5 October 2006

Travelocity sets its eyes on India....

US-based internet travel service provider Travelocity has acquired Asian travel portal Zuji for $34 million. Zuji has presence in Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan. Following the acquisition, Travelocity intends to expand its presence into China and India.

"This acquisition, coupled with our acquisitions in Europe last year, demonstrates how we are continuing to expand the Travelocity network globally,” Travelocity CEO Michelle Peluso has been quoted in the press release.

The competition in Indian online travel business is getting hot. And why it should not be! Norwest Capital Partners (one of the investors in the recently announced Yatra Online) estimates that the Travel Industry is worth about 40 Billion USD in India.With MakeMyTrip and Indiatimes having a headstart in the business, this is a space to watch out for.

Travelocity, which announced its plans for India in May this year, is currently developing its product offering and building its India management team to offer Indian travellers access to a customised version of the international Travelocity online travel site.

According to Travelocity, selecting an experienced, local managing director was a key piece to the puzzle of building a winning travel business in India and offering Indian travellers a best in class product.

The world’s largest online travel portal Travelocity has decided to open shop in India. The new Travelocity India website is expected to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year and will be built on the technology foundations of Zuji, a Singapore-based company acquired by Travelocity earlier this year.

“The future of travel bookings in India is online. Just as we have seen the trend towards online travel bookings grow rapidly in the US, and now in parts of Asia, we absolutely believe that the global trend to book travel online has begun to ‘find its feet’ in India,” Zuji CEO has been quoted by EyeforTravel as saying.

Travelocity has appointed Himanshu Singh as managing director of its India operation. In his new role Himanshu will be responsible for leading the Travelocity India strategy and team, including marketing, supplier relations, customer service and B2B opportunities.

Himanshu is part of the executive team at ZUJI, Travelocity's wholly owned operation in Asia Pacific, and a leading online travel company in the Asia Pacific region.

Prior to joining Travelocity, Himanshu worked as group head of global distribution and electronic sales and marketing at Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. He had also stints with companies including Hotel Leela Venture and Traveljini.com

ps: Donald Trump continues his self obsession, and launches GoTrump.com (a website in association with Travelocity), to help users "travel trump style"! Its worth a look!

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