Rajeev Kale

Please tell us about your organisation?

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd (TCIL) is the leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company in the country offering a broad spectrum of services that include Foreign Exchange, Corporate Travel, MICE, Leisure Travel, Insurance, Visa & Passport services and E-Business. The company set up its first office in India in 1881.

Our footprint currently extends to over 235 locations (including 22 airport counters) in 99 cities across India, Mauritius & Sri Lanka and is supported by a strong partner network of 110 Gold Circle Partners and 112 Preferred Sales Agents in over 133 cities across India.

How was the year 2014 for your business?

We have witnessed impressive growth of sports tourism this year. For a cricket crazy nation, the IPL certainly holds much allure. When UAE had hosted matches during the summer holiday season this year, our teams at Thomas Cook India witnessed a delightful uptake of demand over 25% in comparison to 2013. Also, with Brazil playing host to FIFA 2014, we had seen a delightful 20% increase in queries, with bookings to Brazil commencing as early as June/July 2013.

reported a powerful growth of about 40- 45% in this segment of hobby/interest enthusiasts. Travel around culinary/cuisine has been clearly trending, with a 20% upswing, while photography has seen a 15% Y-o-Y growth. impressive 20% rise. We have also seen luxury holidays take off extensively, even across tier II & III markets with them contributing approximately 25-30% to our luxury market share. 2014 has been the year of long weekends along with a number of festivals thus creating greater travel opportunities for the travel-hungry Indian. The Independence Day weekend saw a delightful rise in queries- up by 20% while the Dussehra-Puja and Deepavali by 26%.

New unexplored destinations and unique & engaging experiences will be the predominate factors for corporates undertaking MICE travel seeing a growth of 25% this year. With over 25% YoY growth over the last 5 years, at Thomas Cook India, MICE segment form a critical element of our strategic plan. In fact, this year, our internal research and analysis teams reveal that the MICE sector has immense scope of growth and is anticipated to fuel not only the domestic market but equally so from an inbound tourism market.

Which all will be the potential destinations that will bring in valuable returns to your business as well as economy of the country?

Thomas Cook India’s analysis predicts Andamans, Kashmir, Ladakh, Kerala, Rajasthan, North East, Goa, South India/ Nilgiris, Himachal, Bhutan and Gujarat to be top favourites. A significant offshoot of the rupee movement has been impressive growth for our Domestic MICE business with uptake for India destinations such as Jaipur, Hyderabad, Agra, Bangalore, Kochi, Port Blair.