Category Archives: Agents

Travelport becomes first GDS operator to offer NDC content

Travelport has become the first GDS operator to manage the live booking of flights using the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) technical standard. The first transaction was made by a British agency, Meon Valley Travel, on October 19 for a short-haul low-cost flight from London to Milan issued by a major European carrier. The new capability allows bookings to be made for any services on the airline without incurring a surcharge. Travelport’s new NDC capability is enabled using similar XML connections to those Travelport already deploys with APIs for over 20 low-cost carriers. The company published a roadmap for its initial range of NDC products in February, having been the first GDS operator in December 2017 to acquire Level 3 certification from IATA as an aggregator. It will also be followed by a series of product enhancements, including a version for online agents in 2019. Gordon Wilson, President and CEO, Travelport, said: “We are delighted to have taken a lead in bringing the NDC era to life. It has required an extraordinary amount of skill and expertise to make this happen and I want to thank my own colleagues at Travelport as well as our partners. We are still at the earliest stages of NDC deployment. Its evolution will continue to take time as we learn from the practical experience of its first use. Meanwhile, we continue to offer a comprehensive global travel commerce platform capable of handling mass volumes of searchable and bookable content at speed for the world’s travel providers and agents.”

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EbixCash acquires Business Travels, appoints Praveen Chugh as COO of Via

EbixCash has acquired assets of Business Travels and has appointed its owner Praveen Chugh as the Chief Operating Officer of Via agency sales. The company announced that it has decided to further invest in the growth of its B2B business under Chugh, who has immediately taken over as Chief Operating Officer of Via. As a part of the hiring, Chugh’s existing travel company Business Travels Private Limited assets was also acquired by Via. Chugh has been empowered by the company to recruit as many as one hundred domain specific travel sales executives, besides opening up new travel locations across the length and breadth of the country. Robin Raina, Chairman, President and CEO, Ebix, said, “We are excited to have Mr Praveen Chugh on our side. His vast experience, success record and contacts in the world travel industry provide us with an industry veteran who can lead Via B2B Sales to new heights. He has the ability and drive to grow our Via travel division business at high double-digit rates. We believe that the strength of our vast retail network, end-to-end enterprise travel technology and functionality, coupled with strong sales leadership, positions us to grow our travel business aggressively internationally.”

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Thomas Cook India opens new outlet in Kamla Nagar

Thomas Cook India has opened its new franchise in Delhi’s Kamla Nagar. Inaugurated by Romil Pant, Sr Vice President, and Jatin Sharma, Associate Vice President, Thomas Cook India, the expansion augments Thomas Cook India’s distribution and reach in Delhi-NCR to 17 consumer access centres: six owned branches and 11 Gold Circle Partner (franchise) outlets. The Gold Circle Partner outlet offers consumers end-to-end travel solutions with a bouquet of travel and travel-related financial services, including international and domestic holidays value-added services like travel insurance, visa services, etc. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head, Leisure Travel & MiCE, Thomas Cook India, said, “The North market continues to feature strongly as a prime driver, delivering significant growth of 32 per cent YoY for our leisure travel business. We have selected Delhi-NCR as it has a strategic market basis. The Thomas Cook Gold Circle Partner programme increases the brand’s reach across the country, giving consumers access to the company’s products and services in metros/mini-metros and strongly emerging Tier II and III markets.  

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Sabre strengthens its partnership with Jet Airways

Sabre Corporation has announced a renewed, full content distribution agreement with Jet Airways effective April 2019. Sabre’s extended agreement with Jet Airways provides Sabre-connected agents across India and the world a path to access the full content of Jet Airways into year 2024. With over 100 million passengers choosing Indian carriers for their travel since the beginning of the year and domestic air travel growing by 21.2 per cent over the same period, in less than 10 years the World Travel & Tourism Council expects India to become the world’s fourth-largest travel and tourism economy behind China, the United States and Germany. Rakesh Narayanan, Vice President, Air Line of Business, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific, said, “As a long-term technology partner to Jet Airways, providing the airline with unmatched solutions that enable superior passenger services, Sabre is well positioned to support the carrier’s growth objectives. Today, we are pleased to provide Jet Airways with the ability to share their content through Sabre’s leading global travel marketplace, which will in turn contribute to their ongoing business success.”

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Trafalgar launches 2019 brochure in India

Trafalgar has launched its new 2019 brochure that will include some new itineraries and elements. It recently organised an exclusive meeting between its top agent partners in Mumbai and Gavin Tollman, CEO, Trafalgar & CostSaver. Tollman flew down to Mumbai from Geneva to meet the travel agent partners and exchange ideas and get feedback from them on the India market. He was accompanied by Nicholas Lim, President, Trafalgar Asia, and the India team during the networking event in Mumbai. After that, the team visited Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai to launch the 2019 brochures. The new brochure will have a new destination – Africa, which has been launched recently. Trafalgar’s in-house survey has revealed that India delivers a repeat booking rate of 58.3 per cent and these guests are choosing to travel to further destinations like South America and other exotic destinations.

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Star Alliance conducts golf tournament for corporate clients

Star Alliance Invitational Golf tournament 2018 was organised for corporate clients at Delhi Golf Club recently. The event was a great opportunity for the 28 Star Alliance member airlines to network with the corporate community and educate them about benefits of Star Alliance. The game of golf was followed up by an awards function in various categories with a gala lunch. The pleasant weather, great food and great sitting at the Delhi Golf Club was a treat to the players. Also seen playing golf was Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The championship prizes were given away by the Star Alliance members.

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Travelport and Jet Airways sign long-term supplier agreement

Travelport has signed a long-term supplier agreement with India’s Jet Airways that will be effective from April 2019 and enable online and offline travel agencies around the world to shop, book and manage itineraries for leisure and business travellers. Jet Airways will also deploy Travelport’s Rich content and Branding, from which over 270 airlines now benefit by displaying graphical content, their fares families and a full range of ancillary products. Damian Hickey, Head, Air-Travel Partners, Travelport, commented, “Travelport’s commitment to the Indian travel market and the provision of the widest range of content has been further evidenced today with the announcement of this new mutual commitment between Jet Airways and our company beginning April 2019. Furthermore, our position in the rest of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas means that we are able to deliver to them a wide mix of international travellers. This is in addition to the millions of outbound and domestic Indian travellers they serve.”

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GPS’ EDWIN UK commences in Manchester

The Educational Destination Workshop-International initiative (EDWIN), a vertical of Global Panorama Showcase (GPS), is underway in Manchester, UK. The UK has always had a great appeal among Indian travellers and with the upcoming World Cup in 2019, Manchester garners maximum interest from the Indian audience because of the big matches played here. EDWIN will conclude with B2B networking sessions between travel agents and suppliers. EDWIN aims to introduce destinations or products to the growing Tier-II, III markets of India. As GPS reaches out to almost 10,000 travel agents across Tier-II, III agents in India, EDWIN comes as an added advantage for agents not only to meet suppliers at GPS but to also have a first-hand experience, information and understanding of the destination.

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Minar Group to introduce new leisure and MiCE vertical

The Minar Group is set to come up with a new leisure and MiCE vertical known as ‘Wishcover- Inspire journeys by Minar’. The new vertical is headed by Jasmine Duggal, Director, Minar Airways. Attempting to create a benchmark in the outbound market, Wishcover will focus to provide an inspired experience to travellers within India and abroad. The group has set a target of generating 20 crore by 2020 with the new vertical.

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Thomas Cook launches Forex Card mobile app to manage multiple currencies

Thomas Cook (India) has delivered on a series of innovative mobile-first initiatives: the thomascook.in Holidays, Visa & Forex Online Stores and Apps, iLead-a CRM-integrated Holiday Sales App, Tour Manager App and customer self-service App, Click2Book for business travellers, an advanced web-technology platform Astra, robotics and machine learning, Voyager-a customised holiday bundler, etc. With a YoY growth of 16 per cent, the highest estimated growth rate by any country in the world, more than a quarter of India’s population is expected to be using smartphones by the end of 2018 (337 million users), according to eMarketer. Not surprisingly, the adoption of mobile apps has seen rapid evolution- across not merely travel, but also foreign exchange transactions. Data from Thomas Cook’s Foreign Exchange business highlights the clear shift with a 47 per cent growth in mobile transactions. Hence, in a strategic move to empower the new age, mobile-first Indian traveller, the company has launched the Thomas Cook Borderless App. The first-of-its-kind app enables its multicurrency Borderless Prepaid Forex Card users to access and manage their Borderless Prepaid Card account anywhere, anytime, from the convenience of a smartphone. Kailash Gupta, Senior Vice President & Head, Payment Solutions Thomas Cook (India), said, “Today’s impatient new-age traveller is increasingly opting for convenience and we are witnessing a significant consumer shift to mobile-led platforms for both travel and foreign exchange. Hence, in our digital focus to empower our travellers, we have launched a dedicated app for our Borderless multicurrency prepaid card users. The app, with its real time services, will significantly improve customer experience and enhance convenience and safety-security.”

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