Category Archives: Agents

Government needs to rethink on taxes: FAITH

The 28 per cent tax on hotels is going to affect not only the hotel industry, but other businesses as well, said Sarab Jit Singh, Vice-Chairman, FAITH. He added, “It is a clear way to kill the travel and hospitality industry. Secondly, GST of 5 per cent on tour operators, which was already there. However, the government should look at if they want to promote tourism or their purpose is to earn tax money from tourism instead of generating employment and earn foreign exchange from this sector. They should decide if they want the tourism industry to perish or flourish. We are tired of knee-jerk reactions that we get from the government now and then. I think the government needs to rethink the decisions on taxes. We are having a meeting with FAITH and work on a consolidated approach to talk to the government on this.”

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GST Council levies 5% rate on tours

The Government of India’s GST Council finalised the tax rates on services under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime at their meeting held in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir. The GST regime is scheduled to kick-in from July 1, and the council has approved the GST rates for services at Nil, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. According to the current rate, the 5% rate of GST will be levied on transport of passengers by rail (other than sleeper class); transport of passengers by air in economy class; transport of passengers with or without accompanied  belongings, by air, embarking from or terminating in a Regional Connectivity Scheme Airport;  as well as supply of tour operators’ services. There is 12 per cent GST rate levied on transport of passengers by air in other than economy class. These rates will be further subjected to vetting and would undergo some changes.

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RCI launches shared vacation ownership industry white paper

RCI recently published a new global industry white paper on the shared vacation ownership industry to help educate, inspire and support potential new entrants into the business. It is also designed to assist the media, legislators and hospitality groups to better understand the leisure real estate industry. Created to support industry growth, the Leisure Real Estate Trends & Opportunities handbook demonstrates the credibility of shared vacation ownership products and markets, helping to demystify one of the fastest-growing and established industries in the hospitality sector. “RCI has been involved in facilitating the swapping and sharing of residential leisure real estate for more than four decades,” said Dimitris Manikis, Vice President of Business Development, RCI Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We have worked with developers and investors from every walk of the hospitality and leisure real estate sectors and have seen firsthand what a resilient and robust business this is. We at RCI understand the shared vacation ownership model’s potential to grow a business base, as well as making a significant contribution to tourism revenues. For all these reasons, we felt it was important to draft a white paper that makes absolutely clear how the products work and where the opportunities lie. We see a great future for a product that offers access to a property asset – it is the perfect fit for today’s Millennial consumer mindset.” This handbook is designed to be an A-to-Z guide to the shared ownership and leisure real estate business. It contains valuable business insights into the European marketplace, as well as analysis of the global industry.

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BookMyForex ventures into travel insurance

BookMyForex, a marketplace for retail foreign exchange and private remittances, will now offer travel insurance that caters to a wide range of customers with different demographic profiles, purpose of travel, etc. Sudarshan Motwani, CEO & Co-founder, BookMyForex said “Travel insurance is an extremely important aspect of planning a trip, which, unfortunately, often gets neglected as travellers are not fully aware of its numerous benefits. Travellers should choose a travel insurance plan that suits their interests well. At BookMyForex, apart from foreign exchange available at the best rates, travellers would be facilitated with an assortment of travel insurance plans which cover a wide gamut of parameters. Through our customised products catering to different individuals’ needs and preferences, we provide the most impeccable travel insurance plans so that you remain calm and enjoy your travel worry-free while we remain on the lookout for your well-being.” BookMyForex as an IRDA authorised agent offers two types of travel insurance plans- Travel Prime Coverage and Travel Elite, which comes with three categories Travel Elite Silver, Travel Elite Gold and Travel Elite Platinum and caters to all age groups, corporates and families etc.

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Travkart offers franchising opportunity to agents in Tier-2 & 3 cities

Travkart, a unit of Holidays by Sahibji, has partnered with franchise business consulting company Sparkleminds to help with its expansion plans in India. As part of the collaboration, Travkart will offer franchising opportunities to travel agents in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, while Sparkleminds will provide them with end-to-end assistance in establishing and managing the franchise. Through this partnership, Travkart aims to create franchises pan-India with initial focus on North and East India and hopes to create 4 franchises by the next quarter and 100 franchises by 2020. A micro website will be created for each franchisee/travel agent to ensure differentiation, flexibility and affordable pricing based on the region of operation. In addition, Travkart will handle the digital marketing and social media management for its franchisees, creating a separate Facebook page for each city to help travel agents connect and interact with locals. All travel agents need to do to apply for a Travkart franchise is fill and submit the application form online on the Travkart website. Once they are selected as a franchisee, they will receive comprehensive assistance through the franchising process which would include step-by-step franchise management training to local partners by a qualified franchise manager. Sparkleminds will further assist Travkart to build the support systems that these travel agents franchises would need and help build trust among regional travel agents as well as customers. Commenting on the partnership and program launch, Manheer Singh Sethi, Co-founder, Travkart.com, said, “2017 will be a very important year for Travkart in terms of increasing market penetration. Our focus is primarily on expanding to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in North and East India in the first phase after which we will look at …

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FCM receives Authorised Dealer Category II license from RBI

FCM Travel Solutions, the Indian subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group, Australia, can now undertake various permissible outward remittance activities for travellers across segments(leisure travel, business travel, medical treatment, education, emigration and employment).The upgrade comes into effect post receiving the Authorised Dealer Category II (AD-II) license, as granted by the Reserve Bank of India. In addition, FCM Travel Solutions will be able to release/ sell foreign currency in form of multi-currency prepaid travel cards, currency notes and Travellers Cheques for visas, emigration and emigration consultancy fees, employment and processing, assessment fees for overseas job applications, students who intend to study overseas or seek to apply for proficiency examinations, international film shootings and medical treatments abroad. Gagan Malhotra, National Head, Foreign Exchange at FCM Travel Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are pleased to be a part of the few AD-II license holders in the travel fraternity. The elevation not just widens the scope of availability of foreign exchange through different channels but also makes the pre-trip process more convenient and hassle-free for our customers. It will also help us seek better currency rates.”

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Pacific Travels becomes exclusive visa facilitator for Iran

Starting May, Pacific Travels has become the solely authorised visa submission and processing centre for an Iran business and tourist visa. The centre accepts submission of business, tourist and pilgrimage visas currently with a processing time of 3 working days. According to Nasir Zaidi, Managing Partner, “Thanks to the increased connectivity between India and Iran, the centre receives nearly 600 – 800 visa applications on a weekly basis, with corporate and tourist visas accounting for nearly 30 % of the total visa applications.” Pilgrimage visa though still accounts for the bulk of the visa application for Iran.

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Thomas Cook India targets woman traveller segment

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd has carefully curated a segment to address the unique needs of mothers and mothers-to-be (mother and baby-moon packages) and incorporates the special interests of India’s women travellers with engaging experiences like shopping, sampling global cuisine while learning to cook it, as well and local cultural tours and rejuvenating spa-wellness programmes. Thomas Cook India’s Mother’s Day tour packages feature easy to access short-haul International destinations like Singapore, Dubai (including a stay in the resort destination of Ras-Al-Khaimah), Thailand, Sri Lanka, Oman, Maldives and Mauritius. Rajeev Kale, Thomas Cook India’s President & Country Head-Leisure Travel, MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “India’s Mommy travellers are clearly the next growth drivers and our product teams at Thomas Cook India have developed unique packages, personalized to serve their needs. We understand that the Protagonist Traveller of today looks beyond the ordinary & likes to customize her packages, which is why we have taken into consideration not just accommodation and sightseeing, but also exciting elements like water sports, local cuisine & cooking, shopping; equally safety and cultural sensitivities of each country.”

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TrawellTag Cover-More conducts engagement programme for Jaipur agents

Trawelltag Cover-More recently conducted a Travel Agents’ Engagement Programme (TAEP) for travel professionals based in Jaipur. This session was attended by 70 of the leading travel agents in Jaipur. Dev Karvat, CEO-Emerging Markets, Cover-More Group conducted this session on the emergence of disruptive innovation and its impact on the travel industry. TrawellTag Cover-More started TAEPs for its clients and associate travel professionals to impart practical insights of achieving higher quality of travel ancillary sales, increased penetration and improve cross-selling skills, in the year 2013. Commenting on the TAEPs, Karvat said, “The TAEP initiative began 5 years ago with a vision to enrich pioneering minds in the industry. Today it is known to be a platform to enable our clients tap various ancillary revenue generation opportunities. We are delighted that many industry bodies like ETAA are coming forward to extend TAEPs exclusively to their members.” TrawellTag Cover-More has strived, to not only find opportunities where there were none, but also identify the right prospect to accelerate business growth for their clients. Therefore, making it a preferred partner for global assistance & travel insurance in India.

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TCI to acquire Kuoni’s Destination Management Specialists in 17 countries

Thomas Cook (India) through its wholly-owned subsidiaries Thomas Cook India Group announced its acquisition of Kuoni’s global network of Destination Management Specialists, covering 17 countries across the geographies of the Americas, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia. The transaction will be completed post customary closing conditions. The multinational acquisition creates a strong global network that will transform the Thomas Cook India Group into a globally integrated travel services provider with the ability to leverage inherent synergies across its global travel portfolio. The agreement includes premium brands with expert knowledge of their respective regions, including, ‘Asian Trails’, ‘Desert Adventures Tourism’, ‘Gulf Dunes’, ‘Private Safaris (East & South)’, ‘Allied TPro’ as well as ‘Australian Tours Management’ and extends across 17 countries – USA, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia. Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook India Group said, “In keeping with the Fairfax strategic intent of fair and friendly acquisitions, our agreement to acquire Kuoni’s global network of Destination Management Specialists in 17 countries, provides us a significant expanded global footprint with enhanced presence in The Americas, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia- all favoured destinations for tourists and business travellers worldwide.” He added, “This acquisition is a strong reiteration that the Thomas Cook India Group continues to invest and grow its travel businesses globally with a view to creating strong value for its customers.”

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