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...

TravTalk - India - - Agents -

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.

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