Skift Take

Catch up on the latest travel headlines out of India on this week’s podcast.

Skift India Travel Podcast

Skift Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia is joined by business leaders, and experts from throughout the industry and Skift’s newsroom, to explore the challenges, opportunities, and trends shaping the Indian travel industry.

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From TBO Tek’s IPO launch and Akasa Air’s international network to the future of Vistara’s loyalty program post its merger with Air India, join Skift Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia and India Reporter Bulbul Dhawan as they discuss some of the biggest headlines from India.

Key Points

TBO Tek IPO: Travel distribution company TBO Tek’s IPO was a success and its subsequent stock exchange listing saw positive sentiments from investors in the first week, as the company plans to use the funds for acquisitions.

Air India-Vistara Merger: As Tata group proceeds towards the merger of Air India and Vistara with the organizational structure of the merged entity already in place and employees being assessed for their future roles, details regarding the future of Vistara’s loyalty program have been shared.

Visa-Free Destinations for Indians: With the world realizing the spending power of Indian travelers, Thailand and Sri Lanka have extended their visa waivers for Indian passport holders to make travel to these destinations easier and more lucrative.

Episode Summary

TBO Tek launched its IPO was launched this month, and listed on the Indian stock exchanges last week. Bhutia shares that the company raised about $180 million in the IPO subscriptions. Of this funding, the company plans to allocate about $4.8 million for strategic acquisitions and investments. Dhawan speaks about IPO trends in the tourism industry in India and what the positive sentiment for TBO Tek indicates for travel industry as a whole.

Tata group’s low-cost airline Air India Express recently grappled with operational challenges, as its cabin crew went on mass sick leaves leading to flight delays and cancellations. The cabin crew was protesting against changes in compensation structure as well as unequal treatment of employees ahead of the airline’s merger with AIX Connect. The protests came shortly after Vistara pilots protested against the changes in their payment structure to align it with Air India’s policy.

Bhutia and Dhawan details about the progress of the Air India-Vistara merger, as details are emerging slowly. Internally, the companies have begun assessment of employees to fix their roles and responsibilities, and have finalized the organizational structure. Vistara has also shared details about how its loyalty program and Club Vistara benefits will be migrated into Air India’s Flying Rewards program.

Akasa Air announced its expansion to its second international destination – Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The expansion took place in less than two years of operations, and with this, the airline is operating in 24 cities, including Jeddah and Doha in Qatar. Dhawan attributes this rapid growth to an opportune time in the industry, while its on-time performance and low cost are positive factors that attract customers.

They also discuss the visa waiver extensions granted to Indian citizens by Thailand and Sri Lanka. India is an important source market for both of these countries. Easing visa restrictions is an effective measure to attract the last-minute India travelers by both of these cost-effective, short-haul destinations.


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Tags: akasa air, coronavirus recovery, india podcast, skift podcast

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