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The Leela, Palaces, Hotels and Resorts is delighted to launch its own Global Distribution Systems (GDS) code - LR. The transition of the group’s seven ultra-luxury hotels from Kempinski International’s code KI to LR will be effective 7 December 2011.

The launch of the new GDS code ‘LR’ comes at an exciting time when the group is in an advanced growth phase and focused on strengthening its position as a premium luxury brand known for its warmth and authenticity, lavish interiors and opulent design, innovative dining experiences and outstanding technology.

“The launch of our own GDS code, LR, is a landmark event for The Leela. Having a dedicated chain code ensures control over brand, marketing messages and how travel partners view our hotels. The ability to customize multi-channel distribution solutions paired with comprehensive service offering will increase the visibility of the brand amongst the travel community. It will highlight our position as a strong, stand-alone ultra-luxury brand,” said Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.

 
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The Indian government is earnestly considering tax reimbursement on film shooting expenditure in the country to woo prominent filmmakers. Besides, single window clearance system for all shooting-related events including visa clearance for filmmakers is being considered to promote Indian destinations abroad.

"We have decided to constitute a national body comprising members from NFDC, Tourism Ministry and the stakeholders to sort out various issues involving promotions of destinations through films," said a senior tourism ministry official. National Film Development Corporation MD Nina Gupta will be the nodal officer for the committee.

As part of this concept being termed as "film tourism", the ministry will invite and extend hospitality to global filmmakers for site visits for development of destinations. “We will also consider payment of facilitation fees for film shooting and work out an acceptable model.

"Cinema plays an important role in promoting tourism worldwide. We are examining the possibility of tax reimbursement on expenditure on film shooting as is prevalent in other countries," the official said. The ministry is formulating an approach paper in this regard so that these issues can be taken up at highest level to promote the new concept.

"We will earmark funds to support film production and offer incentives to foreign and Indian filmmakers," the official said, adding a dedicated website highlighting possible film locations will be developed by the ministry for the purpose. Streamlining of visa procedures, speedy customs clearance for import of filming equipment, ensuring easy accessibility to locations and eliminating obstacles and offering financial incentives to producers are some of the proposals being finalised by the ministry to attract filmmakers.

The ministry also proposes to ensure a single window clearance for licences and no-objection certificates for film makers for shooting at locations including security arrangements. In some countries, the Mayor reimburses certain percentage of film charges in case the film promotes the destination. "We would examine the possibility of creating similar fund for promotion of destinations and cities of India," the official added.

 
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Gujarat Tourism is gung-ho about spending Rs 635 crore in developing tourism-related infrastructure over the next three years as it expects more visitors and aims to increase the share of tourism revenue in the state GDP, which currently is only about 1 per cent. The Government recently set up a company, GuTops (Gujarat Tourism Opportunities), in association with infra finance firm IL&FS, in which both are equal partners.

"Various Government departments, along with Gujarat Tourism Corporation, will be investing over Rs 635 crore in infrastructure build-up over the next three years," Principal Secretary (Tourism) Vipul Mittra said while announcing the forthcoming Rann festival and the International Kite Festival in Gujarat.

"As far as tourist arrivals are concerned, we hope to receive 2 crore people this year, up from 1.8 crore last year. Of this we expect 4 lakh to be foreign visitors, up from 3.2 lakh last year, Tourism Commissioner and Gujarat Tourism Managing Director Sanjay Kaul said.

Another initiative in this regard is GujTour, the entity through which private equity players will be pumping in money to build infrastructure. Under the second initiative, already 37 hotel and resort projects, including a couple by the Taj Group, have been cleared. The tourism department will be spending around Rs 2 crore to promote the Rann Utsav (December 9, 2011 - January 15, 2012). Gujarat Tourism annually spends Rs 50 crore on marketing. Kaul said the Kutch region abounds with beaches, wildlife and ancient palaces and monuments and the Rann Utsav is the celebration of this.

The kite festival will be held from January 10-15, 2012. It attracts visitors from Japan, Italy, UK, Canada, Brazil, US, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, France, China among others. The third event is the global bird catchers conference from January 19-22, 2012 in Ahmedabad.

 

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