Alan Watts named president, Hilton Asia-Pacific

Alan Watts has been appointed executive vice president and president, Asia Pacific at Hilton hotels, effective January 1, 2018. Watts was chief operating officer for AMEA for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and responsible for the company’s operations in 280 hotels across six brands and 40 countries. Watts joins Hilton after a two-decade career at IHG.

Watts will oversee the operations of more than 200 Hilton properties across the region, as well as the company’s pipeline of over 375 hotels. Watts will be reporting to Hilton’s president & ceo Christopher Nassetta, and serve as a member of the executive committee.

Tony Douglas is new group ceo of Etihad

Tony Douglas has been appointed as group chief executive officer of the Etihad Aviation Group effective January 2018 and will be based in Abu Dhabi. Douglas joins Etihad from the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, responsible for procuring and supporting all the equipment and services for the British Armed Forces.

In the UK, he held senior positions with airport operator British Airports Authority (BAA) and Laing O’Rourke. Under BAA, he was the managing director of the Heathrow Terminal 5 project and CEO of Heathrow Airport, at various times.

Douglas has held senior positions in the UAE, as ceo of Abu Dhabi Airports Company and of Abu Dhabi Ports Company.

Alphons Kannanthanam appointed Tourism Minister

Alphons Kannanthanam has been appointed Minister for Tourism, Government of India. Kannanthanam is a retired Indian Administrative Service officer and was recognised in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1989.

Kannanthanam worked in the Indian Administrative Service as a bureaucrat until 2006 when he was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly, from Kanjirappally in Kottayam District of the southern Indian state, Kerala.

Kannanthanam will spearhead India’s tourism industry at a time when outbound travel is growing exponentially but inbound tourism needs to be revitalized with suitable promotions and infrastructure development.


Vinay Dube is new CEO of Jet Airways

Vinay Dube, an aviation industry veteran, has been appointed as the chief executive officer of Jet Airways. Dube has previously held key managerial roles at Delta Airlines, Sabre and American Airlines in the US, Europe and Asia, during his three decades of global business career in the industry. He was senior vice president-Asia Pacific for Delta Airlines in his last assignment and led the Asia-Pacific region as business head. He was concurrently board observer at China Eastern Airlines.

During his tenure, Dube led the turnaround of Delta Airline in Asia-Pacific markets, restructured the network, established strategic partnerships, worked on brand-building and transformed the work culture of his teams. He has also held various board level positions throughout his career.


Puneet Chhatwal is new Taj Group CEO

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), the holding company of the Taj Group of Hotels has appointed Puneet Chhatwal as its new cCEO.  Chhatwal was earlier the CEO of Deutsche Hospitality, which owns the Steigenberger chain of hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Chhatwal replaces Rakesh Sarna who is stepping down with effect from September 30, 2017.  Chhatwal started his career with the India Tourism Development Corporation, a Government of India enterprise, and was thereafter the chief development officer of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel group, which owns the Radisson brand of hotels, before joining Deutsche Hospitality in 2012.

Vishal Sinha is new ceo of Carlson Wagonlit Travel India

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has appointed Vishal Sinha as Chief Executive Officer of CWT India. Sinha is based in CWT India’s head office in Gurgaon and will report to Kai Chan, CWT’s president for Asia Pacific. Sinha is a member of CWT’s Asia Pacific leadership team and succeeds Geeta Jain, who has moved as strategic program vice-president.

Sinha now leads CWT India’s team of over 1,200 personnel across nine offices and is also responsible for growing CWT’s business in India, particularly with local companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Sinha has more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry, including substantial international experience. Most recently, he was chief operating officer of TUI India.

Promotion for Dhirendra Pratap Singh

Dhirendra Pratap Singh has been promoted to rooms division manager at Four Points by Sheraton Navi Mumbai. With over 16 years of experience in revenue management and rooms division, Singh has worked with renowned brands across the country such as Oberoi-Trident, Intercontinental, Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International. Singh has successfully completed his hotel management from IHM, Patna and also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in business administration.

Tushar Garg joins Grand Mercure Mysuru

Grand Mercure Mysuru, an AccorHotels property, has appointed Tushar Garg as the new director of sales and marketing. In his role, Garg will be responsible for leading and further improving all aspects of the sales and marketing communications, promoting brand strategies and providing the best of Grand Mercure hospitality experience to the guests.

A seasoned hotelier, Garg has been in the hospitality industry for over 15 years. Prior to joining AccorHotels, Garg was the associate director of sales at Hyatt Raipur. Garg started his career with Preferred Hotels & Resorts in the USA and then went on to hold various positions across leading hotel chains in India and abroad.

Dietmar Kielnhofer is new GM at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar

Dietmar Kielnhofer has been appointed general manager at JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar. Prior to joining JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, Kielnhofer served as the complex general manager at Starwood Hyderabad, India.

With over 30 years of industry exposure across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Kielnhofer possesses major strength in hotel operations, marketing, food and beverage, human resources and finance. His expertise includes delivering above average financial performance, market share growth, improving service standards as well as maintaining excellent relationships with stakeholders.

He was a board member of the Executive Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce Hyderabad and was also appointed as Vice President and Secretary of the Hyderabad Convention and Visitors Bureau (HCVB) in 2016. Under Dietmar’s leadership The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace was also voted as the Best Luxury Hotel 2016 by the Indian Hospitality Awards West and South.


Sneha Jha joins Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport

Sneha Jha has been named director of sales and marketing, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport. Sneha is responsible for maximizing revenues, promoting brand strategies, increasing business opportunities and providing the best hospitality experience to guests at the property. A seasoned hotelier, Sneha has been in the hospitality industry for over 14 years. An alumnus of Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology & Applied Nutrition, Bangalore, Sneha started her career with The Oberoi Hotels, Mumbai. Prior to joining Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport, Sneha was the director of sales and marketing at Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport.

Shital Sethi joins Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach

AccorHotels has appointed Shital Sethi as the new director of sales and marketing for Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach. In her role, Sethi will be responsible for leading sales and marketing communications, promoting brand strategies of Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach.

Prior to joining AccorHotels, Sethi was the director of sales and marketing at Hotel Holiday Inn, Mumbai. She has worked with some of the most renowned hotels including Radisson Hotels, Goa; The Orchid, Mumbai; Hotel Grand Sarovar Premiere, Mumbai and Rodas, an Ecotel Hotel, Mumbai.

Ayesha Bhalla to lead sales at JW Marriott Pune

Ayesha Bhalla has been appointed as market director of sales and marketing for JW Marriott Pune and all other properties in Pune under the Marriott portfolio. In her new role, she will lead strategic sales, marketing and business operations for the Pune cluster of Marriott properties while shouldering the responsibility of achieving revenue goals, guest and employee satisfaction and the financial performance of the department. Bhalla has over 19 years of experience in the field of hospitality. She began her career at the Holiday Inn Worldwide as a sales executive and moved on to at the Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Mumbai. After that, she went on to work at The Imperial New Delhi and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts Bengaluru before joining the JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar in 2014, from where her journey with Marriott began.