Category Archives: Agents

TCI Group completes acquisition of Kuoni’s Global Destination Management Network

The Thomas Cook India (TCI) Group has announced the completion of the acquisition of a significant part of Kuoni’s global DMS network. As a part of this acquisition, the Thomas Cook India Group will now include leading Destination Management Specialists (DMS) like Asian Trails (APAC), Desert Adventures (MENA), ATM-Australian Tours Management (Australia), Allied T Pro (North America), Private Safaris (Eastern Africa) and Private Safaris (Southern Africa) under its network creating a seamless delivery capability for the group and its B2B and B2C customers across 21 countries and 4 continents. Post the acquisition, The Thomas Cook India Group, with over 6500 employees across 21 countries and a combined revenue in excess of Rs. 8700 crore (over $1.34 billion) has been -transformed into one of the largest travel service provider networks headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region. With this move, The Thomas Cook India Group’s travel business network has now expanded with the addition of 17 new countries, increasing its footprint to now cover 21 countries. The Group, which prior to this acquisition, comprisied Thomas Cook (India), SOTC Travel, TCI-SITA and Kuoni Hong Kong had a network spanning 4 countries – India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Hong Kong. Commenting on this development, Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, The Thomas Cook India Group., said, “This acquisition of a significant part of Kuoni’s Global Destination Management network represents an important milestone for a rapidly growing Thomas Cook India Group, as we deliver on our stated strategy of rapid expansion in the Asia Pacific region. Now with a significantly enhanced global footprint across 4 continents and 21 countries, we have over 6500 employees serving customers across the world under some of the most respected brands …

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Travkart, Planet Abled collaborate to cater to persons with disabilities

Travkart, the travel service portal from Holidays by Sahibji, has collaborated with Planet Abled to offer specially designed itineraries for travellers with disabilities. The first travel brand to enter such a collaboration, Travkart will introduce an ‘Accessible Travel’ tab on its website which can be used by the travellers with disabilities to browse and book curated holiday packages. Manheer Singh Sethi, Co-founder, Travkart.com, said, “Awareness about special travel needs is highly inadequate in India and people with disabilities find it difficult to be accepted as a part of the society. We are enthusiastic about syncing our synergies with such a unique organisation as Planet Abled and bring about a big social change in the travel industry. This collaboration will make Travkart the first travel brand to introduce a dedicated section offering accessible and curated travel packages for disabled individuals, and will set a new service benchmark in the Indian travel and tourism industry.” Planet Abled is a first-of-its-kind travel company that provides inclusive and accessible travel solutions and leisure excursions for people with disabilities modified to suit their special needs. Planet Abled works with the concept of “Universal Design”, focusing on giving people with different disabilities and non-disabled, a platform to come together, so as to create an inclusive group for a unique human interaction. The underlying belief being, our Planet is our common inheritance and ‘Everything Is For Everyone’. It organizes scheduled group tours, customized tours, romantic tours and local city day tours where persons with disabilities can travel alone, with groups or with friends and family. Neha Arora, Founder, Planet Abled, commented, “Travelling to new locations always brings a sense of apprehension for people with disabilities as well …

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Flight Centre opens first Flight Shop store in Surat

Flight Shop, the leisure brand of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), Australia, in India opened its first retail store in Surat and second franchise outlet after Hyderabad. With the launch of this store, FCTG, Australia now has 17 operational Flight Shop stores across India. Spread over 1100 sq. ft., the Flight Shop outlet in Surat is based in VIP High Street, and will cater to the needs of up market urban consumers – families, business travellers, honeymoon couples and groups of travellers. Shravan Gupta, Executive Director – Leisure Businesses, FCM Travel Solutions India (the Indian arm of Flight Centre Travel Group, Australia) said, “Over the last few years, Surat has grown to become one of the fastest developing cities in the country with constantly rising travel demands of two to three trips in a year per household. As an affluent market driven by diamond and textile merchants, Surat is one of the highest contributors to the GDP amongst other emerging metros such as – Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam and Lucknow.” Flight Shop stores are spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi and via a combination of owned branches and newly opened franchise outlets. FCTG, Australia plans to open 50 more Flight Shop stores across the country in the next two to three years.

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GST of 28% now applicable on hotels charging Rs 7500+ tariff

The Goods and Service Tax (GST) Council has considered revision of tax on hotel rooms and decided that while those in the range of Rs 2,000-Rs 7,500 a day tariff would face 18 per cent tax, rooms with daily tariff above Rs 7,500 would be taxed at 28 per cent. This comes as a slight relief for the hospitality and travel industry, especially in comparison with the initial rate of 28 per cent being levied for hotels charging over Rs 5000 per night. However, Arun Jaitley, Union Finance Minister, has said that the GST on restaurant service in 5-star hotels would attract 18 per cent tax.

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C&K launches 4 Holiday Clubs in Delhi

Cox and Kings (C&K) has launched four Holiday Clubs in New Delhi which will offer customers a variety of experiential holiday options. Travellers can select from various holiday divisions of C&K to enable travel, getaway goddess and trip 360. The purpose behind launching these lounges is to mark its presence in areas where there is heavy footfall of consumers. “We launched four lounges in Connaught Place, Rajouri Garden, South Extention and MGF Metropolitan mall. Delhi is one of our key markets and these concept stores will provide the customers with a unique shopping experience,” said Karan Anand, Head Relations, C&K. He further added that these stores will complement the existing points of sales that C&K has in New Delhi with an aim to be present where the customers would most likely shop. The company is going to market these stores along with their trade promotion strategies.

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The Q Experiences launches luxury expedition to Antarctica

The Q Experiences, a luxury travel company in India, has launched an exclusive 11 day trip for only 200 people to Antarctica. The expedition, which is a part of their Curated Journeys segment, will start from Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina on December 9, 2017. Travellers would be on board ‘The Great Majestic Explorer’, which is a sleek yacht with 132 staterooms and suites. Speaking about the unique expedition, Vasim Shaikh, Founder, Q Experiences, said, “Curated Journeys are constant endeavour at the Q. With the launch of the White Continent, we aspire luxury travel to unsurpassed heights and focus on rare destinations that Indians are yet to explore.” Also, the ship would have on board Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar to curate Indian delicacies for guests on board.

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Malaysian trade association joins hands with TAFI

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) signed an MoU with Travel Agents Federation of India to promote tourism between India and Malaysia. The MoU was signed the roadshow organised recently by the associations along with Tourism Malaysia at the Royal Plaza, New Delhi, which had Malaysian tour operators, product owners, as well as Indian travel agents. The objective of the road show was to create good connection between tour operators from both countries and increase the number of arrivals from India to Malaysia.

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MTOA conducts GST seminar for members in Mumbai

Following close on the heels of national travel trade associations, the Maharashtra Tour Organisers Association (MTOA) recently conducted a seminar on the impending GST for its members in Mumbai. It was conducted on June 5, 2017, by noted Service Tax expert Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co, who conducted similar sessions for TAAI as well as IATO. Sudhir Patil, President, MTOA, says, “We welcome the new GST regime though there is a lot of fear factor attached to it. Complications are expected. But I hope that more seminars will help us make this a smooth transition.” The association also launched its website (www.mtoa.co.in) on the same day.

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CKGS opens Algeria Visa Application Centre at six locations in India

Cox & Kings Global Services (CKGS) has announced the opening of Algeria Visa Application and Information Centres (AVAIC) at six different locations including Mumbai. The main centre in Mumbai is located at Dalamal Towers at Nariman Point. The other AVAIC s are based in Pune, Ahmedabad, Goa, Indore and Chennai, respectively. The Centres will cater to all categories of Visa such as tourist, business, work, family, cultural and press, accepting applications from states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. With this move, CKGS will become the main service provider for Algeria Visa in West and South India. The Mumbai VAC was inaugurated by His Excellency Hamza Yahia-Cherif, the Ambassador of Algeria to India in presence of the senior CKGS officials. Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Hamza Yahia-Cherif said, “We are pleased to appoint CKGS as our representative to manage the Algeria Visa Application centre in India. We want to encourage more and more Indians to consider travelling to Algeria and at the same time provide a seamless experience in applying for visas. These centres will ensure that Indian travellers find a faster and reliable way to obtain visa to visit Algeria.” Commenting on the new mandate, Venku Murthi, Chief Operating Officer, CKGS, said, “We are happy to know that the Embassy of Algeria has put their trust in our proven expertise. All 6 centres in India will be committed to ensure excellent visa services to applicants who want to travel to Algeria. We are confident, this partnership will make visa processing quicker and easier for travellers.”

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Trafalgar offers early bird rates to encourage early bookings

To cope with the characteristic trait of last minute travel bookings that the Indian market has become notorious for, Trafalgar has resorted to offering early bird discounts that its trade partners can extend to their clients. Speaking about this was Nicholas Lim, President – Asia, Trafalgar, who was in Mumbai for the opening of the company’s new office. “We started quite successfully to get Indians to book early two years ago. But the team has had a hard time this year. We have been urging them to book earlier. As a result they are missing out on the opportunities, trips get full and we are unable to squeeze them in. Sometimes Indian travellers decide to book one week before the departure. Other markets like the US, Kiwis, Australians, book six to nine months in advance. Here in Asia, and its not just in India, travellers are late bookers. We are hoping to change that over a period of time.” To counter this, Trafalgar offers small incentives to the trade and the consumer. “We have early payment discounts to encourage Indians to book early. The closer you move to the departure date, the more expensive it gets. So we start with a 10 per cent discount, that goes down to 7.5, and then five per cent. For instance, travellers who book between June 1 – 30, 2017 for any itinerary in our brochure for September 2017 can avail 10 per cent off on any departure. In fact, we made a decision in March 2017 to guarantee every single departure in our brochure all the way to October 2017. An agent doesn’t have to worry about a departure getting cancelled. We give …

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