Category Archives: Agents

EQT is Kuoni’s new owner

After confirming talks with Swedish private equity group EQT and announcing the offer within a month, Kuoni will finally close the investment deal with its new owner this May. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, Kuoni Group and CEO, VFS Global, has revealed to TravTalk that the change of ownership through Swedish private equity firm EQT will happen soon and expects the transaction to be completed in May 2016. Based on the offer made by EQT in February, Kuoni Group is valued at around Rs 9,800 crore (on present currency rates, based on 1.4 billion Swiss Francs). The company’s Board feels that taking Kuoni private and handing over the responsibility for the group to an internationally-renowned new owner would be ideal. Karkaria together with the current management team will continue to lead the company. Kuoni Group focuses on three core activities: Global Travel Distribution (GTD), Global Travel Services (GTS) and VFS Global. He said in an email interview, “We expect the transaction to be completed in May 2016. We welcome EQT’s investment in the Kuoni Group, which underlines the attractiveness of our global business activities. With the new owners we will be able to accelerate the implementation of our strategy. Investments in technology and supporting acquisition opportunities give the Kuoni Group an excellent platform to build further on its leadership positions in travel industry services. EQT has an impressive track record of growing companies. With access to their experience and network in both the travel and tech industries, we will be able to accelerate the implementation of Kuoni’s strategy.”

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Namaste Tourism represents Croatian DMC

Mumbai-based travel company Namaste Tourism has now partnered with a Croatia-based regional expert, Adriatic DMC, to represent them in the Indian market. Adriatic DMC is a Balkan regional destination management company and specialises in travel programs to the Balkan region including Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia and Macedonia. Subhash Motwani, Director of Namaste Tourism, said, “We are thrilled to represent Adriatic DMC, the first DMC in India to offer tours to the entire Balkan region. It has a wide range of product available in this growing region, and with a multiple entry Schengen visa you can travel to several Balkan countries.” It will help travel agents and tour operators in India to plan unique itineraries for their customers who are on the lookout for new destinations. “While Indian travelers are shy about discovering new destinations, we are positive that the mix of history, culture and unparalleled natural heritage combined on our bespoke tours will be a fit and of great interest for the travelers in this market,” said Srdjan Kristic, Managing Director of Adriatic DMC.

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Proposed fee hike for ASI monuments curbed to 50%

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) has decided that the increase in ASI monument fees will only be 50 per cent of the proposed hike of 300 per cent. This means that for Category B monuments, there will be an increase from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 only instead of Rs. 300. However, a premium ticket will be introduced of Rs. 300/- with some value additions. Similarly for Category A monuments, there will be an increase from Rs. 250 to Rs. 500 only instead of Rs. 750. Premium ticket will cost Rs. 750 with similar value additions. The above new rates will be effective from April 1, 2016. The decision was taken in a meeting with the Executive Committee (EC) members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and officials from Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI). While the official notification from ASI is awaited, IATO has revealed that after constant deliberations with the MOT, finally the decision was taken in a meeting with Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC) Dr. Mahesh Sharma, in his office where Vinod Zutshi, Secretary (Tourism), Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary (Culture), Rakesh Tewari, DG (ASI), Navneet Soni, OSD to Minister of Culture, B. Purushottam, PS to Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & Culture, Suman Billa, Joint Secretary (Tourism) and many other senior officials were present. Also, the IATO EC was assured by Sharma that by April 15, 2016, there will be a separate counter and queue to enter at all the ASI monuments for those having ticket in category A of Rs. 500 and above and in Category B of Rs. 200 and above. Some other facilities include clean toilets and some fast food outlets …

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FITs will be affected

Sandeep Shetty, General Manager, Products & Operations, WOW Holidays, says, “The terror attacks on Brussels will definitely affect tourism to Europe though on the whole outbound tourism industry will not be adversely affected as travellers will continue to travel. Though the group travellers will not be affected much as bookings take place in advance, the FIT segment of tourism will be hit. Regions like France, Amsterdam, surrounding regions of Brussels and long haul destinations in Europe may witness less number of tourists over a short period of time and many short haul destinations like Croatia may get a boost from the same.”

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Outbound to Europe will be hit

Pankaj Nagpal, Managing Director, Travstarz Global Group, says, “The blasts in Brussels will definitely impact the outbound tourism sector to Europe. As Brussels is the headquarters of many airlines and international forums, the impact will be seen on the numbers travelling to Europe. However this may actually increase the inbound traffic of tourists to other regions like South East Asia. India will not be particularly affected as Jet Airways has decided to shift out its base from Brussels so apart from the damage to aircrafts, the numbers will not be affected from India.”

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Temporary impact on tourism in Europe

Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) says, “The terror attacks are a sad incident and will impact tourism in Europe temporarily. This will not be a long term effect if precautionary measures are taken and the damage is contained timely. Travellers will continue to travel despite fear and worry regarding Europe. As this is the beginning of the season and Europe is one of the most popular destinations amongst Indians, challenges may be faced by agents in terms of FIT and group movements.”

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Jagsons Travels launches B2B travel App

Jagsons Travels has introduced ‘ibe4all’, the first of its kind B2B online booking engine which is an android mobile App for the travel agents to allow a easy booking experience. The App has been developed by Influence Technolabs and Jagson Travels is the first travel agency to launch it for agents. Harmandeep Singh Anand, Managing Director, Jagsons Travels, says, “We are probably the first company to launch an exclusive B2B application for the travel agents. Currently, the clients can book flights and check the updated flight schedules. In due course of time other services like hotel bookings, transfers, railways, buses etc. will also be made live.” The App will also be launched for iOS devices soon informed Anand. Malini Jain, Chief Commercial Officer, Influence Technolabs, informed that online booking of flights can be made using one’s Agency Wallet on the App. It works for both domestic and international sectors, including LCC Airlines. All the fare segments are available on the App and the existing B2B functions can be operated like the Booking List, Ledger Statement, Request for Credit, Request for Deposit etc. “We have also added the “Import PNR” functionality in the ibe4all app itself and any agent who is interested in doing ticketing through an IATA agency can do so, making it suitable for IATA and Non-IATA agents. The agent has the facility of sending the e-ticket to his client through the ibe4all App itself and he can also cancel the ticket if required, making him work more efficiently and effectively.” She further said that the App has also encapsulated the GDS Dashboard which includes a GDS Emulator which empowers the agency to use GDS cryptic system on the …

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Emirates cricket tournament in Mumbai

Continuing with its agenda to inspire the spirit of sportsmanship among the travel trade, Emirates Airlines will organise the second edition of its ‘Emirates Cricket Trade Tournament 2016’ for the travel trade on March 12-13, 2016 and then again on March 19-20, 2016 for the finals in Mumbai. It unveiled the cricket trophy in a pre-event networking event where former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes made a special appearance, enthralling everyone. The format has been made more competitive with 416 players in 32 teams playing 45 games over four days over two weekends. Sunil Kallyat, Regional Manager-Western India, Emirates Airline, wished the players all the best at the networking party.

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‘Save Now Travel Later’ with C&K + RBL Bank

Cox & Kings has partnered with RBL Bank Ltd to launch the ‘Save Now Travel Later’ programme to suit every budget. In this latest offering ‘Save Now Travel Later’, travellers get an opportunity to meticulously plan their finance by opening a Recurring Deposit account with RBL Bank. This programme has been designed keeping in mind that the traveller gets an opportunity to plan their Holiday one year in advance. Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings said,” ‘Save Now Travel Later’ is a well-thought programme launched keeping in mind the fluctuating market rates. Travellers can now through instalments book their future trips at today’s price with minimal or no effect on their planned travel budget.” The interest accumulated on the EMIs will be refunded back to the customer by way of a crossed cheque to be paid in favour of that customer. Rana Vikram Anand, Head – Products & Segments, Branch and Business Banking at RBL Bank said “At RBL Bank, the customer is at the heart of everything we do. We are excited to join hands with Cox & Kings to launch this innovative new product in the market. The “Save Now Travel Later” offering fulfils the travel aspirations of the growing Indian consumers by enabling them to take charge of their finances in a systematic and convenient manner.” A passenger can also cancel the trip in case of contingencies with NIL cancellation cost, if intimated within 9 months of opening the account.

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