Jun 26, 2006

Action Online: Travel sector's new mantra - Hindustan Times

THERE IS a lot of action in India’s online travel industry. Only recently Sify.com entered the online travel market place with the acquisition of Globe Travels online, issuer of e-tickets in the India-US travel space. Similarly, MSN India announced its tie-up with New Jersey-based online travel company Desiya to capture a share in the burgeoning online travel market.

Joining the bandwagon is ezeego1.com promoted by Peter Kerkar, Urrshila Kerkar and Cox & Kings, which have acquired a majority stake in Forever Travel Distribution that owns the eToursonline brand, a B2B travel distribution platform for an undisclosed sum.

Commenting on the acquisition Neelu Singh, chief operating officer, ezeego1.com said, “The Indian online travel market has a huge potential and eToursonline has a huge presence in the B2B space with tie-ups with close to 600 travel agents across the major Indian cities along with a huge inventory of hotels that enables us to provide comprehensive geographical footprint.”

Aiding Industry Growth

The number of Indian Internet users is slated to grow from the current 38.5 million to over 100 million by 2007-08
$262 mn is projected in online transactions for 2005-06, of which 57.85% is expected in travel and tourism
Online air ticket sales are expected to account for $88 mn followed by rail ticket sales at $63 mn

Explaining the synergies, Yogesh Rathi, chief executive officer of Forever Travel Distribution said: “ezeego1.com can leverage its position as a Meta search and increase its distribution channels.”

Post acquisition, the new board has mandated Rathi as the managing director of eTours even as ezeego1.com is projecting a turnover of Rs 100 crore over the next three years.

Industry experts say that considering the fragmented nature of the Indian travel landscape, consolidation seems ideal for an online model.

According to Rajnish, Head-Digital Marketing Revenue and Strategic Business, MSN India, “There are two reasons for companies to foray into the online travel market place. Firstly, in India, the e-commerce market is about $240 million, out of which $120 million constitute the travel market. This market is expected to grow $1 billion by 2010. Secondly, we have seen a dramatic boom in the travel market since last year. Indians are suddenly discovering the joy of traveling and many are taking help of the net to gather information on travel. Therefore there is huge potential.”

MSN India and Desiya will be able to bridge this gap and address the needs of the growing travelling population.

Explains Surya Mantha, Senior Vice President, Portals, at Sify.com: “The addition of a travel portal is in line with our strategy to provide end-to-end services to Sify users. We believe we are well positioned to emerge as leading player in online travel space through our 3,300 iWay cyber cafes across 153 cities and 200,000 home broadband customers.” Looking into the future, the online business model is expected to become a disruptive force in the travel industry with local offline travel firms also expected to jump into the fray.

Ezeego1, is a travel Meta search well known for its cheap airfares & cheap tickets with the best & cheap flights during every season, making travel deals affordable to those who wish to budget their holiday and make the most of it with the best offers. The travel bazaar showcases attractive offers allowing travelers to choose whichever package suites them best while making flight bookings and indulging into flight deals. With domestic flights, there are 9 in totality; out of which Kingfisher airlines, Jet airways and Air India are full service carriers while ezeego1 also holds forth low cost carriers such as Spicejet / Go Air, Indigo, Paramount, Jetlite and MDLR which are low cost carriers. In addition to this there is a wide variety of international flights to choose from with affordable airline tickets and one can also avail of discount hotels, cheap hotels & the most suited holiday packages with ezeego1.
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