Category Archives: Agents

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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Rare to Peach: RARE India launches new entity—Peach

RARE India has launched a new entity called Peach, under which the team would work for new tourism products, fairs and events in terms of development, promotion and marketing. One of the first projects under Peach is Gobindgarh Fort, which was showcased in New Delhi for agents by erstwhile actress and developer behind the project, Deepa Sahi. She has produced and developed the shows at the fort. The fort belonged to Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab and showcases stories of his valour through 7D experiences and virtual reality wonders. Shoba Mohan and Sowmya Vijaymohan, Founder-Partners, RARE India and Peach, said that Peach would be focusing on handholding and developing new projects, events, fairs and experiences in the tourism space. Peach would be different from RARE as it will not be delving into the representation of boutique, independently owned properties, which fall into the RARE aesthetics.

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Explora to promote Moroccan luxury DMC ‘Experience Morocco’ in India

Mumbai-based Explora has associated itself with a luxury DMC based in Morocco called Experience Morocco. Led by Managing Partners, Karishma Kazi and Sunny Katara, Explora’s partnership will be effective September 1, 2018 which is when they will start promoting it in India. Speaking about the new development, Karishma Kazi, Managing Partner, Explora, says, “We believe that travel is all about the experience – We firmly believe that great travel experiences can be created from simple elements, and we feel privileged to have  Experience Morocco as our  client. Looking at the luxury segment growing year on year, it was about time to give India a DMC for Morocco which only caters to bespoke and beyond.” As a provider of curated travels across Morocco and with a diverse team of travel professionals who speak 16 languages, Explora has the experience and know-how to design memorable trips custom-built around the clients’ requirements. Sharing his insight on Indians as travellers, Sunny Katara, Managing Partner, Explora, adds, “Indian travellers have a unique set of motivations and needs, and understanding what drives this travel behaviour and providing a personalised experience is the key. It is really not that tough to understand an Indian luxury traveller. An important facet of the luxury travel experience is how well travellers feel that their needs and preferences are understood by their travel providers.”

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Majority of people prefer wedding destination near home town: Survey

Most of the people prefer destinations wedding near their hometown, according to a Travel Wedding Show Survey. 67 per cent of the people responded positively while 33 per cent preferred the destination wedding far from their home town. Destination wedding for the next five years will be the biggest thing. Weddings are big business, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. If as wedding planners we have to survive, we need to go out, to different cities and destinations and procure more business. Indian and international destination weddings will remain, the next business thing,” says Rajeev Jain, Founder and Director, Rashi Entertainment.

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Travel and Tourism’s contribution to employment witness positive trend

The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment was 41,622,500 jobs in 2017 (8.0 per cent of total employment), according to a report by World Travel and Tourism Council. This will rise by 3.1 per cent in 2018 to 42,898,000 jobs (8.1 per cent of total employment). By 2028, travel and tourism is expected to support 52,279,000 jobs (8.4 per cent of total employment), an increase of 2.0 per cent per annum over the period, the report said. Meanwhile, Travel & Tourism generated 26,148,000 jobs directly in 2017 (5.0 per cent of total employment) and this is forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 to 26,883,000. This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.

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