K Pandian, Chairman, IATO Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar and Puducherry Chapter and Founder Chairman, Cholan Tours, says they are the first Indian travel company, domestic or inbound, giving insurance complimentary to all its clients, which ensures safety and boosts their confidence.
K Pandian, Chairman, IATO Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar and Puducherry Chapter and Founder Chairman, Cholan Tours, said, “Our company has started travel assistance and complimentary insurance cover for inbound clients from 15 June 2002 and for domestic clients from 1 July. In fact, 99.99 per cent of the travellers from Malaysia who come to Tamil Nadu do not take insurance. If they take insurance, their safety and security will be ensured. It is not only for the client, the agents should also make use of this service.” The insurance aid covers accident or small injuries for which hospitalisation is not needed. “It covers illness of immediate blood relatives. Trip cancellation is also covered. Missing connecting domestic flight and airline costs are also covered. All this coverage is available once they arrive in India and not before,” he revealed.
“After ongoing pandemic subsided, we expected the central or state governments to come up with a complimentary insurance cover for tourists. I was expecting a statement in this regard from Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Hence, I decided to do it myself. We are the first travel company in India, domestic or inbound, who is giving the travel assistance cum insurance complimentary to all clients booked with my company or South Tourism Services. The insurance covers hospitalisation, accident, baggage lost or trip cancelled due to personal tragedy or illness, and emergency medical expenses in family as well.” It will give a positive vibe for the tourists, he added.
Getting back to business
“We are doing better than anybody in the country. In 2021, we have done much better than anybody in the country. In 2022 also, we are moving forward. Most people did not even make `50 lakhs in 2020-2021, but we have done business worth `3 crores. In 2022, we are moving forward as inbound has already started. This travel assistance cum insurance cover is one reason to make clients choose us,” he claimed.
When it comes to reaching 2019 levels, Pandian said that it is still a long way ahead. “If we do 20 to 23 per cent business of what we did in 2019-20, that would be remarkable. I think actual inbound is likely to start from October 2023,” he said. Some movement may start in January 2023,” he claimed.
He reiterated, “All this will happen soon if the central and state governments welcome tourists, promote tourism and introduce insurance cover for tourists coming to India, apart from announcing 2023 as a Visit India Year.”
Speaking on the government’s focus on sustainability, he shared that his company has taken sustainability seriously for the last many years. “I started this initiative in 2008. Our company stopped using papers since 2008. We only use e-files, we do not have couriers, no cheques are issued—no printouts are taken or no brochures issued. We created a mobile app in 2014 so that clients get all the documents/info in the app. We shifted to using solar power in 2010. Thus, in 2018 in Montenegro, we were the first Indian company to get a Lufthansa Green Award,” he said.
How to boost numbers
Pandian believes the government should make five or 10-year plans for boosting tourism. “The government should bring all the stakeholders together and try to know their problems and issues. The government should act as a facilitator. That will help in promoting the country,” he said.