Though the ash cloud from Iceland grounded European airlines for a considerable period, local travel & tourism companies have yet to figure out the damage that they have suffered
The ash cloud that hovered over Europe after the eruption of the dormant volcano in Iceland seems to have cleared. But the business impact of the eruption on various domestic travel and tourism companies is still unclear.
Moneylife questioned a number of players in the travel and tourism industry on how they were impacted due to the ash fallout. Many companies refused to comment. On the other hand, the few who did comment, had contradictory views.
Karan Anand, head, (Relationships and Supplier Management), Cox & Kings India Limited, said, “We feel that the situation will become normal by the first week of May. You could expect cancellations from some corporates, but leisure continues to grow. Leisure travellers would rather reschedule their trip rather than cancel them.” When asked about the impact on Cox & Kings, Mr Anand said that their business hasn’t been affected much as there was a surge in bookings (after the travel ban was lifted). He added, “There has not been any loss. In fact, customers have rescheduled their bookings and airlines have not imposed any cancellation charge at all for such passengers.”
Ashwani Kakkar from Mercury Travels seems to see things in a different light. He said, “There has been a tremendous impact on the entire sector. If you look at the airline industry, IATA has reported a loss of $1.2 billion. Plus if you consider the widely-spread business of travel agents, tour agents and companies—or even hotels—there has been a negative impact. Our corporate customers and leisure travellers were stuck in Europe and citizens from abroad were looking for a way out in India. We were suffering some losses.”
According to Keyur Joshi, co-founder & COO of MakeMyTrip.com, a travel portal, “While the crisis was at its peak, we experienced some major changes like cancellations, and queries for alternate holidays. Airlines in Europe have suffered heavy losses due to the cancellations and alterations made by travellers to their travel plans. India thankfully was not affected just as badly.”
Travel companies state that people within the organisation were working round the clock to combat the chaos. As far as the overall impact on the industry is concerned, Mr Kakkar explained, “It is a huge industry—you cannot easily get numbers. There are as many as 40,000 agents and sub-agents in the country. It is difficult to get a survey done on the overall impact.”
Companies seem to be optimistic over the industry’s growth prospects for the near future. Caper Travels’ spokesperson Dev Prasad said, “Last year, there was a recession and companies were coping with losses. This year is extremely positive for us as business is gradually growing. But it (the volcanic eruption) didn’t affect our business in any which way.”
Mr Joshi of MakeMyTrip.com seemed confident as well.”With the economy recovering from recessionary pressure, people are taking up travel and holidaying again. May it be day trips, short weekend getaways or long holidays, people are willing to explore places, spend for the same and have a fun holiday,” he said.
About 83% of Indian companies expect a rise in revenues in the coming year, as compared to 70% globally, according to a new report
More Indian companies, as compared to their global peers, expect a rise in revenues in the coming year, a survey has said, reports PTI.
About 83% of Indian companies expect a rise in revenues in the coming year, as compared to 70% globally, the bi-annual Regus Business Tracker survey said.
Indeed, 74% of large-sized businesses compared to a 42% global average had experienced a rise in revenues, when the survey was conducted, it said.
“As a result, 20% more large businesses than the global average (70%) expect the rising revenue trend to continue in the coming year,” the survey said.
When asked about measures they believed would be most effective in aiding recovery, 40% of medium businesses (globally 19%) advocated a rise in interest rates to curb inflation.
About 39% of medium-sized businesses (37% globally) stressed on the need for public investment in infrastructure. Overall, 59% of all local companies wanted better infrastructure investment.
The survey also analysed sector differences, finding that in India, 34% more consultancy businesses than average had experienced a rise in revenues (globally 42%).
Exports touch Rs4,373 crore; reach total volume of 2,57,469 tonnes in the last fiscal
India’s tobacco exports surged 29% to reach Rs4,373 crore in the 2009-10 fiscal on higher demand from Europe and the US. India is the third largest tobacco exporter in the world.
In volume terms, tobacco exports—comprising raw tobacco and its products—rose by 14% to 2,57,469 tonnes in FY2010 from 2,24,867 tonnes in the previous fiscal, a senior Tobacco Board official said, reports PTI.
“The shipments rose both in value and volume terms. India exported tobacco worth Rs4,373 crore in the 2009-10 fiscal against Rs3,388 crore in the same period last year,” he said.
The export of tobacco surged as lower production in countries such as Europe and the US boosted global demand, the official said.
The board official further said, “The rise in exports was also due to higher price realisation for Indian tobacco. The average export price for our tobacco was $3 per kg in FY2010 as against $2.50 per kg in FY2009.”
India shipped Rs748.95 crore worth of tobacco products like cigarettes and Rs3,624 crore worth of unmanufactured tobacco like flue-cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco in FY2010, the board said.
In volume terms, exports of tobacco products stood at 29,772 tonnes, while unmanufactured tobacco shipments totalled 2,27,697 tonnes in the review period, it said.
The shipment of FCV tobacco, the major export variety, increased in volume to 1,73,701 tonnes from 1,50,174 tonnes during the period, it added.
The board said that tobacco was exported largely to Belgium, Russia, South Korea, the Netherlands and South Africa.
Tobacco production in the country is likely to touch 335 million kg in the 2009-10 season, against 317 million kg in the previous year, it added.
The harvesting season varies in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the two biggest tobacco producing States in India. At present, tobacco is being harvested in Andhra Pradesh.