hand given by them. Our USP is that
we do things uniquely different. We have major plans to expand
across GCC and India.
Manoj Dass (MD): We have currently 42 outlets spread across
the country making us the most widely spread travel company in
Oman. This naturally helps our inbound tourists.
MICE is a major revenue earner today. Your views?
SP: Yes that’s true. We have successfully handled events rang-
ing from just 30 pax to 1000 pax. Infact we had a group from
India who had come to celebrate a birthday. There were 100
guests flown from all over India and Dubai. Thanks to Oman air
network this was feasible.
We had kept a staff 24 * 7 exclusively for the group. To all the
guests we sent the SIM in advance so that they can share the num-
ber with their friends and near ones. It was a grand success.
Apart from that I think Oman can be a wedding destination.
What potential do you see in India?
SP: India is a very big market for Oman. Over the last three
years hotel rooms have grown and are trying to attract Indian
tourists. A lot of tour operators have promoted Oman as a stop-
over destination. We are now trying to promote Oman as an inde-
How do you plan to promote Oman in India?
MD: We are participating in numerous exhibitions across
India. We also have our own road shows. Currently we are hav-
ing our own representatives in Mumbai and New Delhi. I can
proudly say we are market leaders in India.
What type of markets are you looking from India?
MD: All types – FIT, Leisure, MICE, Cultural fusion, homes-
SP: Another potential market is the Bollywood. Why go all the
way to Europe or Australia when Oman can provide for most of
your needs. We have some of the best shooting locations –
untapped and awaiting Bollywood stars, top end luxury hotels
like Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. For Once Upon a
Time in Mumbai Dobaara we did all the logistics including get-
ting permission for shooting and script approval.
How economical can it be to shoot a movie and does the
government give any incentives?
SP: Its not very expensive. To give you a fair idea to do a film
song in Oman with 20 crew members including stay and air tick-
ets would be just Rs.15 lakh. For doing a full movie with 75 crew
spread across 45 days – all inclusive it would be between 3 to3.5
crores. This I believe should fit into most budgets. On the incen-
tive part we are still persuading the government and making them
understand the full potential and the opportunity.
What would you advise Indian tourists?
SP: Plan a trip for minimum seven days. Thers a lot to see and
experience in Oman.
C o v e r S t o r y
Global Destinations May - June 201412
“India is a very big market for Oman”
Sunil Prabhakar Manoj Dass
recent period of relatively sluggish growth, particularly
in many recession-hit countries was expected to have an
effect on ITB this year. Instead this year’s ITB Berlin has
sent out very positive signals for the international travel industry.
With 10,147 exhibitors from 189 countries – more than two-
thirds of whom came from abroad – were represented in 26 halls
which were booked to capacity and some 114,000 trade visitors
(2013: 109,616) travelling to Berlin it seems the global travel
industry is once again on course for rapid growth.
This year’s ITB Berlin reported a four per cent rise in trade vis-
itors and an increase in business volume, which Messe Berlin
estimates reached 6.5 billion euros. The focus of the world’s lead-
ing travel trade fair was on mobile bookings and on sustainable
practices in tourism.
Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin: “Never before was
there such an emphasis on innovation as at this year’s ITB Berlin.
The mood among exhibitors and visitors at this year’s show was
one of euphoria, which over the last five days could be felt every-
where on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. The world’s leading
travel trade show had an even more positive impact on trade buy-
ers and holidaymakers than in previous years.”
On the first day of ITB Berlin, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al
Baker introduced the airline's new luxury First Class seats that
will form part of the tri-class configuration on the airline's new
A380-800. The seats feature a 90-inch seat pitch, transforming
into a fully flat bed, together with an expansive choice of enter-
tainment options displayed on individual 19-inch television
Among the countries on the Mediterranean Greece and Spain
reported particularly high growth. In 2013, numbers visiting
Spain reached a new record. Germany and Europe have become
increasingly popular with travellers from Asia. At this year’s ITB
Berlin numerous hotels and holiday resorts not only exhibited on
the stands of the various countries and regions but also hosted
their own displays in the halls.
Around 5,700 accredited journalists from 81 countries and
some 300 bloggers from 25 countries reported on events at ITB
Berlin. Politicians and diplomats from Germany and abroad were
present at the show. In addition to 125 foreign delegations, Thai-
land’s Princess Ubolratana Mahidol also attended the show. 97
ambassadors from around the world, 44 ministers from abroad
foreign a numerous undersecretaries were also present.
In its role as a think tank, the ITB Berlin Convention has
become a firm fixture for trend scouts operating within the inter-
national travel industry. Luxury travel was a key topic that attract-
ed keen visitor interest. The ITB Berlin Convention registered
record levels of attendance. A total of 22,000 took part in around
200 lectures, discussions and workshops, over 5 percent more
than in 2013. The matchmaking event for bloggers and exhibitors
met with an extremely positive response. Social Media and
Mobile Travel Services proved to be major visitor attractions.
Once again, the matchmaking event for bloggers and exhibitors
met with an extremely positive response. Over a period of two
days 2,000 events took place attended by 120 exhibitors and blog-
gers from 25 countries.
More than 60,000 members of the general public came to find
out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors
at the weekend and were able to book their tours directly at ITB
Berlin. A poll among visitors revealed that around 50 per cent
intended to book a trip. On average, each visitor spent around
E v e n t R e v i e w
Global Destinations May - June 201414
An unpreceded 6.5 billion euros
business at ITB Berlin 2014
With 10,147 exhibitors from 189 countries spread across 26 halls booked to capacity and 114,000 + trade
visitors made ITB Berlin maintain its status as the world’s largest travel industry event.
Chandragupta Amritkar reports from Berlin
2,000 euros on a holiday trip. Close to one-third of the companies
exhibiting sold travel products to the end consumer. Christian
Göke: “It was not only our visitors who responded positively to
this new service. For exhibitors as well it makes ITB Berlin even
more attractive and offers a ’test market’.”
Taleb Rifai, General Secretary of UNWTO said, "I must con-
gratulate ITB on another great success. ITB 2014 reflected the
vitality of the tourism sector extremely well and I must particu-
larly commend ITB for its Corporate Social Responsibility Pro-
gramme which, year after year, reminds us all that with the con-
tinuous growth of tourism comes a great responsibility.”
ITB Berlin 2015 will be taking place from March 4 to 8.
Sustainable Tourism Awards
Next year ITB Berlin and National Geographic Traveler will be
honouring support for sustainable tourism with a series of new
awards. The awards will honour leading travel and tourism com-
panies, organisations and destinations which drive the global
transition of the travel industry forward by supporting sustainable
principles and practices in tourism. The awards will debut at ITB
Berlin 2015 and will be presented in five categories. The Eco
Innovation Award recognises outstanding innovation in business
practices and green technology. The Cultural Heritage Award
honours efforts to protect historical buildings, support cultural
events, the heritage of indigenous peoples and the legacy of the
arts. The Biodiversity Conservation Award recognises outstand-
ing achievements in conserving nature and protecting rare and
endangered species. The Community Engagement Award hon-
ours achievements in business and society which improve the
livelihoods of people in local regions. Entries for the World Lega-
cy Awards are invited as of 1 June 2014.
This year again at ITB Berlin the Indian pavilion attracted huge
attention as India pavilion’s centre of attraction was the replica of
one of the most significant and beautiful buildings in the world –
the Taj Mahal. The Incredible India stall was spread across 700 sq
mts in size and had 65 exhibitors from the travel and tourism fra-
ternity from India. Apart from the India pavilion, 100 + India
exhibitors participated with individual stalls. These included
Indias leading hotel chains, resorts, tour operators State Tourism
Boards from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh,
Gujarat, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Goa, Andhra Pradesh,
and West Bengal.
Pacific Area Travel Writers Association "PATWA" awards cer-
emony was held at ITB 2014 Berlin. The award is given to recog-
nise governments, individuals, organisations involved in promo-
tion of tourism from various sectors. This year again a lot of Indi-
an organizations and Indians won the award.
Veer Vijay Singh, Chief Operating Officer, Vivanta by Taj –
Hotels & Resorts received the
Hall of Fame Award for Life time
achievement in Hospitality. Rajiv
Duggal, Senior Vice President -
Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure,
Lavasa Corporation Ltd.,
received the award for 'Best Mar-
keting Person' in Tourism. Goa
Tourism bagged the PATWA
Award for the ‘Best Destination
in Relaxation, Watersports and
man for South
Hall of Fame –
Illustrious speakers included UNWTO Secretary General Taleb
Rifai, Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Sey-
chelles, Mohamed Hisham Abbas Zaazou, Minister of Tourism,
Egypt, Martin Craigs, CEO, Pacific Asia Travel
Association(PATA) and Casimir Platzer, President, IH&RA.
ITB Berlin 2015
In 2015 Mongolia will be the Official Partner Country of ITB
Berlin. “In its role as the Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2015
Mongolia will be sending out a clear signal as an emergent
tourism destination. We are confident that Mongolia with its
wealth of cultural and natural attractions and its eventful history
will successfully present itself to the international market and that
it will attract keen interest from both trade visitors and the gener-
al public“, said Dr. Christian Göke.
Altangerel Purev, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture,
Sports and Tourism of Mongolia said, “In 2011 Mongolia was
already the Convention and Culture Partner of ITB Berlin and as
the Partner Country of ITB Berlin 2015 we aim to build on that
success and promote public awareness of Mongolia as a travel
destination. Germany is an important market for us. Mongolia has
maintained diplomatic relations with Germany for the past 40
years. Furthermore, we regard tourism as a long-term opportuni-
ty that diversifies our economy. Mongolian companies are also
very keen to actively cooperate with the international tourism
E v e n t R e v i e w
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 15
T e c h n o l o g y
Global Destinations May - June 201416
Located in Navi Mumbai is a
software company that has
rapidly created a niche for itself
among the travel community.
ANMsoft Technologies provides
low risk – cost effective solutions
to address complex business
requirement of its client. With
their domain expertise and stream-
line process they ensure rapid
application development with high
degree of certainty in time and cost
predictions. Though their core
focus is in Banking, eRetail,
eTravel and eMedia Domain, they also provide extensive solu-
tions on latest web 2.0 technologies.
Established just a decade back, ONTRA the Travel practice
division of ANMsoft Technologies is quite popular in the hospi-
tality world. Ontra is Supporting large scale tour operators /
OTAs / Travel Portals with their online travel solutions. With
200+ members and presence in US and India, with 20,000 Sq ft
Software Development Center in Mumbai, India they are able to
cater to clients across geographies in diverse business and tech-
Largely responsible for the success of the company is Vikash
Sinha, the CEO and Promoter of ANMsoft Technologies. He is
a first generation serial entrepreneur and technocrat. With 17
years of on-hands experience he has successfully groomed the
company. A graduate alumnus of ISM, he is a hardcore multi-
domain enterprise technology expert , with years of experience,
gained through architecting various Travel and Retail Banking
products for customers in USA, Europe, Asia and West Africa. He
has also successfully implemented projects on product design,
development and implementation using web-centric and
client/server technologies for global product companies. He had
been instrumental to launch Shubhyatra.com as online travel-
commerce portal during 2000-01. Employees of the company
consider him an excellent technology administrator and he is
known for his sharp technical acumen and organizational skills.
In an e-interview he elaborates on ANMsoft Technologies prod-
ucts and his vision. Excerpts
At most travel expos the impact of big data and technology
are being discussed. Your comments
Big Data and Travel technologies are one of the best opportu-
nities for enablement of sustainable and growth oriented busi-
nesses. We have seen challenges on both side i.e. the client and
the technology vendor. Travel industry has exhibited great inter-
est for implementing technology but the success is still low.
Selecting the right vendor is still a challenge for Travel Business.
Similarly, Technology provides are facing challenges of right
sense participation of Travel players. The best way moving for-
ward is to consider each other as partner with shared responsibil-
ities and benefit. Technology can help to automate process,
reduce manpower requirement, better customer experience as
DIY, increase profitability, launch newer markets and most
importantly allow to implement never-thought-before ideas and
Big Data is still at nascent stage and requires larger investment.
Due to lower rate of technology implementation by service
provider, the market is not yet saturated with opportunities as yet.
Big Data helps only when all other basic technology enablement
has been completed in a corporate environment. It will still take
some time when Big Data will become a business opportunity
and make right sense to the travel service provider. Ontra is head-
ing in this direction and will be ahead of curve before require-
ment of Travel industry.
How did ANMSoft Technologies originate?
ANMsoft was started in 2003 with a vision to become as a
world-class Product offering company. Travel Technology was
the chosen domain, as the promoters had pioneering experience
in the eCommerce vertical. They established, Shubhyatra.com,
which was India’s leading travel portal in 2000 dotcom days. This
experience helped the promoters to envisage a world-class travel
product suite, which could be used by any global travel service
provider. Ontra, the flagship travel offering from ANMsoft has
established itself as a pioneer product for advanced enterprise
travel technology. ANMsoft offers its clients a true technology
partnership model rather than a technology vendor relationship.
ANMsoft has helped bring up some of the largest travel technol-
ogy implementation when the companies have had lost hope due
to their past experiences with earlier vendor.
What’s your USP?
ANMsoft offering Ontra, is an Advanced Enterprise Travel
Technology Platform and has many unique business proposition
brings up a
“My vision is to take the Ontra product to pinnacle
and help travel businesses leverage this platform
in their growth, over the next decade”
T e c h n o l o g y
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 17
Distribution technology. Ontra provides single-window solution
for different models of Travel business Practices. Travel service
providers use Ontra as low-cost, high efficiency solution for their
business need. Layered-Architecture, Service-oriented approach
and open-source Java technology positions Ontra as unique and
vendor independent solution with future-readiness. Ontra doesn't
require any investment in any other licensed or propriety technol-
ogy buying, but can be configured on an average hardware.
Omni-channel enablement is USP of Ontra.
What are your main focus areas?
ANMsoft’s Ontra is modelled around complete aspects of trav-
el business process that are currently in practice. Having said that,
B2B, B2C, Corporate, Suppliers and B2B2C are few models,
which can be easily catered by Ontra. Ontra is focused on Cus-
tomer-Oriented Travel and Leisure product as Airline Ticketing,
Hotel Reservation, Car Rental, Cruise, Package, Tour and Trans-
fer, Visa, Insurance and others in similar line.
What products/ offerings have you indigenously
Ontra has all end-customer Travel and Leisure products, such
as Airline Ticketing, Hotel Booking, Car Rental, Packages, Tour
and Transfers, Insurance, Visa Processing, which are indigenous-
ly developed by ANMsoft. Ontra is technically superior and
future-ready product with state of the art architecture, to handle
any new product configuration and Integration.
What about your technology expertise?
I have 17 Years of Technology Leadership and Administration
experience especially in the web-based domains. I have great pas-
sion for architecting Enterprise Technology products and in the
past have created various large scale products in Banking, E-com-
merce, Messaging, Retail and Travel Technology verticals, before
bringing up our latest offering, Ontra. I have always been lucky
to have passionate technology teams and enjoying their associa-
tion for decade. We have also been the earliest adopter of cutting
edge technologies, so that our customers always get the latest
technology offerings. Today, our customers enjoy our association
and consider ANMsoft as their technology-partner rather than a
What verticals do you cater to?
ANMsoft majorly cater to Travel and Hospitality domain.
Apart from this, ANMsoft has advance and enterprising product
for eRetailing. ANMsoft also provide Product Engineering serv-
ices in BFSI Domain and high-end portal development.
Who are your major customers?
We have customers from almost all habitant continents. Ontra
implementation ranges from leading Travel service provider in
North America to Largest Travel consolidator in ME and Africa
region. Some of Major Travel service providers in India also
using Ontra Platform to power their travel business.
How big is your network – domestic and International?
Ontra is largely positioned for the Global markets. Our cus-
tomer exists in all major geographical location. Today, Ontra gets
compared and reviewed with worlds top travel products by tech-
nology seeker. We have two offices in India and one in USA.
Apart from this, we also have partners in North America and are
expanding rapidly to other geography through distribution chan-
nel and partners. All our development activities are undertaken at
headquarter in Mumbai.
How important is quality?
ANMsoft is firm believer of quality in delivery. We have a ded-
icated Quality Assurance Practice that tracks all our implementa-
tion and deliveries. This team directly reports in to the CEO, who
is the quality Champion of the organization. We follow ISO 9000
quality process and all this processes are formulated with 11 years
of intensive practice and endorsed by clients with a 100% percent
successful implementation of Ontra till date.
What are your marketing strategies?
ANMSoft optimally uses all marketing channels for brand
awareness and customer reach. Being a technology company,
Online digital marketing is prominent strategy as part of whole
plan. Print media advertisement, Exhibition and Seminar partici-
pations are other major marketing activities. We spend one-sixth
of our yearly revenue on Marketing.
How do you visualize ANMSoft Technologies in the next 5
After 11 successful years of operations, ANMsoft has set the
stage for leap-and-bound growth. We have all ingredients to poise
as one of the large technology players serving to the world by
providing state-of-art products. My vision is to take the Ontra
product to pinnacle and help travel businesses leverage this plat-
form in their growth, over the next decade.
Whats the main aim of participating at ATM?
Our main aim to participate in ATM is to spread awareness
within the travel fraternity about the advantage of Ontra as tech-
nology platform for their respective businesses. We have also
repositioned Ontra brand, by creating Enterprise suite of products
and sub-vertically focusing on Hotel Solution, Car Rental Solu-
tion, Travel Accounting Solution (OntrAcc), and Restaurant and
Room-Services (eWineDine). I believe, ATM is the right platform
to announce the new products and increase our customer base
L u x u r y
Global Destinations May - June 201420
uilt on the top-most floor of the property the Presidential
Enclave provides a sprawling view of the city on one side
and the famous Pandav-Leni on the other. The Presiden-
tial Enclave Floor consists of five suites (670 sq. ft.), one Chair-
man Suite (1200 sq. ft.), one Presidential Suite (1800 sq. ft.),
Freesia Lounge with a library and finally a Smoking Lounge. In
near future they plan to have butler service also.
The Presidential Enclave Floor was specifically created for the
top end clien-
and look for-
ward for the
that they get
globe. It’s a
The hotel has already been ranked
number one in Nashik on Trip Advisor.
With Kubhmela round the corner, they
expect to attract to host most of the top
notch and influential people visiting
Nashik from across the globe.
The 1800 sq. ft. Presidential Suite at
Express Inn comes along with Secretar-
ial Room. The suite is unique in its architecture and décor - a clas-
sical European style of designing. The suit has a spacious living
room with plasma television set, a dining room, an elegant bed-
room, bathrooms with Jacuzzi, steam and other amenities, a large
dressing area with full-length mirrors. Featuring antique feel fur-
nishings, original artworks, fine flooring, wooden carvings,
curios and artifacts, this comfortable living area includes a dining
space and a bar as well.
to the resi-
dents of the
vides a luxu-
coffee. The cutlery and crockery have
been handpicked from Spain and Itlay
and are gold plated. I had the pleasure
of having both lunch and dinner at this
lounge. The lounge has a well stocked
library containing a rare collection of
books and. The Smoking Lounge is
adjacent to the Library.
What a pleasure it was staying at Express Inn again. This time I stayed in the Presidential Suite located in the
Presidential Enclave. It was quite impressive and surprised me that any owner would create such a
luxurious suite in a tier II city. We have done a photo feature on the Presidential Enclave.
Presidential Enclave@Express Inn
y engineering college batch mate and room mate Abhi-
jeet Sarwate had been inviting me to visit his place in
Irvine for many years. It was over a decade and a half
since we had met. So this year when CES (a consumer electron-
ics event held annually in Las Vegas) invited me I decided to fly
Turkish airlines via Los Angeles and catch up with my friend
Abhijeet. Being a journalist by heart I thought it an excellent
opportunity to feature Irvine as a destination for my readers.
Wendy Haase, Director of Tourism Marketing, Destination Irvine
was kind enough to extend local hospitality and sightseeing. She
organized an excellent itinerary covering most important destina-
tions and an excellent lunch in an Indian restaurant.
Flying Turkish airlines where I was upgraded again gave me an
opportunity to experience their flying chef as well as their com-
plimentary in-flight wifi on the Istanbul – Los Angles sector. Pro-
viding me with excellent connections from Mumbai I arrived on
time into Los Angeles. The immigration was quick and smooth.
Abhijeet was waiting at the airport and we proceeded to his house
first. Met his wife and two wonderful daughters. After chatting on
those good old days and having some tasty Indian food prepared
by his wife he dropped me off to my hotel - the ATRIUM Hotel.
The ATRIUM Hotel located across the street from the John
Wayne Airport (SNA) has 208 guestrooms and over 13,000 sqft
in conference space. The hotel provides a free wifi to all its
guests. I was also informed the hotel provides complimentary
shuttle service within 3 mile radius. My room was large and spa-
cious but I feel they can make the rooms modern and also tech
savvy. The boutique pool lounge and private cabanas is an attrac-
tion. The Pool area is beautiful at night. Relaxing in the cabanas
near the pool is a great experience. One can enjoy different din-
ing experiences within the hotel at Waterfalls and iLum Poolside
Irvine is one of the perfectly planned cities in USA. The arteri-
al streets are very wide and have very generous speed limits.
Irvine is very friendly to bicyclists with over 45 miles of off-road
bicycle trails and 282 miles of on-road bicycle lanes provided in
Irvine. The city has many national and international companies
particularly in the technology and semiconductor sectors. Irvine
is also home to many Universities. For a tourist or a business vis-
itor Irvine has quite a few tourist spots.
After a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast at ATRIUM,
I proceeded to Pretend City Children’s Museum. It's not really a
museum; it's a cool place for little kids. Ideal for the kids between
ages 3 to 9. It is actually a miniature city for lots of pretend play
- library, dentist, doctor, restaurant, police station, dispatch cen-
ter, fire department, beach, marina, house, construction zone,
farm, grocery store, bank, etc. It’s designed to “build better
brains” through purposeful play, hands-on learning experiences,
role playing, and educational programming. Through 17 interac-
tive exhibits and activities children learn foundational math, read-
ing and science skills, while fostering curiosity, creativity, critical
thinking, problem solving, organization, teamwork, self-confi-
dence and socialization. The ATM machines can be exciting for
kids who don’t get frequent opportunity to handle money. The
kids can be let loose (you can keep a watch from a distance) and
not worry about them because everything is designed with all the
little kid safety features. Unfortunately in India we don't have
many such places for young kids.
After spending a couple of hours I proceeded to Chakra – a
classic Indian cuisine restaurant located in the University Center
in Irvine. Wendy Haase met me our lunch – a nice buffet spread.
From here we proceeded to the Lyon Air Museum.
Founded by Major General William Lyon, Lyon Air Museum is
located near the John Wayne Airport. The exhibits are comprised
of authentic aircraft,
rare vehicles and
with emphasis on the
defining event of the
20th century – World
Docent led tours
take visitors for a
walk through history
as they stroll among
the machines and
artifacts that helped
define the 20th cen-
tury. The Lyon Air
museum is housed in
a thirty thousand
square foot hanger
C i t y F o c u s
Global Destinations May - June 201422
Irvine: Great place for family time
designed to display
William Lyons col-
lection of historic
All the aircrafts
have been restored.
Planes on display
include a B-17 Fly-
ing Fortress which
American B-25 and
a DC_3 which
ers on D-day.
Mixed in between
the historic planes are numerous antique
automobiles including a 1939 Mercedes
Benz German Staff Car which once carried
around Adolph Hitler - used by the Fuhrer
in Ober Salzberg, Berlin and Poland. The
Lyon Air Museum is staffed with volunteer
docents who show you around the museum
and are quite knowledgeable about the his-
tory and background of the exhibits. In
addition to the planes and vehicles, there are
a number of displays around the building
with a lot ot historic documents and arti-
facts. It is a must see for any aviation buff
and keep at least one hour for exploring the
museum. The amount of history in that
building is amazing.
After this we had a meeting with Dick
Marconi at the Marconi Automotive Muse-
um. But with some time to spare Wendy
took me to the Irvine Museum. An ideal
place to visit for those interested in impressionist painting or in
the history of California art. There are several watercolors, and
it's a great opportunity to see artistic interpretations of California
scenery from the past two centuries. It is dedicated to the preser-
vation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period
(1890-1930). The cost is $5 with free entry for seniors, students,
and children and for all on the second Wednesday of each month.
It took us 20 minutes to tour the museum and then we proceed-
ed to the Marconi Automotive Museum. And what a place it is. If
you love exotic cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Ducati
then this is the place not to be missed. We met the founder Dick
Marconi who himself is a car enthusiast and a former race car
driver. First opened in 1994 this non-profit automotive museum
and special event venue displays an impressive collection of his-
torical, exotic, and classic cars. “Our collection includes racing
cars (both Formula 1 and Indy), american muscle cars, vintage
racing and high performance exotics, super bikes etc. We estimate
our collection is worth 35 million-dollar. Since we run a founda-
tion for kids a major portion of all proceeds goes to charities for
kids at risk. We charge a 5 dollar donation for over 12 years,” said
Dick Marconi. The venue is also ideal for special events - corpo-
rate meetings, product launches, holiday parties, weddings, birth-
Wendy had departed and my friend Abhijeet came to pick me
up from the museum. He also had a tour and enjoyed the cars. We
proceeded to his house for some homely Indian food and to relax
with his family.
The next day morning Abhijeet came to pick me up from the
hotel. We proceeded to the San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanc-
tuary. This sanctuary is a hidden gem in the Irvine area. Visitors
can walk along 12 miles of trails, watch more than 200 bird
species that visit the marsh or simply relax and bask in nature.
The Marsh is full of educational opportunities serving as a living
laboratory for students, teachers and the public.
I love coming here for morning walks. At the info counter we
were provided with a map of trials and a binocular to watch the
birds. There are a lot of random trails but you'll always find your
way back. For bird watchers, this place is
amazing. With multiple small bodies of
water around, you'll always get a chance to
see many ducks and variety of birds.
After spending an hour we proceeded to
an Indian restaurant pick up some Indian
delicacies. From here we went to Irvine
Spectrum Center where we were scheduled
to meet Abhijeets family. Irvine Spectrum
Center is certainly a place worth the visit as
it offers many shops, good restaurants, and
department stores as well as an IMAX the-
ater. They have a huge ferris wheel and a
great Merry-go-round for kids. There is
even a small train to take kinds for a ride.
But what we all enjoyed the most was the
Ice skate rinks as it was fun to watch Abhi-
jeets daughter and her friend skating. They
were initially a bit nervous walking onto
the rink and grab-
bing the rails in-
between. But soon
they overcame it
and were skating
along with other
kids and some eld-
ers. Soon it become
a bit cramped.
me off at the airport
and I took my flight
to Las Vegas.
It was great hav-
ing seen a new city
and spent some
C i t y F o c u s
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 23
H o s p i t a l i t y
Global Destinations May - June 201426
uite a few budget hotels have come up across the country.
Amongst these is the Keys Hotels, a new genre of execu-
tive hospitality, that’s growing rapidly. The largest inven-
tory of the group in a single property is the Keys Hotel and Serv-
iced Apartments Whitefield, Bengaluru with
148 rooms and 74 service apartments.
“We cater mainly to the business traveler as
we are in close vicinity to most business estab-
lishments in this locality. For our long staying
guests we have service apartments. We also get
quite a few leisure travelers - especially after a
business traveler has experienced our hospital-
ity and comes with his family,” said Anand
Ramachandran, General Manager at Keys
Hotel Whitefield, Bengaluru.
The hotel looks graceful from the outside and
the lobby is spacious. The basic category of
room is 210 sq. ft. with a working desk that has
an ergonomic chair, a relaxing couch. The
Apartments Studio Suite is a serviced apart-
ment which is a 295 sq. ft. suite with a fully
equipped kitchenette, refrigerator, hot plates, crockery, cutlery
and microwave plus the working desk with ergonomic chair. The
One Bedroom Suite is 570 sq. ft. and has a separate living room,
dining room and kitchen. All rooms also come fitted with 2 LCD
TV's - in the living room and bedroom. The hotel does not pro-
vide dental kits or combs which you have to buy from the vend-
ing machine near reception.
Apart from these standard rooms the hotel has Women's Secure
Rooms. “You will find these in almost all Keys properties. These
are specially created and designed for single lady travelers. These
rooms are located near the elevator, in a separate wing with extra
CCTV surveillance in the corridor.
A Video Door Phone in the room helps to identify the person
before allowing entry. We also have rooms for the differently
abled which is slightly bigger than normal rooms with a bathroom
specially designed to meet their requirements,” said Anand
On the F&B side the hotel provides a choice of buffet or a la
carte meals. Keys Cafe Charming and contemporary is the coffee
shop and restaurant meets catering to Indian, Continental etc. The
buffet spread for both breakfast and dinner is substantial by most
hotel standards. Unlock - The Restobar is a
sports bar that serves a wide selection of spirits,
wines as well as cocktails and mocktails. It also
has gaming and lounging areas that are accen-
tuated by music and soft lighting. “To cater to
our customers both our residential guests, local-
ities plus the corporate client - we are planning
a poolside bar and a fast food restaurant,” said
'Food in a Bag' A unique 24x7 room service
concept that serves your dish in disposable
sealed bags which ensures that you only have to
open the door once. Also the disposable bags
help to maintain hygiene. "Breakfast-on-the-
go" from 5 am to 11 am provides packed food
and snacks to the guests leaving early to the air-
port or office and want to save time.
Theres also a State-of-the-art ultra modern gymnasium with
cardiovascular machines and a 24x7 key card access, a pool sta-
tion, dartboard electronic gaming stations, LCD screens for live
For MICE the hotel has State-of-the-art business facilities with
a fully equipped board room and conference hall with integrated
presentation setup including teleconferencing, aquatic panels for
The hotel is very well managed by smiling staff who are both
cooperative and caring. But what impressed us the most was a
comment by a guest who said, “The best part is that this hotel pro-
vides complimentary drop facility to our offices in the Whitefield
locality. It’s a boon especially during peak hours where getting a
cab is not easy. I don’t recall any other hotel in India providing
this service free.”
When we questioned the GM on this he simply said but its our
pleasure to do it for our guests. Truly the hotel goes a step ahead.
A hotel that cares
Located close to the IT and industrial area Keys Hotel Whitefield, Bengaluru is an ideal option
G a d g e t s
Global Destinations May - June 201428
as Vegas is always a happening city but for 5 days of every
year it becomes the hub of technology as techies from
across the globe (including journalists) converge into Las
Vegas for International CES – the largest technology event in the
world. This year was no exception as visitors and the media wit-
nessed amazing tech breakthroughs and thousands of new prod-
uct introductions, innovation at the 2014 International CES.
Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association
(CEA), the International CES is the global gathering place for all
who thrive on the business of innovation.
With a record two million net square feet of exhibit space
housing more than 3,200 exhibitors and over 150,000 industry
professionals in attendance, including 35,000 from outside the
United States, 2014 CES was the largest in the shows history.
“CES is amazing, magical, hands-on, incredible, innovative and
inspiring,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “This
year’s show was an energizing display of where the future is
headed, bringing to life cool new products from every industry
that touches technology. One-third of the world’s population
interacted with CES in some way this week as we experienced the
future. From curved and flexible Ultra HD TVs and next genera-
tion smart phones to drones, robots, sensors, the Internet of
Everything, Hi-Res audio, connected cars and 3D printers, it
seems like the only thing missing from the 2014 CES was a time-
Major tech breakthroughs and product launches garnered the
world’s attention across 15 product categories and 25 market-spe-
cific TechZones, including Engadget’s Best of CES finalists.
“CES is the consumer electronics industry’s best event for show-
casing new technology and new vendors,” said Mike Mohan,
president, home business group and chief merchandising officer,
Best Buy. “Surrounding our merchant and operations teams, it
gives us the ability to meet, see and discuss business opportuni-
ties with anyone.”
The International CES will return to Las Vegas, January 6-9,
Eye controlled tablet
Tobii EyeMobile is a lightweight accessory that enables eye
control capabilities on Windows 8 tablets. The Tobii EyeMobile
was designed to provide individuals with arthritis, muscular dys-
trophy, Rett syndrome, spinal cord injuries and other demobiliz-
ing conditions with hands-free access to the full functionality of
Windows 8 tablet devices.
Tobii EyeMobile puts indi-
viduals with physical and
at the forefront of consumer
technology, allowing them to
navigate and control modern,
off-the-shelf Windows 8
tablets with the simple, natu-
ral and relaxed movement of
their eyes. In addition to pro-
viding access to tablet
devices and over 100,000
Windows 8 applications, Tobii EyeMobile can also act as a sup-
plementary augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
device that allows users with communication challenges to gen-
erate speech via Gaze Interaction. Tobii Technology is global
market leader in eye tracking and Gaze Interaction.
Samsung Smart Home
The Samsung Smart Home brand, a vision for a connected
world, debuted at CES 2014. This will enable users to control and
manage their home devices through a single application by con-
necting personal and home devices—from refrigerators and
washing machines to Smart TVs, digital cameras, smartphones
International CES 2014 again
garners global attention
Every year CES seems to amaze me – while the big players did showcase their innovations, it was the creativity of the
smaller manufacturers that left me impressed says Chandragupta Amritkar after a visit to CES 2014 in Las Vegas
G a d g e t s
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 29
and even the wearable device Galaxy Gear—through an integrat-
ed platform and server.
Users can use customized settings on their mobile devices or
Smart TV to monitor or control home devices —turning on air
conditioning or activating lighting, for example—while inside or
outside the home, or even while travelling abroad. At the touch of
a dedicated Smart Home app icon on their device, the service
enables users to control one or multiple devices simultaneously
no matter where they are.
Smart Home also offers a voice command function on all the
controller devices. If a user says ‘going out’ to his Galaxy Gear
device, home lighting and selected appliances are turned off. If
the user says ‘good night’ to their Smart TV remote control, the
TV will be turned off and lights dimmed and gradually turned off
in readiness for sleep. With the service’s Home View feature
users can also use their smartphone to get real-time views of the
home via in-built appliance cameras; and Smart Home’s Smart
Customer Service notifies users when it’s time to service appli-
ances or replace consumables, and provides assistance in after-
World’s lightest interchangeable lens camera
The new Sony α5000 camera is the world’s lightest inter-
changeable lens camera to feature the convenience of Wi-Fi con-
nectivity. The new camera boasts a formidable amount of imag-
ing power for its size. The new camera features a large 20.1 MP
APS-C sized sensor that is paired with a new-generation BIONZ
X processor. These key devices work together to deliver crisp,
high-quality still images and full HD videos in all types of shoot-
ing conditions. On-board Wi-Fi capabilities give consumers one-
touch connection with Xperia or NFC-compatible Android smart-
phones or tablets for instant image transfer and sharing. A
single touch also activates Smart Remote Control, linking
the camera with a smartphone or tablet to view shots. For
devices without NFC one-touch capabilities, users can
wirelessly transfer images and videos and activate Smart
Remote Control with the α5000 camera through Sony’s
PlayMemories Mobile application, available for the iOS
and Android platforms.
The new α5000 has a intuitive tiltable LCD screen that
can flip upwards up to 180 degrees for easy self-portraits.
The Sony α5000 is priced for about $600.
Pebble Steel smartwatches
Smartwatches were never attractive. The road to success
is to make them both functional and fashionable -- some-
thing of utility, and tempting to wear. This year Pebble managed
to present a great-looking wristwatch with an excellent configu-
ration. The new Pebble Steel channels the styling of a classic
men's watch while also adding a number of new optimized apps
to the mix. A new Mercedes one was particularly interesting. It
provides stats like your current mileage, how much fuel is in your
tank, and your current tire pressure, whether you're near the car
or not. While driving, you can set the app to deliver vibration
alerts to your wrist for different events, like if traffic is getting
heavy ahead. You can also configure Pebble's three buttons for
quick actions performed through the phone and over the car's
dash system. It’s water resistant (safe in the shower or poolside).
A slightly new magnetic connector for charging and an added
three-color LED for showing charge status round out the new fea-
tures. Most smartwatch displays shut off to conserve energy. The
Pebble’s "e-paper" black-and-white screen stays active all the
time. A side button adds backlighting at night, or you can shake
your wrist to light up the screen. The drawback it only holds
eight apps at a time is priced at $249.
The DoorBot wireless doorbell
How nice it would be if you can answer your doorbell from a
wireless device say your smart phone. Well DoorBot wireless
doorbell does exactly the same. DoorBot is a sleek, simple and
powerful wireless doorbell that streams live video of a home’s
front doorstep directly to a smartphone or tablet. It connects to
your home Wi-Fi network. Other devices on the network can be
used to view live video of who’s at the door. With the included
app (for iPhone, iPad, or Android), you can see, hear, and speak
to visitors even from afar—and even when it’s dark outside.
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Global Destinations May - June 201432
Many times you miss an important delivery from FedEx, DHL
because you are not at home or in the bathroom. You can also
attach it to a wired doorbell, which will still ring if your Wi-Fi
network goes down. It will run for over a year before needing to
be recharged.A drawback intended to preserve long battery life is
that DoorBot is inactive until someone rings the bell so it doesn’t
let you view your doorstep if no one has pushed the doorbell. This
wireless doorbell is priced at $199.
World’s Largest Curved UHD TV
Ultra high definition television (UHDTV) that includes 4K
UHD (2160p) and 8K UHD (4320p) - which are two digital video
formats is going to be the future. Samsung has come out with a
broad range of UHD TVs, four of them Curved for a bold, theatri-
cal experience. Samsung U9000 Series Curved UHD TVs – The
World’s First Curved UHD TV - are 65-inch and 55-inch Curved
TVs. The company also showed its “Bendable TV” concept,
which allows viewers to switch between a curved and flat screen
at the touch of a button.
Samsung launched the World’s Largest Curved UHD TV, with
a 105-inch screen and a truly cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio with 11
million pixels for a 5,120×2,160 screen resolution. Additionally,
viewers can experience a 3D effect without glasses with the new
Auto Depth Enhancer feature. Samsung’s revolutionary curved
design creates the most immersive viewing experience and with
its new Instant On feature, users will no longer have to wait for
their TVs to power up.
Oculus Rift: Virtual reality headset
Virtual reality has captured the imagination of developers, con-
sumers and businesses for decades, but there have remained a few
deficiencies. The Oculus Rift is a new virtual reality headset that
lets players step inside their favorite games and virtual worlds.
Oculus presented one of the coolest gadgets at CES - its latest
prototype, code-named "Crystal Cove," Oculus VR has taken a
massive leap forward, eliminating the stomach-churning motion
blur that has plagued previous generations of VR headsets, and
adding sensors and a camera to track the position of both your
head and body and provide more accurate simulated movement.
The prototype has unbelievable head tracking, letting one lean in
and out and look at objects from multiple angles. The Crystal
Cove version's 1080p OLED display is amazingly sharp and
bright. The Oculus Rift creates a stereoscopic 3D view with
excellent depth, scale, and parallax. With the latest Rift, Oculus
has created a device that may usher in an era of truly immersive
gaming and entertainment, and even create new opportunities for
businesses to use virtual reality in everything from manufacturing
to medical environments.
Intel RealSense 3D camera
In an effort to make interaction with technology simpler, more
natural and immersive, Intel in collaboration with other compa-
nies, is bringing human-like senses to Intel-based devices in a
new family of hardware and software products called Intel
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Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 33
RealSense technology. The Intel RealSense 3D camera is one of
the first products in the new family and is the world's first inte-
grated 3D depth and 2D camera module that helps devices "see"
depth much like the human eye. It features a best-in-class depth
sensor and a full 1080p color camera. It has the ability to detect
finger level movements enabling highly accurate gesture recogni-
tion, facial features for understanding movement and emotions. It
can understand foregrounds and backgrounds to allow control,
enhance interactive augmented reality, simply scan items in three
dimensions, and more.
The Intel RealSense 3D camera will be integrated into a grow-
ing spectrum of Intel-based devices including 2 in 1, tablet, Ultra-
book, notebook, and all-in-one (AIO) designs. Systems with the
new camera will be available beginning in the second half of
2014 from Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo and NEC. On
stage, Intel showcased seven different devices with the integrated
camera from Dell, Lenovo and Asus.
Panasonics “Life+ Screen”
Panasonics Life+ Screen is a new category of TV designed to
take consumers beyond Smart TV to a new level of personaliza-
tion and interaction. The hallmark of the Life+Screen line-up is
the "Beyond Smart" concept that provides an easy-to-use inter-
face with a variety of functions. There are so many things one can
do with a TV these days - from watching TV shows and films,
connecting with family and friends via social media, accessing
video on demand and user-generated content via the cloud, gam-
ing, and so much more. The new my Home Screen function offers
a more intuitive and personalized gateway allowing users to
personalize their screen with their favorite apps and content and
access it all quickly and easily. The new my Stream feature
enables seamless, automatic content recommendation. Pana-
sonic Life+ Screens learn user preferences and automatically rec-
ommend content that is targeted to each person. Voice Assistant
lets the user easily search for their favorite content in a natural,
conversational way. My Home Cloud makes it possible to down-
load a wide variety of content and apps, and to gain access to
places for purchasing accessories via Panasonic’s proprietary
Cloud Technology. A new Remote Sharing feature also makes it
possible to share video memos, messages, and other information
from my Home Screen through smartphone devices while away
New Food Storage Solutions
The days of opening the refrigerator and sorting through disor-
ganized drawers and
shelves are over with the
Samsung Food Show-
smart storage and orga-
nizational solutions for
the family, the refrigera-
tor features an exterior
door ShowCase com-
partment divided into
zones: An upper level
cooking zone for cook-
ing items like cheese and
sauces, a mid-level fami-
ly zone for drinks and
snacks, and a lower level kids zone for juice boxes and fruit cups.
The refrigerator also includes an interior InnerCase compartment
for longer storage of larger, fresh food items. The Metal Cooling
guard on the inside of the front door captures cold air and main-
tains the optimal temperature within the fridge, so food stays
fresh, even if the refrigerator door is opened frequently.
Panasonic DECT telephone - KX-PRL262B
Panasonic KX-PRL262B Dock-Style DECT telephone system
is compatible with iPhone 5/5s, iPod touch and iPad mini models
with lightning connectors. Designed for ease-of-use, the tele-
phone system offers an array of unique features for rich function-
ality including text message alert which notifies users when they
have a new text message on their iPhone, transfer of phone book
entries from the iPhone via Bluetooth technology, ring as cell
which allows the handset to ring the same ringtones as the
iPhone, and talking caller ID that announces incoming calls.
By simply connecting the iPhone 5 via Bluetooth on the Pana-
sonic KX-PRL262B Dock-Style cordless telephone system, users
can play music or make and receive hands-free calls from their
iPhone, through the phone’s built in Bluetooth enabled speakers.
Conveniently, users don’t have to worry about their iPhone bat-
tery dying during voice conversations because the dock is
equipped with a lightning connector that charges the iPhone 5 for
an uninterrupted experience.
The Panasonic KX-PRL262B Dock-Style cordless telephone
system uses the
nology to con-
nect a user’s
iPhone with the
to make and
anywhere in the
home using the
G a d g e t s
Global Destinations May - June 201434
handset. To ensure important text messages are not missed, the
phone offers a talking text sender alert that announces the name
of the sender when a text message is received on the iPhone.
The first Wi-Fi enabled camera
The Polaroid Socialmatic camera, the first Wi-Fi enabled cam-
era in the line will change the way consumers look at digital cam-
eras with its unique square shape and vintage design. Consumers
will have the choice of using the 14 megapixel front-side camera
or 2 megapixel rear-side camera to capture and immediately post
images to their favorite social networking sites, via built in Wi-Fi.
If Wi-Fi isn’t immediately available, the camera will easily pair
with consumer’s smartphones via Bluetooth to enable instant
sharing from virtually anywhere. It will allow users to select,
print and share images instantly on ZINK Paper featuring the ink-
free Zero Ink Printing technology by ZINK Imaging. Prior to
printing, images can be touched up, edited, and consumers can
add clip art, icons, or text to any image prior to printing or post-
ing. The Polaroid Socialmatic camera will utilize an Android
operating system. The camera will feature a 4.5” touchscreen
LCD display for easy navigation and an LED flash for great
images even in low light. Consumers will be able to save their
images to a Micro SD card or to the camera’s 4GB of internal
Lamborghini Veneno Roadster with Audio by Monster
Monster created a unique audio system for the EUR 3.3m super
sports car, the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster - only nine of which
will be produced. Monster has designed a system that delivers
sound with best-in-class dynamics and clarity. The Veneno Road-
ster’s audio system uses Monster’s latest proprietary technologies
and sonic innovations to bring the full experience of live music to
the drivers and passengers of Lamborghini's masterpiece. Lam-
borghini stands out for being the best Italian luxury super sports
car manufacturer. Monster engineered the sound of Beats head-
phones, and has since become the world’s leading manufacturer
of high-performance headphones, all featuring Pure Monster
It's a laptop, tablet and desktop PC
The ASUS Transformer Book Trio is the first 3-in-1, 11.6-inch
dual OS Windows 8/Android hybrid laptop with a dock powered
by a 4th generation Intel Core™ i7 processor. The Asus Trans-
former Book Trio bridges the gap between mobile tablets and tra-
ditional laptops. It’s actually three devices in one - It’s a Laptop.
It’s a Tablet. It’s
a Desktop PC. It
opens up like a
laptop with a
mouse and key-
board with Win-
tem or the
screen which is
can function as
tablet). Both “devices” share an 11.6-inch HD touchscreen - a
1920 x 1080 IPS display. The tablet has a dual-core 1.6-Ghz Intel
Atom processor, while the laptop features a powerful Core i7
4500U processor. Theres a 2 GB of tablet RAM with the tablet in
Android mode and 4 GB of RAM from the base laptop when run-
ning Windows. It has an array of ports from USB 3.0 to micro
HDMI to be connected.
SkyBell - A smart Wi-Fi doorbell
SkyBell addresses a specific need – to know who is at your
door whether you’re at home or on the go – and makes managing
homes and daily life a little
easier. Manufactured by Sky-
Bell Technologies, SkyBell
Wi-Fi video doorbell was
named an International CES
Innovations 2014 Design and
Engineering Awards Honoree.
SkyBell is a smart Wi-Fi door-
bell with video camera and
motion sensor that allows users
to answer their door from a
mobile device no matter where
they are or what they’re doing.
When a visitor presses the Sky-
Bell button, a live video feed is
sent to the user who can see, hear and speak to their visitor from
an iOS or Android mobile device.
G a d g e t s
Global DestinationsMay - June 2014 35
Panasonic cordless telephones
Panasonics launched four new Premium Design Series of cord-
less telephones - the KX-PRW120, KX-PRW130, KX-PRS120
and KX-PRX120. The KX-PRW120 and the KX-PRW130,
include a Smartphone Connect feature, which requires a home
Wi-Fi connection that allows consumers to make and receive
landline calls throughout the home using their smartphone or
tablet. As an
handset can also
be used as a
or tablet devices.
with a unique
for an easy grab-and-grip and comfortable one hand or hands-free
operation. The phone’s magnetic adaptor allows the handset to
securely sit in place on the base so it can be placed on the coun-
tertop. The Panasonic KX-PRX120 can also be used as a video
phone via Skype using the built-in 0.3 Megapixel camera on the
front of the phone. In addition to video communication, users can
enjoy other types of communication including E-mail, SNS and
schedule sharing on Google Calendar.
The iSmartAlarm Doorfront
Priced between $199 or $349 depending on the configuration,
the iSmartAlarm Doorfront is a wireless doorbell, a new security
and home control tool. Its a collection of wireless components
that includes a camera, motion sensor, and a remote tag (for track-
ing children or pets). The replacement doorbell lets you know
when someone is approaching the door even before they ring the
bell, and you can see, hear, and speak to visitors using the com-
pany’s app on your iPhone. You can also view streaming video,
take snapshots, or set the system to automatically capture activi-
ty with the product’s built-in motion detector. The iSmartAlarm
Doorfront is the first device to seamlessly integrate motion detec-
tion, a high-resolution controllable camera, doorbell, and inter-
com functionalities in an easy to use device.
3Doodler: The world’s first 3D printing pen
3D printing is all the rage. But its expensive as printing with
plastic (or other materials) requires a complex machine that fol-
lows a programmed design. 3D printers will become affordable
soon. Though not a printer in the traditional sense, the 3Doodler
does let you create physical objects using colorful plastic "ink"
sticks. It's like a hot-glue gun crossed with a soldering iron: the
melted plastic emerges from the tip, allowing you to "draw"
A company called Wobbleworks has come to the rescue of cre-
ative spirits trapped by two-dimensional drawing on paper. The
3Doodler 3D printing pen helps one draw or trace plastic crafts,
templates and other 3D designs. The 3D printing pen costs $100
and comes with 50 multicolored plastic strands when it ships this
For Your Information
Global Destinations May - June 201436
May 02 -03 World Travel Market Africa, Cape Town, South Africa
May 05 -08 Arabian Travel Market, Dubai, UAE
May 06 -09 Travelweek Sao Paulo by ILTM, Bienal Pavillion, Sao Paulo, Brazil
May 09 -11 WTF - WORLD TRAVEL FAIR 2014, Shanghai, China
May 11 – 13 Germany Travel Mart 2014, Bremen, Germany
May 11 – 13 Airport Show, DICEC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
May 12 – 13 Global Airport Leaders' Forum, DICEC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
May 15 -18 FIM - Foire International de Madagascar, Madagascar, Antananarivo
May 20 -22 IMEX 2014, Frankfurt, Germany
May 22 -23 Travel Distribution Summit Europe 2014, London, UK
June 02 – 05 ILTM Asia, Shanghai Exhibition Centre (SEC), Shanghai, China
June 02 – 06 Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, Athens, Greece
June 05 – 08 5th Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine, Bergen, Norway
June 10 – 12 AIBTM, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, USA
June 11 – 13 MITM Euromed, Meetings and Incentive Travel Market, Cadiz, Spain
June 11 – 13 Istanbul Medical Tourism Fair and Congress 2014, Istanbul, Turkey
June 12 – 15 ITE & MICE 2014, Hong Kong, China
June 17 – 20 PATAcademy-HCD (Human Capital Development), Bangkok, Thailand
July 06-08 Routes Silk Road 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia
July 06-11 Int’l Congress of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery, Edinburgh, UK
July 11-13 India International Travel Mart, Chennai
July 18-20 India International Travel Mart, Bangalore
August 19 -21 IT&CM India 2014, Kempinski Ambience Hotel, Delhi, India
September 03 – 05 IBTM India, ITC Grand Chola, Chennai, India
September 10 – 12 The Global Spa & Wellness Summit, Marrakech, Morocco
September 11 – 13 India International Travel Mart, Mumbai
September 17 – 19 CIBTM, China National Convention Centre, Beijing, China
September 17 – 19 PATA Travel Mart 2014, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
September 18 – 20 Kerala Travel Mart 2014, Kochi, India
September 20 – 23 World Routes 2014, Chicago, Illinois, USA
September 22 – 25 ILTM Americas, Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, Mexico
September 23 – 26 IFTM - International French Travel Market Top Resa, Paris, France
September 25 – 28 JATA Tourism Forum & Travel Showcase, Tokyo, Japan
Sept 29 – Oct 01 ILTM Spa, Café Royal, London, United Kingdom
Sept 30 – Oct 02 IT & CMA 2014, Bangkok, Thailand
October 06 – 09 Adventure Travel World Summit 2014, Killarney, Ireland
October 21 – 24 Interbad 2014 (swimming pools, saunas and spas), Stuttgart, Germany
October 23 – 25 ITB Asia 2013, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
October 27 – 30 International Golf Travel Market (IGTM), Villa Erba, Lake Como, Italy
November 03 – 06 World Travel Market (WTM), ExCeL, London, United Kingdom
November 18 – 20 EIBTM, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain
November 21 – 23 India International Travel Mart, Pune
November 28 – 30 India International Travel Mart, Hyderabad
December 01 – 04 ILTM, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
January 11 – 14 Hoga Nürnberg 2015, Nürnberg, Germany
January 15 – 18 Ferien-Messe Wien, Messe Wien, Vienna, Austria
Exhibitions and conferences not only give you an opportunity to see and hear about the latest destinations, servic-
es and products but also becomes a venue to meet and interact with International partners. One should plan much
in advance to participate in an expo so that he can get in touch with existing and prospective customers. We have
compiled a list of travel related Exhibitions for 2014 -15.
If your event is not listed, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's free!
If you are organizing an exhibition/Conference not listed above please get in touch with us at-
Global Destinations, B-701, Customs Colony, Military Rd, Marol, Andheri(E), Mumbai-400 059, India.
Phone - 91-22-29252569, Mobile - 9224339001 / 9223419060 e-mail: email@example.com