A vacation helps you rejuvenate and get over the tiredness from your busy schedules. However planning and booking your vacation can be a cumbersome task. Travel companies are simplifying the booking hassles via online and offline centres. With the increas
With the travel quotient among people increasing, the travel industry in India is on the upswing lately witnessing winds of change. This is an interesting business option as it gives you a chance to create special moments for others which can be pleasing in itself.
The travel industry is witnessing a boom owing it to the burgeoning Indian middle class, augmentation in foreign tourists visiting the country, busy schedules and hectic lives of people leading to the need for vacations, explosion of the internet and discounted airfares etc. Also as the world economies are also amalgamating, business travel is also ascending. Commenting on the reasons for the upward stream of the travel industry, Sachin Ratti, Franchise Head, Travelport says, “As our GDP is growing at seven per cent and people in India now have access to a lot of money starting from the lower end to the higher class has led to an increase in their travelling left and right. So increased incomes coupled with a lot of FDI coming in India is the reason leading to the growth.” Also lately sports are contributing to the sector’s growth, the latest example being the IPL.
The government is also taking exceptional initiatives to add to the escalation of this sector. The ‘Incredible India’ campaign has brought about awareness and excitement in people to visit the country. Also lately, The Indian Ministry of Tourism and the Indian travel industry came together and declared 2009 as the ‘Visit India year’. According to the scheme, attractive incentives are being given by way of value additions to foreign tourists who will be visiting the country from April to December this year. The traveller will be offered ‘one’ additional or complimentary service for every service being paid for. The incentives are being offered in collaboration with airlines, hotels and tour operators.
Further franchising is paving the way for the wheeling of this industry to every part of the country. Franchisors are spreading their wings and growing their franchise networks. Ratti says, “Franchising has helped our business and made our brand name popular amongst the populace.”
The domestic travel companies like Travel & Tours, Via, Travel Port, Raj Travels and Prime travels etc are expanding to every nook and corner of the country to cater to as many people as they possibly can. On the other hand, international brands like SOTC, Cox and Kings and Thomas Cook etc have all paved their way through franchising in to the country to further provide a thrust to the industry. Agreeing this Karan Anand, Head—Relationship and Supplier Management, Cox and Kings India Ltd says, “There is a need to have international players and companies such as Cox and Kings have revolutionised the way travel is being projected. The sector has got recognition and this is good news for the industry.”
Online and offline trends
The companies which started their journey with the online portal are now creating brick and mortar shops to cater to the populace who do not have online access. A major share of people use online portals for the booking of air or rail tickets and not for all their reservations. This is precisely the reason for them opting for the offline centres. Ratti tells, “The online industry is doing well but till date only 20–30 per cent of the people make online travel bookings while 70-80 per cent still prefer to go to offline centres as they feel it gives them an advantage. Also when it comes to online bookings people are still scared of misuse of their debit or credit cards.” However, it is not the case that only one of the two will prevail, both will complement one another. Having a similar opinion Anand says, “Online has complemented offline and this is healthy for the travel industry as a whole.”
The industry has seen an upward trend and with the prospects prevalent, it will continue to do so in future as well. Ratti articulates, “With the Commonwealth Games coming up in Delhi we will be witnessing a massive growth in travel as a lot of people will be visiting India from across the world. The IPL has given a great boost to the industry. So we can foresee a very good future for the industry in India.” So lets wait and watch the industry soar to greater heights!