After the pandemic, the industry is focussing on tier-II and tier-III markets, but for Travstarz, these markets have always been their strength. The company is working closely with various Tourism Boards to further tap these markets, especially the youth, which is raring to explore the world.
Travstarz has been a pioneer in introducing the DMC concept in India since its inception in 2009 and has been instrumental in introducing many destinations in the country. It has been the first company to introduce Azerbaijan to Indian agents in 2017, when it hosted the first luxury Fam for a selected group of Indian agents. As the travel has begun to pick up after a two-year hiatus, the company has relocated to a new place in New Delhi and are now back to full-time operations with a team ready to tap into this burgeoning market.
Speaking of the tourism industry post-pandemic, Sucheta Nagpal, Director & Chief Executive Officer, Travstarz, said that the pandemic created numerous opportunities for domestic travel and provided a boost to Indian destinations, but it had a significant impact on international destinations. “When the world first began to open up, airlines and hotels had limited capacity. And they had increased their tariffs to compensate for losses during the pandemic, but surprisingly, even after the full reopening and relaxation of COVID restrictions, airlines and hotels have not increased capacity or reduced fares, which is extremely disappointing.”
Nagpal suggested, “It is very important now for the industry players to keep rates competitive and once again push for higher volumes, which will aide the industry in the long run. Now we hope to see a more positive demand for vacation traffic and hopefully by beginning of 2023 we should see the rising demand for vacation traffic especially the summer of 2023 amid lower fares and tariffs.”
India has always been a large and important outbound market, especially for countries like Dubai, Thailand, and Abu Dhabi. Nagpal said, “With COVID on the decline and most countries removing the restrictions, the outbound market looks very promising and has already picked up speed. However, visa delays and exorbitantly high airfares is a big dampener and is affecting the revival in some way. I feel the respective tourism bodies across the world are urging their governments to work on solving these issues, as Indians are keen travellers post pandemic with a decent spending ability.”
The Indian travellers’ thinking has changed post-pandemic, as they are opting for better hotels and more aspirational destinations. Moreover, the travellers are now opting more for online bookings. “This will have an adverse effect on the offline small and medium sized travel agents in some way. Having said that the market will always remain robust for the travel agents who offer unique and niche products and not run-of-the-mill packages. This will require some out-of-the-box thinking by the travel agents to win back the confidence of the travellers to offline booking agents and will also result in better products coming to the market for the travellers and will provide opportunity to the agents to earn better margins due to specialization,” she said.
Focus on tier-II and tier-III markets
The industry is now focusing on tier-II and tier-III markets, as it feels that there is a huge potential that is yet to be explored. “Tier-II and tier-III markets have always been our strength. Our reach and acceptability in these markets is very high even post-pandemic owing to the good relations we built over the past 10 years. These markets are now majorly driving growth and higher numbers from India and have been our strong support base after reopening. We at Travstarz have always focused on these markets from where most of our business does originate. A lot of our Tourism Board partners have been working closely with us for tapping these markets where we have a strong foothold, especially with the younger generation in these areas, being now more educated and looking at exploring the world.”
Nagpal said, “Our Investors and shareholders are Rezb2b Inc, which is a subsidiary of CTRIP but based out of USA. The closure of China borders for such a long time has definitely impacted the business between our countries, but we have largely remained unaffected by the same. Now, we are glad to announce that we now have a full-fledged domestic division offering B2B rates for all North India destinations, along with all our international destinations, which have all gone live again and restarted operations.”