Prabodh Tipnis, Group MD, Global Aviation Services, which has been appointed as the tourism representative for Da Nang Tourism in India, discusses the destination and its appeal for Indian visitors. He also underlines how its clients are recovering in the aftermath of the pandemic.
While the core business of Global Aviation Services is to represent as General Sales Agents of Da Nang Tourism in India, the company has also ventured into destination representation. The company is now in its 47th year of operations. Talking about this exciting venture, Prabodh Tipnis, Group MD, Global Aviation Services, says, “I am happy to inform that we are the representatives of Da Nang Tourism in India since August 2022. Our aim is to promote the destination and create more awareness about it in the market and get more Indians to travel to Da Nang. We have already done workshops on it in New Delhi and will now participate in trade shows. Our team has been very active with the trade and tour operators and connecting them to the suppliers in Da Nang.”
It is relatively an unknown destination in India today, he says. “But we now receive a huge number of queries and see tourist traffic swell from India to Da Nang. The numbers may be small right now but our target is to step up to 50,000 in the first year and go up to 1,00,000 within three years. I’m sure we can achieve this based on the response we are getting from the trade and we may exceed those numbers rather quickly,” Tipnis adds.
Da Nang is the third largest city in Vietnam which permits e-visas for Indian nationals. The team at Global Aviation Services has planned fam tours for the travel agents and is targeting segments like leisure, corporate, MICE, sporting events, weddings and honeymooners. Da Nang has good conferencing facilities and air connectivity with Vietnamese carriers connecting India to Da Nang directly.
Airlines’ restart a challenge
Speaking about their airline clients, Tipnis says that the last couple of years have been very challenging to get the clients back into operations. “For the airlines to restart operations into India was a big challenge. Many had reduced their fleet, and their staff and crew were not operating full schedule. The Indian market was waiting for airlines to operate and cater to the Indian tourists, who were just waiting to go somewhere. The demand was up there but number of seats available per week on any plane was rather limited. So, it was a big challenge. Till date, some airlines are operating limited schedules – not just to India but throughout their network,” he says.
Stimulating the market was also one of the major agendas for his team. “Also, convincing airlines with the yields and the seat utilisation capacity was one of our major tasks. We are still hoping that in 2023 we will go back to normal operations to pre-COVID levels with higher yields for our airline customers. We are hoping that we will return to pre-COVID levels and offer more to the Indian traveller,” he shares.
New clients in portfolio
Global Aviation Services has added new clients to its portfolio in the last one year. Tipnis says, “At any given time there are multiple discussions going on with potential airlines clients. Some through tender process, some through word of mouth and some through invitation. We will surely have some announcements to make soon. At this point in time, we are looking at expanded services to India. More importantly, we would like to bring new airlines into the market. Our strategy has been to make the airlines, ourselves, and our customers profitable. So, we are looking at very tight resources, very tight costs, having learned from the pandemic. Without cutting any essential cost, we will definitely be able to fulfil our commitment to the trade, to the passengers and to our airline customers.” He does see a correction in airfares soon.