Despite being embroiled in legal tussles related to acquisitions, EbixCash made its way to the market by generating relatively stable revenues and profits within the high-growth Indian economy.
The Skift India Newsletter is your go-to platform for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.
Travel exchange company EbixCash — the Indian arm of insurance software company Ebix — has been granted regulatory approval for its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). The IPO is expected to raise between $732 million to $975 million, making it one of the largest IPOs in the financial services sector in India. The company has already filed a draft red herring prospectus, but the IPO is still subject to the necessary approvals, market conditions, and other factors. In the run-up to the anticipated IPO, EbixCash had filed its prospectus with the Indian stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on March 10, 2022 after CEO Robin Raina declared on the company’s quarterly earnings call that EbixCash would file its prospectus “imminently.” Ebix declared its intent to raise $787 million via the IPO, while retaining a significant majority stake in EbixCash. While EbixCash operates in several segments — payment solutions, travel, financial technologies, business processing outsourcing services and startup initiatives — it receives over 80 percent of its revenue from the payments services business. Under this business, the company offers domestic remittance, forex, international remittance and prepaid cards/gift cards. It largely generates revenue based on commissions and transaction fees from providing these services.
Tata-owned Indian Hotels Company Limited has signed 36 new hotels and opened 16 new hotels in the financial year 2022-23, and is well poised to achieve its vision of 300 hotels by 2025. Maintaining its lead in the luxury segment, the brand’s iconic luxury brand Taj is slated to reach the 100-hotel milestone from 98 hotels currently. In line with its strategy of pioneering new destinations, Taj announced two resorts in Lakshadweep and signed two hotels in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Raipur, Chattisgarh. “We signed a record 36 hotels in this financial year taking our portfolio to 260 properties. With this growth our managed hotels have now reached a share of 50 percent from 32 percent five years ago, resulting in a balanced portfolio mix,” said Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO of Indian Hotels Co.
Around 193,000 Indians visited Singapore in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest figures by Singapore Tourism Board — the tourism development agency of the city-state. This is around 3.5 times more than the 54,530 Indian visitors who arrived in 2022. Indian residents now rank as the fourth largest source of tourist arrivals, after Indonesians (523,300), Malaysians (278,910), and Australians (265,730). Americans comprised the fifth largest group of visitors by country of origin, with a total of 168,960 arrivals. The tourism board along with Singapore’s Changi Airport has recently relaunched the free city tour for transit and transfer passengers after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19.
Online travel company MakeMyTrip has introduced a Book With Zero Payment feature that allows a traveler to block a room in hotels or homestays without any upfront payment. Users do not need to pay at the time of booking but only when closer to the check-in date. The platform is indexing on convenience and flexibility to make the entire process hassle-free so that even first-time users feel comfortable transacting online. Book With Zero Payment is in line with MakeMyTrip’s vision of taking a differentiated tech-led approach to solving real issues travelers face. The company’s latest campaign — comprising two brand films — featuring Bollywood actors Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt — to build on the newly launched feature.
Pilgrim city Puri in the east Indian state of Odisha is the most affordable tourist destination in the country, according to a survey conducted by travel booking platform Agoda. The city has an average room rate of $44. Puri is followed by Katra (Jammu & Kashmir), Manali, Gangtok, and Varanasi as the top five pocket-friendly destinations in India. “With 2023 already well underway and public holidays coming up in numerous regions, many of us are looking for a well-deserved break,” said Krishna Rathi, country director of India at Agoda. “But at the same time, with cost of living in the daily news across the globe, we’re all trying to be smart about how to spend our hard-earned cash. I’m hopeful that these Agoda findings will help travelers discover some exciting destinations and save money along the way,” he added.
As a key step in the larger digital transformation of Tata owned-Air India, the airline has migrated its core enterprise resource planning system using RISE With SAP — a tailor-made software, bundled with transformation services, business analytics, and partner expertise that helps companies complete their personalized path to the cloud. “A highly reliable, scalable modern planning system that will drive significant improvements to our operational efficiency and assist us in creating a delightful customer experience. We identified the migration of our enterprise resource planning to a modern cloud infrastructure as one of the most important steps in this transformation journey,” said Air India’s chief digital and technology officer Satya Ramaswamy. This migration is geared to have an impact on modernization across business operations of the airline.
Brij Hotels has announced the signing of Brij Atmanya, a boutique property located in Bhowali, Nainital in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand — scheduled for launch on May 15. The 12-suite property features an on-site spa, multi-recreational area, walking trails and a multi-cuisine restaurant. Located in the lake district of Kumaon, Brij Atmanya is a 25-minute drive from Nainital’s famous tourist spots — Bhimtal, Naukuchiatal and the Naini Lake. The property will be curating hyperlocal experiences for its guests, said Udit Kumar, co-founder of Brij Hotels.
Indian aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued an advisory to all airlines asking them to take action and sensitize their pilots, cabin crew and post-holders on handling unruly passengers onboard flights. The advisory comes in the wake of a London-bound Air India flight returning to Delhi airport following a mid-air brawl in which a passenger caused “physical harm” to cabin crew members. “The individual’s/airline’s responsibility for handling incidents of unruly behavior including smoking in aircraft, consumption of alcoholic beverages resulting in unruly behavior, altercations between passengers and incidents of inappropriate touching or sexual harassment by the passengers on board the aircraft during the flight have been specified under various provisions of the aircraft rules,” the advisory read.
India-based luxury hospitality brand Sayaji Hotels has launched Effotel by Sayaji in Bhopal-Hoshangabad Road in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The hotel features 63 rooms, conference halls and a business board room along with a buffet restaurant and other amenities. “Bhopal has huge business potential with numerous large and medium industries operating in and around the city. We are looking to add more hotels to our existing portfolio in Madhya Pradesh which will further cater to the needs of business and leisure travelers,” said Raoof Dhanani, managing director of Sayaji Group of Hotels. The hotel is the brand’s sixth property in the state and 22nd in the country.
Indian corporates have started buying costlier sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for flights to cut their carbon footprint left behind during globetrotting for work, a leading Indian daily reported. German airline group Lufthansa Group said 60 corporate clients in India, including Dalmia Bharat, Hindustan Book Agency and VFS Global, have invested over $153,000 towards purchase of about 2.2 lakh tonnes of fuel for their business travel with Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS). “We plan to halve our 2019 net carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and reach a carbon-neutral balance by 2050 in our operations, particularly by promoting the use of SAF,” said Gabriel Mueller, corporate responsibility manager of SWISS. Lufthansa Group has committed to a $2.7 billion sustainable fuel purchase in the next three years for a “green” fleet of latest technology aircraft.
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Photo credit: EbixCash receives over 80 percent of its revenue from the payments services business. Pictured is Pushkar Lake, a sacred lake in Rajasthan, India. rawpixel.com / Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik">Freepik