Tourism - a Happening Industry Thomas Cook posts half yearly results
Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, the leading tour and financial services operator, closed its books of account for the half year ended on April 30, 2005. The company registered revenue of Rs 631 million, fractionally lower by less than 1% compared to the same period last year. The company also recorded a Pre-tax profit of Rs 147 million, which is about 25% below the first half last year.
"We do see this as a short term phase as we have bookings to demonstrate a healthy growth during this outbound season, which will be reflected in the third quarter."
The most tragic humanitarian crisis in recent times Â– the Tsunami Â– and the travel advisories issued in its wake did have an adverse impact on the tourism business, especially in worst affected areas of Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand (Thomas Cook has a subsidy in Sri Lanka), explains Ashwini Kakkar, CEO & MD, Thomas Cook India Ltd.
Calamities and terrorism cause a slowdown of travel among customers, and the company increased its marketing and media exposure in an effort to stimulate tourism demand for the ensuing leisure outbound season.
The reduction in airline ticket prices during the shoulder (non peak) season also led to lower commission revenues.
In the foreign exchange arena, an appreciating rupee against a weak dollar resulted in lower profitability. Other impacting factors were increasing competition and lack of adequate foreign exchange supply in the market as NRIs preferred to park their monies outside due to lower interest rates in India.
The Company was recently awarded Â– the 2005 PATA Gold Award -- in the marketing segment for leisure travel by Pacific Asia Travel Association. At another noted Travel Trade Fair, ITB Berlin, Thomas Cook received recognition as the Best Travel Agency for Tourism Related Services from the Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association.
On the business front, the company has added three new outlets Â–at Bhubhaneswar, Vishakhapatnam, Bangalore (its fifth branch).
"We have also tied up with State Bank of India and UTI Bank for education loans for students desirous of going overseas and offer drafts and wire transfers in 50 currencies," says Kakkar. Thomas Cook now also has a sub- agent network of 600 locations across the country for MoneyGram services. This helps beneficiaries in India receive money sent from abroad, quickly and conveniently.
The companyÂ’s award winning website is now integrated with Lonely Planet, one of the top brands in destination travel guides. Thomas Cook has also entered into an agreement with Talisma, a CRM (customer relationship management) tool, to effectively manage its email campaigns. To further enhance the level of customer service, the company has also set up a separate Web Customer Service Cell.
"Tourism is the most happening Industry in India right now and is ready for a dynamic growth. The overall outlook is highly positive for the coming decade," says Kakkar.