Outbound tourism will be our initial focus

Written by Moumita Chakrabarti | Updated: Mar 31 2008, 03:49am hrs
Henrik Kjellberg, President, Expedia Asia Pacific

Like in many other sectors, India is being wooed in the travel and tourism trade too. And among its long line of suitors is Henrik Kjellberg, president, Expedia, Asia Pacific, who was in India recently to launch the companys website, expedia.co.in. Apart from the website, Expedia would now have a centre in India that would provide guidance to travellers going abroad either for business or leisure.

Through the website, you can now plan vacations, book tickets and accommodation. There are a selection of nearly 80,000 hotels that would cater to your particular needs. You can also plan your activities in advance as you would find a list of over 3,000 destination activities and attractions across the globe listed in the website.

A much-seasoned travel professional, Kjellberg said: There has been a boom in outbound tourism from India. It has good number of tourists who travel for various reasons business, leisure and medical. But ironically, though Kjellberg has been to India several times, he hasnt had the time ever to take in the countrys special sights and sounds. So far he has just been able to fit in a leisurely walks through the streets of Mumbai where he watched children playing cricket on the streets. Monuments and scenic beauty of the country are yet to be explored. I havent even seen the Taj Mahal yet! he regrets.

And whats the plan of action as far as making inroads into the Indian market is concerned Kjellberg said Expedia would initially concentrate on out-bound tourism. But in-bound tourism is not off the cards either. India is a good market for travel and tourism. Your huge population of 1.2 billion has a growing middle class which has a fascination for travel and deep pockets to spend on leisure activities.

Commenting on the infrastructure, the president also said: With the renovation of airports in Delhi and Mumbai, travelling to India would be a good experience. Today it is difficult to get to India. There are fewer number of flights available to this destination. In comparison, I think Hong Kong is moving in the right direction.

Distinguishing expedia.co.in from the plethora of other online travel agencies, Kjellberg said: Its ultimately about building trust with the consumers, not just technologically, but by also having a multi-lingual call centre that would provide a lot of information. We are the only ones who operate in the leisure space globally and we have a number of people in the corporate segment. Most people in the leisure space are regional or national and that gives us an edge over the others.

This apart, the president also hinted that with Expedia coming to India, there would also be a lot of employment opportunities for Indians. Pointing out that there is already a group of Indians working for the company here, he said what they are looking out for is people who are proficient in English so that they can add to the content of the website.

So next time you want to travel to any part of the globe, take a chance. Click on expedia.co.in. They have 11 years of experience in the travel business to back them up and you...