Considered one of the major growth drivers of the Indian economy, the travel and tourism industry adds significantly to the country’s GDP. Further, it plays a vital role in creating massive job opportunities directly or indirectly, a reason enough to be in the limelight of growth always. However, the 26/11 terror strikes and a slowing economy have hit the industry quite a bit. It is in times like these that the significance of travel publications has come to the fore in giving the push.
An increasing number of B2C publication titles are being launched every now and then. B2B travel publications, too, are making rapid strides. The last five years have seen the growth of trade publications in this segment at multiple levels via print and web publications, besides the events route. exchange4media takes an indepth look at the current space and the players that make a difference.
The Print Publications
Some of the leading print publications dealing with the travel trade include ‘Cross Section Publishing’, ‘Durgadas Publications’, ‘The Express Group’, and ‘Saffron Media’.
Cross Section Publishing, the leading player in this domain, has more than 30 years of experience in the field of travel and tourism. The group publishes a number of magazines on travel such as ‘Travel Trends Today (T3)’, ‘Go Now’, and ‘India Travel Planner’, among others.
Durgadas Publications, which is one of the oldest publishing houses, claims to offer complete solutions and guide for one’s travel needs. The company publishes various magazines in this domain such as ‘Trav Talk India’, ‘A Indian Journey’, ‘Travel Hour’, and ‘Tashi Delek’.
The Express Group, under its division Business Publications Division (BPD), got into the travel industry B2B publication space in 1999 with ‘Express Travel & Tourism’. It evolved into ‘Express TravelWorld’ in December 2005. The magazine is dedicated to the travel trade industry and provides full-fledged information on the travel world. Reema Sisodia, Editor, Express Travelworld, said, “The Express Group analysed the growing demand of this segment and realised there was a definite need for a high quality and unbiased reportage in the field of travel and tourism as this fraternity was seeking news and information and a credible platform to voice their opinion.”
‘Travel Biz Monitor’, a new entrant in this domain, is published by Saffron Media Pvt Ltd. The publication was launched in June 2007.
The web portals are known as a cyber meeting point for all industry stakeholders. In the web segment, B2B travel publications are completely vacant for new entrants. There are a few websites currently active in the market, but most are supported by their print publications, for example, expresstravelworld.com, traveltrendstoday.com, etc. These websites are available as an extension of their print publications as well as provide the news and trends on this domain.
Apart from these, there are a few websites like travelbizmoniter.com, which provide complete information on the travel trade industry. The website features news from all over India and the Asia Pacific across all verticals of the travel and tourism industry on an hourly basis.
Sheldon Santwan, Editor, Travel Biz Monitor, pointed out, “The online medium is the next big thing in the travel industry and we are extremely bullish on the potential of the Internet to further this brand. We are already very active in the online space and feel that this is the next big opportunity with more and more travel options becoming web-enabled.”
The Revenue Pool
The publications business generates their revenues through tour operators, airlines, state tourism boards, travel trade associations, hotels, travel technology players, global distribution systems (GDS), destination-marketing companies and all verticals of the travel industry.
The industry organises numerous events, conferences and trade shows throughout the year. These events provide a platform for business expansion and meeting new clients.
A quick look at some of the events in 2009:
Express Travelworld’s Reema Sisodia said, “Though growth may be slow, it is steady and strong. The travel and tourism industry is evolving at every stage. Increasing number of international tourism boards are venturing into the Indian market. Domestic tourism boards are waking up to the importance of tourism marketing and promotions. Technology service providers are gaining interest in the field and are seeking business liaisons.”
According to Travel Biz Monitor’s Sheldon Santwan, “The B2B travel industry should do well if it recovers and records the kind of growth seen over the last five years. If it recovers soon, it should grow by 20 per cent per annum.”
Sisodia noted, “The online travel business and the LCC segment in aviation have given a new dimension to the industry. Airport and infrastructure development plans are only going to increase in the future, hence there is great scope for reporting and information sharing and analysis to be provided to the readers in the coming years.”