Saying Namaste to Noida and getting ready for APTRA India

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After a two-week stop in Phuket, I’m back on the road again. This time in Delhi, where the APTRA India Conference kicks off tonight, the start of what looks like a strong, relevant and timely event. Great work by the Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA).

I flew in with Air India and rather liked their tannoyed message upon landing: “Namaste. In India we never say goodbye, we say hope to see you again.”

Like many delegates, I’m staying at the Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, which apart from boasting among the darkest corridors I’ve ever seen in an upscale hotel (below) and whose wall pattern had me unsure about what kind of trip I was on, is a pleasant enough place to set up my latest Interim Bureau.

I always enjoy visiting locations I have written about so it was nice to briefly experience the expansive and excellent Delhi Duty Free arrivals store yesterday. The shop is extremely well-ranged and extraordinarily well-staffed both in numbers and quality. None of the team knew who I was but as soon as I even started to peruse the shop I was met with multiple offers of assistance.

I didn’t exactly send the average spend per passenger into orbit but I bought a couple of bottles of good white wine, including – in my capacity as the unofficial Ambassador of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – a very tasty Framingham 2022, packed with beautifully zesty Wairau Valley fruit.

The overall arrivals experience at Indira Gandhi International Airport is admirably efficient, especially if, like me, you choose to avail yourself of the meet and greet service run by Atithya, described – with much justification I would say – as ‘A Seamless End-To-End Airport Experience.’ Highly recommended.

The delightful Navjot from Atithya welcomes me to India

Today I headed out to Noida for a pleasant and enlightening meeting with Noida Chief Commercial Officer Prashant Gaurav Gupta and Lead Corporate Communications Gautam Anand.

Arriving at Advant Navis Business Park, corporate headquarters to Noida International Airport
What an honour to catch up with Noida Chief Commercial Officer Prashant Gaurav Gupta (centre) and Lead Corporate Communications Gautam Anand (left)

Readers will have seen my recent reports about the commercial contracts (advertising, F&B 1 and lounges) awarded to date at this magnificent new airport, which is expected to open its first phase around December this year.

There’s plenty more to follow and I can promise you it will all live up to Noida International Airport Chief Executive Officer Christoph Schnellmann’s pledge in a recent interview with us to combine “Indian warmth and hospitality with Swiss quality [Zurich Airport is the 100% shareholder of the project] and efficiency”.

Namaste Noida International Airport. I not only hope to but will see you again. ✈

OK if you are on PC but Apple users beware. Is this pub (pictured outside Noida International Airport Corporate HQ) the best-named ever?

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