Category Archives: Agents

Thomas Cook Centre of Learning records 35% rise in students

In line with industry growth and strong demand for skilled professionals, the Centre of Learning, a Thomas Cook initiative, has seen a 35 per cent YoY growth in its diploma students and a placement of 76 per cent. Mona Cheriyan, President & Group Head – Human Resources, Thomas Cook (India), said, “In the context of high growth and increasing customer expectations, talent management is one of the critical challenges that the travel industry faces. This relates to both shortage of actual numbers and the desired capability levels- from a technical and managerial perspective. We are hence proud of our achievement in bridging the gap by building a resource pool of skilled travel professionals for the sector. What is noteworthy is that our efforts are equipping entrants with both academic knowledge and practical skills via on-the-job training.” At its seventh Convocation Ceremony held in Mumbai, the Thomas Cook Centre of Learning felicitated a strong contingent of over 300 students who had successfully completed courses across the Travel Professional Programme – a Post Graduate Course in Travel & Tourism Management, Certificate Course in Travel and Tourism Management, Certificate Course in World Tour Management and IATA Foundation in Travel and Tourism. Scholarship certificates and special prizes were awarded to top performers of Centre of Learning’s Travel Professional Programme – a Post Graduate course in Travel & Tourism Management & Certificate Course in Travel and Tourism Management.    

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Travel Money opens an exclusive retail store in Vijayawada

Travel Money, the flagship foreign exchange brand of FCM Travel Solutions, Indian subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group Australia, strengthened its presence in South India with an inauguration of its first owned retail store at one of the key locations in Vijayawada. The outlet was inaugurated by Gagan Malhotra, Vice President, Foreign Exchange, FCM Travel Solutions India. This expansion augments total number of outlets to the 34 stores across India, out of which 14 are in South India. Spread over 1,000 sq ft at M G Road, the store offers a range of foreign exchange services such as forex, travel cards and outward remittances for education or close relative maintenance. Malhotra said, “According to the BCG report titled ‘Demystifying The Indian Online Traveller 2017’, the Indian travel market is projected to grow at 11 to 11.5 per cent to the tune of $48 billion by 2020. Indian travel given the significant outbound tourism growth in South India market, we aim to deliver quality and convenience in all aspects of foreign exchange including remittance for students, Leisure & Business travel, Prepaid Travel Cards, and much more to our travellers.” Travel Money’s current footprint extends to a total of 34 stores across India in all major cities including Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Cochin via a combination of owned branches and franchise outlets.

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SOTC witnesses 25-30% growth in South India

In a focused effort to cater to its growing south region travellers, SOTC has organised special regional Tamil tours. For SOTC, Tamil Nadu has recorded a growth of over 25-30 per cent annually as compared to the previous year. Cities like Salem, Coimbatore, Chennai, Erode and Pondicherry continue to show impressive growth. With the emerging potential witnessed from Port Blair as well, SOTC will be venturing into opening a branch shortly to meet its demand. SOTC’s entry into the Tamil Nadu market segment has drawn focus to not only the business travellers but also the leisure business segment and the highly viable b-leisure segment (business plus leisure). The company’s highest enquiries come from the State include leisure, bleisure and MiCE. Daniel D’souza, Head of Sales – India & NRI Markets & E-Commerce, SOTC Travel said, “The Tamil Nadu market is an advanced market and they look to travel and indulge in new experiences and culture. Tamil Nadu currently contributes significantly to our overall SOTC business and given the strong YoY growth and high potential, we have identified the state as a key strategic focus for our company.” He added, “To offer value to our loyal and growing Tamil customer segment, we had created unique regional tours that offer a regional touch while on an international holiday and this has been inspiring impressive uptake with a growth of 25-30% YoY.”

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TripsAcademy launches mobile learning app for travel professionals

TripsAcademy, India’s first interactive online and offline learning experts in travel and tourism, has announced the launch of its mobile learning app for travel professionals. This app is the first-of-its-kind in the world, and is available for download in both Android and iOS versions on the respective App stores. Through TripsAcademy’s app, travel professionals can now learn at any time, any place and at any pace convenient to them. All courses within learning programmes are modular and highly engaging comprising videos, quiz and various other interactive sections. Each interactive learning module takes no longer than 5 to 7 minutes to complete allowing learners to integrate learning into their busy work schedule. The app and all learning programmes on the app are free of charge for the learners. TripsAcademy envisions to democratise learning opportunities across tiers by enabling a go-to platform allowing travel professionals to get access to high quality training. ‘Today’s global travel industry is highly knowledge driven. In order to excel, travel professionals must be equipped with high levels of product knowledge, selling and other allied skills’, said Anupama Kotur, Project Head, TripsAcademy.

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OYO acquires wedding banquet company

OYO Hotels has announced the acquisition of wedding banquet company Weddingz.in to expand its playfield to real estate sector. Globally, the wedding industry has grown to become a $500 billion market and OYO’s sharp focus on global expansion will support its debut in disrupting these markets. Commenting on the development, Maninder Gulati, Chief Strategy Officer – OYO, said, “What this partnership facilitates is combining OYO’s capabilities of asset management and technology with the scale Weddingz.in offers in India’s fragmented $40bn weddings industry. The company has a healthy scale of managing 1,500-plus wedding events per quarter, with an inventory size of over 40 banquets spread across Mumbai and Delhi.’’ With more than 10 million marriages in India held annually, the segment holds immense potential for innovation, improvement and standardization of processes. “Weddingz.in is India’s largest banquet management company specialising in weddings led by an extremely ambitious founder Sandeep Lodha and his talented team and the value proposition they bring to the table via skills in managing weddings is clearly visible in their dominance and popularity.’’ added Maninder. Sandeep Lodha, Founder, Weddingz.in, commented, ‘’This alliance will work towards simplifying wedding planning for Indians while tapping the enormous opportunities this space offers.”    

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Thomas Cook India opens branch in Hyderabad

Thomas Cook (India) has opened a new branch at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad to leverage the growing potential of Telangana. Present at the inauguration were Romil Pant, Senior Vice President- Leisure Travel, and V Pradeep, Associate Vice President, Foreign Exchange, Thomas Cook (India). This expansion extends Thomas Cook India’s presence in Telangana to 10 consumer access centres (4 owned branches and 6 Gold Circle Partner franchise outlets) across Saifabad, Begumpet, Hitech City, Gachibowli, Kukatpally, Banjara Hills, Attapur, Sainikpuri and Malakpet; with five additional outlets in Andhra Pradesh. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa & Passport Services, Thomas Cook (India) said, “At Thomas Cook, Telangana State has been identified as a prime driver and continues to deliver strong growth of 25 per cent YOY for our leisure travel business. Our new branch at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad (a key residential, commercial and retail centre), gives our consumers convenient access to a wide range of travel and foreign exchange services. Innovative products like our Holidays and Forex apps with doorstep delivery of foreign exchange; equally our cutting edge prepaid cards (Borderless and One Currency) are of great value to Hyderabad’s tech savvy travellers and we are confident of seeing a strong uptake.” Deepesh Varma, Senior Vice President– Sales & Relationship Management, Foreign Exchange, at Thomas Cook India said, “Given the impressive increase of 45% across our key Forex product-segments, we have identified Telangana State as a strategic source market. Telangana is also a significant outward remittances market for us; our Send Money Abroad service seeing increased uptake.”    

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Ebix acquires Mercury Travels and Leisure Corp

Mercury Travels, based in Mumbai and Leisure Corp from Delhi has been acquired by one of the Indian subsidiaries of Ebix. Agreements have been signed for a cumulative amount of approximately $14.2 million. The acquisition has been done with an aim to create a new travel division by Ebix, which will focus on a niche segment of the travel market, and the new Travel Exchange will be called Mercury – An EbixCash Luxury initiative, to be headed by Leisure Corp Founder Naveen Kundu. The Mercury Exchange will have three tightly integrated components— Mercury Travel’s entire corporate, leisure & adventure related travel business with the exception of its Forex business; Leisure Corp’s entire sports and events related travel business (MICE) and Via.com’s events based travel business (MICE). Naveen Kundu will hold 15 per cent of shares in the new entity, while Ebix will have a controlling 85 per cent share in the venture. Mercury’s Forex business will be integrated into EbixCash’s existing CDL Forex exchange business. Ebix is an international supplier of on-demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance, financial, healthcare and e-learning industries.

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Thomas Cook India curates MiCE programmes focused on experiential travel

Witnessing a significant increase in demand for experiential travel from the MiCE sector, Thomas Cook (India) has launched a portfolio of unique programmes that deliver engaging experiences across key global destinations. The clear shift from the traditional basic sight-seeing tour plus gala dinner to innovative experiential itineraries has created potential for the MiCE sector. In a strategic initiative to leverage this momentum, the company’s MiCE business has curated a series of cutting-edge MiCE programmes. Thomas Cook’s experiential MiCE portfolio incorporates fascinating long-haul destinations (Iceland, Canada, Japan, Korea, Norway, New Zealand, Australia and USA, etc) and short hauls (like Baku, Kiev, Morocco, Oman), coupled with distinctive elements including the adrenalin rush of Queenstown’s adventure experiences, snow-mobiling in Iceland, rafting in Norway, Formula 1 drives on the Yas Marina circuit, 360 degree helicopter tours, etc. Sightseeing trips are delivered with an exciting twist: via segway in Hungary or Spain, vintage cars in Prague, stretch-limousines in Dubai/Abu Dhabi or helicopters in Canada. Also incorporated are exclusive dining experiences- on a glacier in Canada or a private island in Australia; also decadent spa-wellness programmes and thermal baths in Iceland, Turkey, Jordan, New Zealand and more. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa & Passport Services, Thomas Cook (India) said, “The evolution in the MiCE sector is creating an expanded market of discerning corporates. With experiential travel high on their wishlist, our launch of engaging MiCE experiences was intended to capitalise and build on this significant and growing opportunity.”  

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Linkin Reps appointed as PR & Media representative for Turkey in India

Adding one more feather to its cap, Linkin Reps recently bagged the media representation account for Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in India. Linkin Reps, through a well thought strategy and year-long media plan, will work towards highlighting Turkey as a destination for Indian travellers, ease of travelling, cultural affinity and present its lesser known destinations to the Indian audience. Promoting Turkey as a complete tourism destination will be the prime focus of Linkin Reps during its tenure. The decision was driven by Turkey’s growing outbound demand, witnessed in the steady rise in visitation from India, along with rises in the length of stay and spending power of Indian travellers. Speaking after the announcement, H Deniz Ersöz, Culture & Tourism Counsellor, Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in India, said, “Our partnership with Linkin Reps will further strengthen our outreach and presence in the country. We have a very interesting calendar planned out for the year which will be executed in partnership with Linkin. We are aiming at increasing the outbound travel from India to Turkey and invite more of Indian travellers to experience the rich culture and beauty of the Republic of Turkey.” Commenting on the appointment, Komal Seth, Director, Linkin Reps said, “With a series of campaigns planned, we will strengthen Turkey’s positioning as the first choice of destination for tourists from India.” Turkey is the home of unique nature, culture’ and deep-rooted historical and religious prestige, which reflects in its 18 world heritage sites, recognised by UNESCO.

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SITE India plans to attract more members

SITE India recently held its members meet at the Ethiopian Culture Centre in New Delhi. During the event, Vikas Suda, SITE India Chapter Vice President- Events & Operations, gave a presentation on the advantages of being a SITE member and how the association works on enhancing the skills and educate the members. He said that the association helps in empowering the members and ultimately helps in excel in their business.

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