Exploring new destinations
Speaks to Pankaj Nagpal ( Managing Director) and Sucheta Nagpal ( Director & CEO) of Travstarz Holiday & Destinations, regarding their current focus, challenges faced by travel agents and the various issues worrying the travel trade today...
What are the special packages Travstarz is offering this year?
Pankaj - Travstarz’s primary focus has been Far East Countries, the UAE and beach destinations like Maldives & Mauritius, but in the last two years, we have expanded our operations to newer destinations like Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. We handled close to 500 passengers for Europe in 2013. Our focus for the coming years will be on destinations like Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Eastern European destinations like Poland, Czech Republic, etc., and the Scandinavian Region.
Sucheta - We wish to extensively promote USA and Canada and are working closely with the local hotels/DMCs and shall soon be launching set Itineraries and fixed departures for these destinations for the coming season soon. We will announce our series departures for Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia for the coming season. Meanwhile, we have announced special packages to Leh & Ladakh regions, Himachal, Goa, Kerala and Gujarat.
What are the major issues that travel agents are facing currently?
Sucheta - The depreciating Indian `, high service tax and extremely high levels of competition coming from new entrants are some major issues. The negative publicity of India in the world, owing to certain untoward incidents, has also dented the inbound segment. There is an urgent need to have well-laid tourism policies and strong infrastruc- ture to make India a tourism-friendly destination.
Do you think travel industry is suffering with increasing number of travel agents fraud cases?
Pankaj - It is indeed very unfortunate that certain cases of frauds have surfaced recently in India. This has tarnished the reputation of the entire travel fraternity and the country in the outside world especially in today’s well connected scenario where everything is shared and highlighted on social networking platforms.
Sucheta- The trade associations and the government should take a very strong view of these situations and it is imperative that the guilty are brought to book to set an example.
What measures can be taken to avoid them?
Pankaj - We need to have strong entry barriers, well-laid benchmarks and an efficient complaint redressal system to bring such incidents down. The trade associations too have a strong role to play in this by following strong KYC norms before approving members and must contribute their bit to take the trade to a higher level.
Could you share your future plans with us.
Pankaj - We are working on our own B2B travel portal which shall be a one-stop shop for all travel services and shall cater exclusively to the travel trade and corporate companies.
Sucheta - We are soon opening offices at Mumbai and Bangalore too. Further, we have started our new venture under the name of SASA Representations and the core business is travel representations in India.