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Thomas Cook India’s Centre of Learning launches ‘Disha 2013’ Focus on research in tourism; announces winning research papers

~ Winners felicitated by Minister for Tourism,State of Maharashtra- Shri Chaggan Bhujbal, Principal Secretary- Additional Charge Tourism and Chief Protocol Officer Shri Sumit Mullick ~


Mumbai, October 11, 2013: Thomas Cook India’s consistent efforts in promoting quality research in the field of travel and tourism, have resulted in the launch of the second edition of ‘Disha’ by its education and training vertical, Centre of Learning, in Mumbai, today.

‘Disha’, is a platform which invites research papers in the field of travel and tourism from faculties of educational institutions across India.

Post receiving an overwhelming response, the initiative was concluded today in a felicitation ceremony where, Shri Chaggan Bhujbalji- Minister for Tourism,State of Maharashtra , Shri Sumit Mullickji, Principal Secretary- Additional Charge Tourism and Chief Protocol Officer and Mr. Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. felicitated the winning research entries and released a published book with a compilation of the top research papers.

The first prize was awarded to Dr. Mahalaxmi Krishnan from K J Somaiya College, Mumbai who presented a paper on ‘Infrastructure - the need for it in having a robust Tourism Industry in India’. The second prize winners were Dr. Prem Ram & Mr. Arvind Saraswati from Banarasidas Chandiwala lnstitute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, New Delhi who researched the ‘Impact of Civil Aviation Policies on Tourism Industry in India’. The consolation prize winners were Dr. G.Anjaneya Swamy & Dr. Nitin Mittal from Pondicherry University for their research on ‘Relevance of Movies in Marketing a Destination’.


The first prize winner has received an International Holiday, the second prize winners a domestic holiday while the third prize winners have received a free resort stay. The prizes have been sponsored by Jet Airways, Marriott Hotels and MTDC.


Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said “The travel & tourism industry of India has been recognized as a powerful driving force in boosting the Indian economy but faces its share of challenges. Our attempt, through Disha, is to encourage and support high standards of research and learning in the Tourism sector, and thereby catalyse the entire travel ecosystem. The award-winning research papers for Disha 2013 highlight current issues that impact the sector and recommendations.”


A panel discussion on ‘Travel and Tourism – Emerging Trends' saw experts discuss the challenging issues and areas of opportunity for the industry in India. The panellists were Ratna Chadha - Chief Executive Tirun Travel Marketing - India Rep Azmara Cruises, Celebrity Cruise, Royal Caribbean International, Dr Manjula Chaudhary- Director, Indian Institute of Tourism &Travel Management and Mr Gour Kanjilal – Executive Director IATO, Mr Stephan Heuberger Director - India Switzerland Tourism.


Disha was first organised in 2011 with honourable Union Minister of Tourism, Shri Subodh Kant Sahai and honourable State Minister of Tourism, Shri Chaggan Bhujbal, gracing the occasion with their presence.


About Centre of Learning:

Centre of Learning is an initiative of Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. to develop talent for the organization as well as for the Industry. In the context of high growth and increasing customer expectations, talent management will be one of the important challenges to the Travel Industry. This relates to both the shortage of actual numbers and the desired capability levels from both a technical and managerial perspective. Thomas Cook - Centre of Learning has been set up with the objective of proactively facilitating the talent management in the travel industry and would strive to grow, harness and nurture the skill sets in the industry.


About Thomas Cook (India) Limited:

Thomas Cook 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.


TCIL’s footprint currently extends to over 235 locations (including 23 airport counters) in 98 cities across India, Mauritius & Sri Lanka and is supported by a strong partner network of 133 Gold Circle Partners and 165 Preferred Sales Agents in over 150 cities across India.


Thomas Cook (India) Ltd has been voted Best Tour Operator at the Lonely Planet Travel Awards 2013, Best Tour Operator - Outbound at the CNBC AWAAZ Travel Awards 2013 and Favourite Specialist Tour Operator at the Condé Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards 2011 & 2012. The Company was selected Retailer of the Year – Leisure & Holidays, by ET NOW in 2013. In addition, TCIL has been chosen as the Best Corporate Travel Management Company by World Travel Brands 2012 and honoured with The Most Trusted Brand in travel services by The Brand Trust Report™, India study 2012 and as a “Consumer Superbrand” 2011-2012 by Superbrands. At the recently concluded National Tourism Awards 2011-2012, TCIL was honoured with 3 prestigious awards: Special Award for endeavors in launching new tourism products and exemplary performance during the year 2011-12; Tour Operator Promoting Niche Segments other than Adventure and MICE and Award of Excellence: Best Tourism Promotion Publicity Material.


Thomas Cook India’s Centre of Learning has received IATA accreditation as “Top 10 South Asia IATA Authorized Training Centres”, 2012 & 2013.


ICRA has assigned a long term rating of ‘ICRA AA-/ Stable’ and CRISIL has assigned a long term rating of CRISIL AA-/ stable outlook, to the non convertible debenture program.


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Thomas Cook (India) Limited is promoted by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Fairbridge Capital. Fairbridge is responsible for the execution of acquisition and investment opportunities in the Indian subcontinent on behalf of the Fairfax family of companies.


About Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited:

Fairfax Financial Holdings is a Toronto-based financial services holding company with a global presence in insurance and reinsurance and a portfolio of assets in excess of $30 billion invested worldwide. The Company, founded in 1985 by the present Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prem Watsa, has over the past 25 years, demonstrated a strong financial track record to achieve an annual appreciation in Book Value per Share of 24.7% annually.


Fairfax has almost 20 general insurance subsidiaries and joint ventures globally, including ICICI Lombard (India). The portfolio also includes several market leading insurance companies such as Odyssey Re (USA), Crum & Forster (USA), First Capital (Singapore), Fairfax Brasil (Brazil), Gulf Insurance (Kuwait).


Fairfax is engaged in long term investments from its own resources, with a focus to delivering long term capital appreciation through a flexible and value oriented approach.


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