Sify Ltd has forayed into the fast growing online travel business by acquiring Globe Travels, an online agency issuing e-tickets in the India-US travel space. In a country with low PC penetration, Sify is particularly well-placed with 3,300 iWay cyber cafes across 153 cities from which more than a million people accessed the Internet in the last quarter.
Commenting on the acquisition, R Ramaraj, CEO, Sify Ltd, said, “This strategic acquisition brings into our fold fast growing services that enhance our online offerings to customers, and opens up new sources of revenue. We will also have the benefit of having Herman Noronha, CEO, Globe Travels, on board along with his team, who will add value with their domain expertise.”
Herman Noronha, CEO, Globe Travels, said, “We are delighted to be a part of the Sify online services network. We decided to partner with Sify, after much deliberation, given the company’s vision, range of online services, extensive reach across India and its technological capabilities.”
With over 20 years of travel industry experience in both India and the US, Noronha founded Globe Travels in the US in 1993, and built a leading and profitable enterprise in the travel business focused on the US-India market. In India, Globe Travels has a presence in air ticketing with e-ticketing and the capability to handle Global Distribution System (GDS) as well.
Surya Mantha, Senior Vice-President, Portals, Sify, said, “The addition of a travel portal is in line with our strategy of providing end-to-end services to Sify users. We believe we are well positioned to emerge as leading player in the online travel space.”
The potential for the growth of travel and ticketing arrangements online in India cannot be underscored. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), the number of Indian Internet users is slated to grow from the current 38.5 million to over 100 million by 2007-08. As Internet users grow, the number of people making travel arrangements online is expected to increase substantially in future. IAMAI has projected a total of $262 million in online transactions for 2005-06, of which 57.85 per cent or $152 million is expected in the travel and travel related sectors. Airline ticket sales online are expected to account for $88 million, railway ticket sales will follow with $63 million. The growth of online sales of air tickets has been given a further impetus by the IATA deadline of December 7, 2006 for 100 per cent online ticketing in India, with the airlines promoting online tickets with special fares and benefits, as well as alliances.