Category Archives: Agents

TCI curates exclusive international packages for Durga Puja

Thomas Cook India has announced the launch of exclusive international packages – ‘Sharod Shubheccha’ for avid Bengali travellers this Durga Puja, one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India offering a long holiday opportunity, especially in West Bengal. Thomas Cook India has introduced special packages to some of the top favourite international destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, Macau, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, U.K, etc. starting from INR 35,500/- onwards (per person on twin share basis) giving more than one reason to its Bengali travellers, to celebrate an auspicious occasion in a foreign locale. Kolkata & West Bengal, as also Bhubaneshwar & Orissa have been earmarked as an important market for Durga Puja holidays accounting for 10% of our overall leisure travel business and has witnessed an uptake of 27% in bookings y-o-y with consumers booking their holidays almost 2 months in advance. Thomas Cook India’s distribution and reach in West Bengal augments to 6 consumer access centers: 3 owned branches, and 3 Gold Circle Partner (franchise) outlets. Commenting on the Durga Puja special packages Mr. Rajeev D. Kale, President & Country Head – Leisure Travel & MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Durga Puja is one of the most significant festive occasions and is widely celebrated in West Bengal. Marked by grand celebrations, the 9-day festive extravaganza is one of the biggest holiday seasons in the state. Keeping in mind the strong support received from our discerning Bengali travellers, also considering their evolving preferences and demands, we at Thomas Cook India have designed special packages at exciting price points, to enable Bengali travelers celebrate their favourite festival at their dream destinations- with their loved …

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TBO buys stake in Deyor Camps

Travel Boutique Online has taken equity stake in Deyor Camps, a chain of branded adventure camps in India. Travel Deyor Camps will be leveraging Travel Boutique Online’s distribution of 19,000 agents in India. Deyor Camps was founded by Dheeraj Jain, Chirag Gupta, Aakaar Gandhi and Gautam Yadav. Under the new partnership, Travel Boutique Online will enable its partners to sell branded campsites at more than 45 locations in India. Ankush Nijhawan, CEO, Travel Boutique Online, said, “Deyor Camps is a niche product, which would certainly attract the young, under 30 crowd in India as well as the MICE segment, especially within the Small and Medium Enterprises. The camps offer a great scope for team building. With the new partnership, TBO is exposing the inventory of Deyor Camps to its partners, to further sell this niche product to their customers.” Gautam Yadav, CEO, Deyor Camps, said, “Travel Boutique Online has access to 19000 travel agents, and we are sure of getting good business through that for Deyor Camps.”

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SME travel agents protest against OTAs

More than 1000 SME tour operators and travel agents gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to protest against the unethical practices by online travel agents. The Small and Medium Tourism Action Group comprised of SME travel agents argued that OTAs are killing the small and medium tour operators by selling below the cost because of foreign funding. Subhash Goyal, Immediate Past President, IATO said, “I congratulate the small and medium tour operators for starting the national movement against the unethical practices by foreign funded OTAs who are buying a hotel room for Rs 2000 and selling it for less than Rs 1000. With this type of practice none of the small operators can compete and slowly they are going bankrupt. This is a very serious situation and the government and all travel associations must look into it.” The agents said they are against the e-coupons and cash discounts offered by the OTAs to reduce actual costs and argued that funding received by OTAs are a result of black money flowing into the industry. An association of small and medium tour operators is on the cards to unite voices against the cause. The agents have requested the government to regulate all OTAs which use the dominant position of having access to funds to kill small and medium tour operators. Memorandum to this effect was sent to the Prime Minister and Tourism Ministry and various travel and tourism associations will take up a legal battle with Competition Commission of India under unfair and unethical trade practices.

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Domestic Coach Holidays by Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook India has launched its Domestic Coach Holidays, allowing travellers affordable seat-in-coach vacations to popular destinations. These destinations would be at a driveable distance from key metros/mini-metros. Currently, the Coach Holidays feature itineraries for popular destinations including Kerala, The Golden Triangle, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh, with departures from key cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Kochi, at attractive prices starting from Rs. 6999 (per person on twin share basis).These Coach Holidays are pre-packaged products for customers seeking a bargain domestic holiday in the air conditioned comfort of Volvo/equivalent coaches. The Coach Holidays are targeted at two key segments; families and senior citizens, as also entry level young couples and ad hoc groups of friends. Hence, based on the booking preferences of each segment, the pre-packaged Coach Holidays are available through Thomas Cook’s extensive offline network, its India Toll Free Call Centre or online. The Coach Holidays include transportation by air-conditioned, Wi-Fi enabled Volvo/equivalent coaches and a stay in standard two star hotels with breakfast included. Rajeev D. Kale, President & Country Head – Leisure Travel & MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Domestic Tourism is witnessing a strong resurgence and the launch of our Thomas Cook ‘Coach Holidays’ intends to catalyse this demand. Popular drive-down locations are seeing strong interest and for today’s travel-hungry yet price sensitive audience, our focus on simple, easy to book, seat-in-coach tours offers the unbeatable quality assurance of the Thomas Cook brand. Our Coach Holidays ensure a comfortable and hassle-free voyage on wheels, for families, couples and ad hoc groups of friends.”

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No audits under Service Tax: Delhi HC

According to a recent judgement by the Delhi High Court, there cannot be any audit of assesse records by the Central Excise and Service Tax Department and struck down Rule 5A(2) of Service Tax Rules as ultra vires to the Finance Act, 1994. It is a general practice of Service Tax Department to conduct audit of service tax assessee for last five years by deputing their own officers of the rank of inspector and Superintendents. Service Tax Department also seeks voluminous details and seeks information in self-specified format/annexures of about 32 pages, which are not prescribed under the law. Service Tax Department without assigning any reasons and routinely conducts audit even when it is not prescribed under the law and not conducting special audit. This comes as a huge relief for travel companies who have faced instances of audit by service tax department.

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SA’s ‘Fastest 50’ incentive campaign for trade

South African Tourism has launched a new campaign called ‘Fastest 50’- a unique incentive campaign for trade partners in India. The first 20 agents to book fastest 50 customers for a nine-night or more package will win an all-expense paid trip to the Rainbow Nation. To participate, partners have to be certified SA Specialists (both phases) and have at least two packages featured on South African Tourism website deal page. The Fastest 50 campaign is valid for travel period from June 1 onwards. Commenting on the campaign, Country Manager – India, Hanneli Slabber said that, “India is an important market for South African Tourism and our trade partners have been vital in our success here. It is essential that we engage with our partners in meaningful and innovative ways to allow them to sell the destination and experience South Africa first hand. This campaign is our effort to sustain these engagements so that we have destination loyalists. We invite all our partners to participate and be the first in this exciting run chase and make the most of it.”

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MOT convention for BRIC nations in Khajuraho from Aug 31

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) will be organsising a convention for BRIC nations in Khajuraho from August 31-September 1.  The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) will be hosting Fam tours for the delegates participating in the convention, revealed Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO, during the IATO Interactive Luncheon Meeting on June 1 at Pride Plaza Hotel, New Delhi. The ministry will be inviting at least 25 foreign operators from these countries. However, a final confirmation from the Ministry of External Affairs is awaited. The meeting was held to discuss the New Exim policy introduced by the Govt. last year, under which tour operators earning foreign exchange are entitled to get SEIS scrip @5 per cent. Sanjeev Gupta, an expert on Exim Policy, made a presentation on SEIS Scheme as to how the scheme would benefit members.

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Service tax exemption on pilgrimage from July 2012- Aug 2014

The Central Government has notified travel serivce providers that it has exempted service tax on religious pilgrimage for Kailash Mansarovar, Haj Yatra or pilgrimage facilitated by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, between July 1, 2012 to August 19, 2014. A notification was issued to TAAI members on September 2, 2014, specifically exempting service tax on services provided by specified organisations in respect of religious pilgrimage for Kailash Mansarovar, Haj Yatra or a religious pilgrimage facilitate by MEA, GoI, with effect from August 20, 2014. However, for the period from July 1, 2012 to August 20, 2014 service tax was applicable on the aforesaid services but due to common practice prevalent during that time, no service tax was paid on the services.

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Cambodia Tourism’s 3-city roadshow

Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia along with Cambodia Airports is organising a three-city roadshow, starting from Bengaluru on May 23, Hyderabad on May 25 and concluding in Mumbai on May 27, 2016. A delegation of around 15 representatives from tourism and aviation stakeholders such as members of Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, PATA Cambodia Chapter members, members of Cambodia Hotels Association and Hotel Operators and Cambodian Airlines will be traveling to India for this. The last roadshow was held in New Delhi in 2014.  

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Peru Tourism appoints OM Tourism as PR representative

Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board has appointed OM Tourism as their PR representative in India from May, 2016. “We are pleased to officially begin new and focused promotional efforts in India with OM Tourism, said, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) and President of The Board of PROMPERU, Magali Silva. Looking at the vast tourism potentiality of India Market, we believe that it will certainly be a key market in helping PROMPERÚ to increase the Indian footfall.” Sanjay Sondhi, CEO, OM Tourism, said, “We are extremely happy to be assigned the task of handling marketing, sales and public relations activities for PROMPERÚ in India. He added, Peru is a land of fascinating contrasts of beautiful landscapes of desert dunes, snow capped mountains, wildlife, beaches offering thrilling outdoor adventure, Pre-Columbian heritage to vibrant traditional festivals. The discerning Indian travelers looking for luxury experience can also explore and indulge in its rich gastronomy, rejuvenating spas and river cruises. As a result of its rich history, Peru today is packed with archaeological remains and colonial architecture. Add in the country’s spectacular natural beauty, and the product is an outstanding travel destination.”

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