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Thomas Cook seeks new avenues for growth

After a difficult year, Thomas Cook India, better known for its foreign exchange and travel-related financial services, is expanding globally, seeking new avenues in medical tourism and introducing a luxury train.

business Updated: Nov 09, 2009 21:54 IST
Rachit Vats

After a difficult year, Thomas Cook India, better known for its foreign exchange and travel-related financial services, is expanding globally, seeking new avenues in medical tourism and introducing a luxury train.

Seeing a demand for rail holidays from Europe and Japan, Travel Corporation (India), a subsidiary of Thomas Cook India plans to launch a luxury train from November 18. The service is being rolled out in collaboration with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).

Called the Indian Maharaja-Deccan Odyssey, it will be the country’s first privately-operated luxury tourist train. The train will run on a seven night-eight day trip from Mumbai to Delhi. Tourists will pay anything between $525 (Rs 24,150) and $1,000(Rs 46,000) per person per night.

Madhavan Menon, Managing Director, Thomas Cook India, said business sunk by as much as 60 per cent in volumes after last year’s downturn.

“During this period we rationalized and saw the need to grow the business. As a result, besides organic expansion of our core business we are looking at newer avenues,” he said.

At least 70 per cent of company’s revenues come from its core business – foreing exchange services.

Now, the company is expanding beyond 52 cities to smaller towns such as Bathinda, Kolhapur, Trichy and Gangtok, with 22 such places to be covered from this month.

The company is also opening branches at Osaka in Japan and San Francisco in the US in addition to its current six overseas branches.

In a bid to gain from medical tourism, it is in talks with India’s leading hospital chains to set up foreign exchange outlets within various hospitals. It has already set up a few in units run by Wockhardt, Fortis, Escorts, Apollo and Jindal hospitals.

Thomas Cook India is also looking at malls as new trade points for tickets, hotels, holiday products, and foreign
currency.