Innovation and Quality are the Key
In the competitive and proactive outbound market; innovations, advance purchases and online tools drive the sale, says harvinder singh Duggal.
How has travel business been this holiday season for outbound travel? Can you share the numbers and volumes?
It was quite good as usual. Due to decline in EUR conversion, we did most of the bookings for Europe this summer. Minar does not believe in numbers merely but the quality business. We did 1,230 pax this summer. The rate of repeat and referral clients has increased by about 17 per cent which is gratifying.
What kind of growth do you anticipate in the travel and hospitality industry? How have the growth rates been so far?
The outbound segment of travel trade is increasing every year. We anticipate growth at 12 to 15 per cent per annum especially online, MICE and wedding segments. Most of MICE groups prefer destinations outside India, mainly because air fares to neighbouring countries are very competitive, as compared to domestic MICE destinations.
What are the innovative measures that one can expect to see in outbound tourism in the times to come? How proactive is the organisation in promoting novelties in the itineraries?
One has to be very competitive and proactive in the outbound market in order to survive. Latest innovations, advance purchases, special online tools would help in increasing the sales for outbound in near future. However, upgrading service standards and brand value of the company will have its say in the market.
Which were the initial destinations and circuits that you launched? And how have they evolved over time?
Initially we started with short haul destinations i.e. Mauritius, Maldives, Dubai, South East Asia and still numbers for these destinations are increasing. South East Asia and Dubai continues to be popular with the Indian outbound traffic. Indian clientele now looks to more exotic destinations. Greece is becoming very popular.
What is the difference between the earlier Indian tourists and those of today? What are the principal factors behind this evolution from your experience?
Earlier Indian tourists had limited knowledge destinations and products and would choose only few popular destinations on references. But now Indian tourists are well aware and ready to test unknown destinations as well. Budgets of the tourists are also expanding along with their willingness to travel more.
More money at disposal has evolved Indian tourists. The need for a family break due to stress at work place has also been a factor for evolution of travel among Indians.
What is the organisation doing to answer to the demands of the evolving travellers?
Minar is always exploring the unexplored. The company is introducing off the track options for the willing travellers and it is getting good response.
Which destinations/players are most dynamic and proactive and have the potential to pick up?
As destination I would like to say Jordan, Fiji, Canada, Taiwan, South Africa, Korea and USA are very aggressive in the market and have the potential to pick up. Cruises are also gaining popularity.