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By building a host network in less-explored regions, Airbnb would be contributing to responsible tourism development, and also diversify its offerings in India — a priority market for the company.

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In a bid to check overtourism, Airbnb will be working to enhance host capacity in lesser-explored destinations within Uttarakhand. The memorandum of understanding signed between Airbnb and the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, looks to introduce lesser-explored destinations to tourists.

Responsible Travel Practices: Focusing on conserving Uttarakhand’s cultural heritage, natural beauty and traditions, the partnership aims to encourage responsible and mindful travel. The goal is to empower local communities and offer travelers enriching experiences.

Key Elements of the Agreement

  • Capacity Building: Airbnb will conduct capacity-building activities in select locations, focusing on improving local hospitality standards and responsible hosting. Workshops will be organized for ‘model hosts,’ who will then share their knowledge with members of the community.
  • Onboarding Homestays: The partnership will prioritize onboarding homestays onto the Airbnb platform. Workshops in pilot destinations will train ‘model hosts’ on setting up profiles, optimizing listing content, and capturing attractive photographs.
  • Ecosystem: Airbnb will review homestay-specific gaps in pilot destinations and share assessments with the tourism board. This is then expected to assist in formulating a targeted support strategy for homestays.
  • Training: Airbnb will collaborate with district tourism officers as points of contact for coordination. This includes providing venue support for workshops, listing registered homestays, and mobilizing “model hosts.”

Speaking earlier at the Skift India Travel Podcast, Airbnb’s general manager for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Amanpreet Singh Bajaj, had said, “Destination promotion is a big part of this partnership. We don’t want to just focus on India’s tourism hotspots but also work with underserved communities and regions, train people there so that we are able to position India on the global map holistically.”

According to an Oxford Economics research, Airbnb had contributed over $920 million (INR 72 billion) to India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and supported over 85,000 jobs in the country between April 2022-March 2023.

Moxy Debuts in India

Marriott has introduced its Moxy brand to India with the unveiling of Moxy Bengaluru Airport Prestige Tech Cloud. Ranju Alex, Area Vice President, South Asia, Marriott International, describes it as a “disruptive hotel experience,” blending the playful essence of Moxy Hotels with Bengaluru’s vibrant energy.

“As we continue to grow our portfolio of hotels, we take pride in the ability to stay true to ourselves and weave the playful nature of Moxy Hotels into the energy of Bengaluru with the opening of Moxy Bengaluru Airport Prestige Cloud,” said Alex. 

Speaking earlier to Skift about the Moxy launch, Alex had said, “It will be our 17th brand to launch in the region across markets such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai with an anticipated opening planned for the first quarter of 2024.”

Anuradha Venkatachalam, Hotel Manager, Moxy Bengaluru Airport Prestige Tech Cloud, sees Moxy Hotels as more than a brand, calling it a whole new vibe set to make waves in India’s hospitality scene.

Mumbai Airport’s Touches Almost 5 Million Passengers in December

Mumbai International Airport handled its highest-ever monthly traffic of 2023 with a little less than 5 million passengers in December. This reflects a growth of almost 13% compared to December 2022 and a 12% growth in passenger traffic compared to December 2019.

The highest passenger traffic movement in a single day for the month was observed on December 16 with 165,258 passengers.

In December 2023, the airport’s passenger distribution showcased a dominant 47% from the Middle East, followed by 28% from the Asia Pacific region and 15% from Europe. Delhi, Bangalore, and Goa were the top 3 domestic destinations, while Dubai, London, and Abu Dhabi continued to be the preferred international choices.

The Mumbai-Delhi route alone recorded a substantial traffic of 622,424 passengers. IndiGo, Air India and Vistara were the leading carriers both in the domestic as well as the international routes.

Air India Express Connects Hyderabad to Riyadh

Air India Express has launched new routes connecting Hyderabad with Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh. The airline will operate three weekly direct flights on these routes.

Strengthening its presence in Saudi Arabia, the airline recently launched flights connecting Hyderabad with Dammam. Operations on the Hyderabad-Riyadh route will commence from February 2.

Speaking about the launch of the new routes, Tara Naidu, vice president, international business, Air India Express, said, “The India-Gulf routes have always been a mainstay for Air India Express, and we are elated to now connect Hyderabad with Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia.”

Air India Express recently launched flights connecting Hyderabad with Gwalior and Amritsar.

The airline has also launched Vista VIP, its business class-like product, that includes wider seats and increased legroom, hot meals, additional baggage allowance and priority boarding services.

Sarovar Hotels Announces Second Tulip Inn in India

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of a 71-key Tulip Inn in Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh, catering to Buddhist pilgrims. This marks the second Tulip Inn in India, complementing the existing portfolio of 9 pilgrimage hotels across various destinations.

The opening aligns with Sarovar’s strategy to expand its presence and drive growth in popular pilgrimage and tourist locations.

“With Tulip Inn opening we intend to fill the gap for quality accommodation in one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations,” said Anil Kedia, director of Orison Hotel & Resort, the company with which Sarovar has partnered for the hotel opening.

Uttar Pradesh’s Aviation Growth

Uttar Pradesh now has 10 airports and will be getting 5 more by next month, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia said while inaugurating the direct flight between Ayodhya and Ahmedabad.

The five airports would be coming up in Azamgarh, Aligarh, Moradabad, Shravasti and Chitrakoot. Apart from this an international airport will also be ready in Jewar by the end of 2024, Scindia said.

The minister also said that air connectivity in the state has increased sharply in the last decade. The state that was earlier connected to 18 cities in 2014 is now connected to 41 cities and flight movement has more than doubled from 700 to 1654 flight movements per week within that period.

Built in an area of 6,500 square meters, the newly-inaugurated Ayodhya airport has the capacity to handle 600 air passengers at peak hours. The next phase would see capacity being extended to 3000 passenger, Scindia said. The runway, which is 2,200 meter long, would also be expanded to 3700 meters to handle larger aircraft for international flights.


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Tags: Air India Express, airbnb, aviation, marriott bonvoy, moxy, mumbai, saudi arabia, skift india report

Photo credit: Nainital in Uttarakhand is a popular tourist destination. Lokesh Kumar / Pexels

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