Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
TUI India, a part of TUI Travel PLC, will be opening its retail stores in Ahmedabad by March end, followed by Hyderabad and Chennai by July or August end. These stores will be part of the first phase of their aggressive expansion plan pan India. As part of this phase, they recently opened their sixth retail store in Mumbai with five stores already present in Delhi NCR region. In phase two, the company is looking at opening their retail stores in Tier II and III cities of India like – Lucknow, Jaipur, Agra, Bhubaneswar, Indore to name a few – by end of 2015. Their rapid expansion plan is part of their strategy to increase their B2C presence in the country through retail outlets.
Speaking on their expansion plan for Bengaluru, Vishal Sinha, chief operating officer, TUI India stated, “The reason why we aren’t opening in Bengaluru is because presently 30 per cent of our calls from the call centres are from Bengaluru. This is how we communicate with our customers. It is not about having a retail outlet or a B2B presence but it is through various channels that we communicate with our customers, to build up the brand so that people think about us when they think of a holiday.”
Regarding growth in Indian outbound travel, Jeannette Linfoot, director of tour operations – new markets, TUI Travel PLC opined, “Though there is growth in both outbound and domestic travel, there is a shift towards outbound travel in India. Our advance booking from India is growing at a rate of 20 per cent year- on-year.”