In its 25th year of operation, Minar Travels’ Managing Director H.S. Duggal is optimistic about the company’s new MICE and luxury division ELBON and Vilasa, respectively, and says they are focusing on Asia this year.
Minar Travels has carved a niche for itself in the Indian tourism industry over the past 25 years. With a stronghold in inbound tourism, the group is also actively working for outbound tourism and airlines, and have further launched two new divisions as part of their growth plans.
One of the new segments–Vilasa–focuses on luxury travel and is aimed at providing the ultimate exclusive experience to travellers. Elaborating on the initiative, H.S. Duggal, Managing Director, Minar Travels, says, “We recently added Vilasa primarily to target the US market, and have received very good signs this holiday season. Of late, there has been a dip in the quality of tourists coming to India so we want to concentrate on the luxury travel segment. We have also entered the MICE segment in a big way with ELBON, our division dedicated to meetings and conferences.”
Deriving from modest beginnings, the organisation now boasts of a global presence with the most recent addition in Argentina, and is also working with 11 airlines. Duggal says that evolution is key for expansion and adds that he is constantly looking at new markets where he can find an advantage. “Going to markets that have not been explored has been one of our USPs and has immensely helped us in our growth. Tourism in Argentina has not been doing all that well but the interest towards India was growing. This applies to other markets where we are present as well, like Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Mongolia, which have now turned out to be very successful markets.”
However, he adds that the focus will be on Asia, owing to the boom in travel, with a concentrated approach on China and South Korea. “We also want to tap the South American market deeper, mainly Brazil and Mexico. Africa is another interesting market we want to enter since we are now already present in the historically important markets like the US, Europe and Russia,” he elaborates.
With impending changes that will likely shake up the tourism industry, Duggal hopes that the GST will be favourable for the industry to thrive and expresses that the price factor will be crucial in either drawing or driving tourists away. He adds, “India cannot be outpriced over our competitors. Countries like Thailand is getting over 20 million visitors, and Singapore 60 million, because they’ve made their products very competitive. It should apply to India too. Additionally, if the problem of touts and cleanliness is tackled well, I feel it will greatly help in tourism’s growth.”
“Tourism in Argentina has not been doing all that well but the interest towards India was growing”- H.S. Duggal Managing Director Minar Travels