This is probably my last Pulse message for 2019. It is, perhaps, a year one would like to leave behind or even forget for good reason. But rather than dwell on the downside, let us consider that, despite the setbacks, there were several achievements and milestones that people, as well as individual companies, attained during the year.
2019 was a mixed bag more biased towards calamity, most of which was caused by external factors beyond our control. The year started with the financial collapse of Jet Airways, India’s largest full service airline, which resulted in sharply higher airfares. Naturally, this had a cascading effect on the entire travel industry resulting in loss of revenue for TCIL, SOTC and TCI. Following this were the terror attacks in Colombo, Sri Lanka, that crippled the tourism Industry of the island. The disturbances in Hong Kong have impacted the outbound business at Kuoni Hong Kong. Added to this were several natural disasters such as earth quakes/volcanic eruptions in Bali. The financial collapse of Cox & Kings- a competitor in India, and a vendor to Asian Trails and ATM, followed by the perceived economic slowdown in China and India, impacted both our outbound businesses, as well as our Destination Management businesses. Lastly, the financial collapse of Thomas Cook PLC in the UK, although we have no relationship at all with the company now, affected the erstwhile share holder in Thomas Cook India. That is a long list, and I am not even sure that I have covered everything!
Despite this, we have had many positive factors on our side. At the Group level, SOTC celebrated 70 years, Luxe Asia 10 years, and Asian Trails 20 years. At the same time we bid farewell to Quess Corp, as they are spun off from the Group. I quote Prem Watsa– Thomas Cook India successfully nurtured the company, and we wish the organization all the very best. Many staff achieved important personal milestones too, such as completing 5/10/20 and 30 years in the Group Companies. Several of our colleagues got married, gave birth to a child or found partners.
We welcomed DEI into the family in 2019. DEI, while not actually being a travel business, is closely associated with the travel industry in many ways through various theme parks, and resorts around the world. K.S Ramakrishnan and Sanga Ramakrishnan, the founders of DEI are unique in that they are a husband and wife team. They are successful entrepreneurs, who have built DEI into a very successful business. I hope we will again feature a full article on DEI soon.
I am a strong believer in the fact that every event, positive or negative, offers an opportunity to keep up our momentum, onward and upward. Together, we should capitalize on that, and prove that the indomitable spirit of Thomas Cook India will enable us to face the challenges ahead, and turn them into opportunities. With your support, I know we can do this.