SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
Akbar Holidays, that is a part of Akbar Travels, has started a new initiative of inbound tours. Another new focus area is medical tourism that the company provides from end to end. “We service the client from the time he comes to India till he leaves the country. According to the budget of the client we get the hospital stay organised. If it is not a serious ailment then we also attach sightseeing and hotel stay,” said Benazir Nazar, CEO, Akbar Holidays.
For medical tourism the company is looking at Africa (in particular Kenya) and the UAE. Akbar Holidays has tied up with an insurance agency in Kenya and is are planning to tie up with Kenyan Airways. “We’ve tied up with certain hospitals in India for instance, the Apollo Group, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Jaslok Hospital, and Prince Aly Khan Hospital in Mumbai for the budget category. Once the report comes in from the patient we check with the hospitals and specialists what they would be charging and inform the patient,” she said.
Apart from FIT leisure travel, the company has a strong focus on corporate clientele and sends large incentive groups to Singapore, Thailand, and of recent Europe. MICE constitutes 60 per cent of the company’s business of which 20 per cent is domestic and the rest is outbound. “With corporate groups it does not only end at hotels and sightseeing but also involves events – ranging from outbound activities to themed parties,” stated Nazar, adding that the company does not deny a query to even a place like Lonavala, and also promotes small properties. “If an organisation wants to do even a day meeting outside we organise the meals, the theme, a trainer for outbound activities.”
Regarding the changing trends in the MICE segment Nazar pointed out that even small and medium sized companies have started travelling more. “People are now looking out to new destinations like Argentina and Maldives. Currently we are doing a group tour to Norway. Even in the domestic market new places are being looked at, for instance Kashmir. We are in fact doing two groups to Kashmir,” she said.
Akbar Holidays has 100 team members with presence across India. Every Akbar Travels office has the presence of a Akbar Holidays team. Nazar acknowledges that the brand name rests on the goodwill that her father has created in 35-40 years. “As an old player there is a lot of trust associated with the name. It makes it easier for us to penetrate the market with the name and at the same time value the trust that people hold. My father has always created the feeling around Akbar Travels that we’ll give the lowest prices. I have to maintain the lowest price as well as quality and services,” said Nazar. She started the company three years back, but the operations kicked off about two years ago and there has been 50 per cent growth. In the near future Nazar is also focusing on fixed departures. “We are looking at the market and doing a market study. A trial run is being done of a small group to Europe in April 2013,” she revealed.