Thomas Cook India launches Online Visas
~ Indian travellers increasingly opting for online services;
More than 20,000 online visa application requests received in May and June~
Mumbai, July 27, 2015: Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, latest finding reveals that the Indian traveller’s use of online platforms is moving beyond flights/hotels, to include visa processing.
Thomas Cook India’s internal consumer study, while highlighting visas as a key element in travel, revealed the stress and pain involved in the entire process. In an initiative to simplify the process, Thomas Cook launched “Online Visas” to empower its customers with detailed visa information (visa requirements per destination, downloadable visa forms, consular addresses and timings, processing duration and visa costs). Clearly this has found strong value with travellers, resulting in over 20,000 application requests received online in the months of May & June, 2015,
KEY STUDY FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS:
- Singapore ranked number 1 in the amount of total visa applications received online:
Singapore 41%; Schengen* 16%; Malaysia 15%; UK 7%; USA 5%; Canada 4%; Australia 3%
*(Schengen countries included Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain)
- Tech-savvy Bengaluru leads the market for online visa applications contributing to 22%, followed by the 2 top metros of Mumbai and Delhi. Gaining popularity are the emerging young student and young professional/corporate executive markets of Pune & Hyderabad:
Bengaluru 22%; Mumbai 20%; Delhi 18%; Pune 12%; Hyderabad -10%
- Interestingly, the maximum online applications received less than 15 days prior departure, were from Bengaluru and for short-haul destinations Singapore and Malaysia; indicative that Bengaluru travellers perhaps enjoy last-minute breaks (visas for both countries can be granted in 3 days to a week)
Mr. Amit Madhan, Chief Operating Officer - IT & E Services, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “The world is changing rapidly and so is customer behaviour. Today’s digitally native Indian is increasingly impatient for both information/data, as also delivery. He needs information instantly and has little patience to wait for a third party to meet his requirements. Obtaining a visa remains one of the biggest pain points for India’s traveller as it involves filling complex applications, travelling to metro cities, standing in queues for submissions/interviews, etc. With visa services online, our intent is to eliminate multi-level complexities. Our 2 step process enables easy access to online visa information with fulfilment of visa services (drop off of documents, checks by an expert, submission and collection and final delivery of a visa stamped passport) executed offline- via our extensive pan India outlets”.
He added, “While not surprising that Singapore topped the list of favoured destinations for online visa submissions, Schengen countries like Switzerland and France constituted an interesting second. Bengaluru continues to show faster adoption for new online tools, Pune and Hyderabad together with Mumbai and Delhi are not far behind.”
Mr Madhan concluded by stating, “Technology will continue to be a key focus of our strategic intent and consumer insights will power this initiative for us at Thomas Cook.”
About Thomas Cook (India) Limited:
Thomas Cook (India) Ltd (TCIL) 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 233 locations (including 19 airport counters) in 94 cities across India, Mauritius & Sri Lanka and is supported by a strong partner network of 115 Gold Circle Partners and 112 Preferred Sales Agents in over 130 cities across India.
ICRA has upgraded the long term rating of Thomas Cook (India) Limited’s non convertible debenture programme to ‘ICRA AA/Stable’ from ‘ICRA AA-/Stable’, assigned earlier. CRISIL has assigned long term rating of CRISIL AA-/ stable outlook to the non convertible debenture programme and banking facilities and short term rating of CRISIL A1+ to TCIL’s banking facilities.
Thomas Cook (India) Ltd has been voted as Favourite Outbound Tour Operator at the Outlook Traveller Awards 2015, Best Tour Operator - Outbound at the CNBC AWAAZ Travel Awards 2015, 2014 & 2013 and Best Company providing Foreign Exchange at the CNBC AWAAZ Travel Awards 2015 & 2014; felicitated with Diamond Award for Exemplary Achievements in Visa Issuance at the French Ambassador's Travel Awards Ceremony 2015; Thomas Cook India’s Travel Quest honoured with a gold award at PATA Gold Awards 2015; honoured with a honored as ‘India's Leading Tour Operator’ for the year 2014, at the 21st Annual World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia 2014, Best Tour Operator at the Lonely Planet Travel Awards 2013, Favourite Tour Operator at the Condé Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards 2014, 2013, 2012 & 2011 and recognized as a “Consumer Superbrand” 2013-14 & 2012-2013. In addition, TCIL has been chosen as the Best Corporate Travel Management Company by World Travel Brands 2012. At the National Tourism Awards 2012-2013, TCIL was the recipient of 3 prestigious awards. Thomas Cook India’s Centre of Learning has received IATA accreditation as “Top 10 South Asia IATA Authorized Training Centers”2015, 2013 & 2012. For more information, please visit www.thomascook.in
Thomas Cook (India) Limited is promoted by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Fairbridge Capital (Mauritius) Limited and its controlled affiliates. 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 Limited is a Toronto-based financial services holding company with a global presence in insurance and reinsurance and a portfolio of assets in excess of $38 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).
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. Fairfax Financial Holdings through Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. owns 73.96% on a fully diluted basis of the Quess Corp Limited (formerly IKYA Human Capital Solutions Limited), a provider of specialised Human Resource related Services and 55.01% of Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Ltd, engaged in time share and resort business and holiday activities.
About Quess Corp Limited (formerly IKYA Human Capital Solutions Limited)
Quess Corp Limited is a market leading business services entity with interests in Asset Management, IT Services and HR services. Headquartered in Bangalore, the Group has more than 80000 employees, operates in 27 cities in India, the North America, Middle East and South East Asia. The group has grown through a series of acquisitions in the last seven years and has INR 2,200 crores as revenue. Quess Corp Limited is a subsidiary of Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. For more information visit: http://www.quesscorp.com/
About Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited:
Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited, a pioneer in vacation ownership and a leading leisure hospitality company in India, was incorporated in 1986 with the vision of delivering great holiday experiences to Indian families. Sterling Holidays’ network includes 1767 rooms across 24 resorts in 21 scenic holiday destinations pan India. The company also has 15 additional sites where it plans to add new resorts in the coming years. For more information visit: www.sterlingholidays.com
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