The Indian economy is very strong and middle-class disposable incomes have been rising very fast. Airline capacity has risen sharply. And, thanks to the relaxation of exchange controls, Indians are allowed to take up to US$ 10,000 per annum abroad for leisure trips. India’s large diaspora and growing openness to the outside world has also stimulated foreign travel, especially among the younger generations.
First of all, take us through the formative years of Think STRAWBERRIES. When was it set up? Who were the people behind it?
Think Strawberries was founded with the combined vision and idea of its co-founder, Amit Kishore and a board of international travel experts – to create a new kind of enterprise; one dedicated solely to be a market and thought leader in the travel representation business. Over the last decade, digital, social, and mobile technologies have changed how people travel. The result of this transformation is a new era in the travel representation business, where Think Strawberries emphasises on sales combined with twin-pronged strategies of marketing, sales and PR.
What were the objectives of setting up a representation agency? There were already plenty of them in the market, how is THINK STRAWBERRIES different?
Think Strawberries is a uniquely positioned, dynamic venture of some of the finest, most high profile travel professionals, along with a talent pool of handpicked senior achievers from the top corporates. Celebrating its anniversary recently, the company’s aim is to provide a differentiated edge, aligned to cross-industry best practices; and we currently are the only 360-degree travel representation company with offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and the MENA region. Apart from sales and marketing services, the company offers PR and media, in-house design, digital, communication and creative services; travel trade events and exhibitions, and overall brand development services.
What is your current portfolio? In your current portfolio, as you handle certain representation, what is your understanding of the Indian outbound?
TAIWAN TOURISM BUREAU: Lying off the coast of East Asia and a mere six-hour flight from India, Taiwan is a beautiful, friendly island that never fails to impress. The capital, Taipei, is a modern and hospitable city that preserves its traditional Chinese culture while providing all the modern amenities. In Taipei, visitors find it easy to get around, bask in the pleasant climate, and savour all kinds of Chinese and international cuisine – including authentic Indian food!
FARH LEISURE: Farah Leisure facilitates management and operation of the entertainment parks on Yas Island – Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, world’s first Ferrari-branded and largest indoor theme park located on the Yas Island housing the world’s fastest roller coaster–Formula Rossa.
YAS ISLAND: Yas Island habitats some of the biggest attractions and entertainment venues in Abu Dhabi. It’s home to some of UAE’s most exciting attractions, racing events, concerts, luxury hotels and much more.
JORDAN TOURISM BOARD: Jordan is a stunning combination of nature, history, food, religious and Biblical sites and is important for those interested in holy land pilgrimage and historical sites of relevance. An extremely peaceful, stable and progressive nation, Jordan enjoys a temperate and warm climate all around the year. Float into smooth nothingness in the Dead Sea; gasp in amazement in Petra; taste the delectable cuisine in its capital city Amman or go dune bashing in Wadi Rum — Jordan will capture all your senses as it is the perfect destination for MICE, a religious pilgrimage, honeymoon or a family holiday, thanks to its superior quality hotels, modern infrastructure and varied activities.
MALDIVES MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS CORPORATION: Welcome to the sunny side of life — Maldives — where the sands are white as the smiles of the locals, where fish swim happily in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where the weather is a dream, and the deep rays of the sun wait to engulf you their arms.
LEGACY GROUP: Spread across Southern Africa, the Legacy Group has a portfolio of three/four and five star hotels and resorts. The chain offers hotel options in South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia, Ghana and Madagascar.
CORUNDUM TOURS: Corundum Tours opened in 2006, as a small and trustworthy company, but big enough to make a name for itself in the highly competitive DMC market in South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa; the company’s expertise lies in the cradle of Southern Africa.
What are some key trends of 2016? How do you envisage outbound movement unfolding in the next few months?
2016 is poised to be an exciting time for the Indian outbound market. The India success story is well-documented and has become one of the world’s fastest-growing outbound travel markets. Outbound trips are on the rise and continue to increase on a positive scale as many factors are coming together to push up this number. The Indian economy is very strong and middle-class disposable incomes have been rising very fast. Airline capacity has risen sharply. And, thanks to the relaxation of exchange controls, Indians are allowed to take up to US$ 10,000 per annum abroad for leisure trips. India’s large diaspora and growing openness to the outside world has also stimulated foreign travel, especially among the younger generations. More Indian students are studying in other countries than those of any other nationality, except perhaps China.