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Growth of tourism in India expected to intensify competition amongst travel agencies, says Amadeus

Businesses advised to leverage technology and strategic partnerships to drive revenue and reduce costs

New Delhi, 20 July, 2010:  The establishment of strategic partnerships and the use of technology to maintain competitiveness will allow travel businesses to capitalise on a period of unprecedented growth in India's tourism industry, according to Peter Smith, Vice President of Amadeus Asia Pacific's Business Solution Group.

Speaking today at an Amadeus Power Breakfast in India, Smith said that India's travel industry had much to be optimistic about, and outlined the key opportunities and challenges for businesses.

"As the global and local economy recovers, travel agencies will increasingly look for ways to out-perform and out-manoeuvre the competition," said Smith. "Amadeus is committed to helping travel agencies get the most out of what is shaping up to be a strong year for travel and tourism in India."

Smith suggested four key areas where travel agencies should focus their attention:

Consolidation
"Mature markets like Europe and the USA have seen the consolidation of conventional travel agencies, as well as online travel agencies (OLTAs), because companies realise that 'going it alone' may not be the right strategy for survival in a highly-competitive market," said Smith "The Indian market is facing a similar situation, with an overcrowded OLTA space and a very fragmented traditional travel agency sector. The good news is that travel demand is growing at a phenomenal rate – at last count, India's domestic tourism grew by 15.5% in 2009. But India's extraordinary growth is no secret, which means we can expect competition to intensify."

Smith recommends that to survive and to capitalise on India's growth, travel agencies may need to consolidate or explore strategic partnerships with industry partners. "Remaining entrepreneurial is crucial to survival," said Smith.

Infrastructure development
"India will need to develop its infrastructure rapidly to keep pace with the growth it expects from international and domestic tourism, and with the Commonwealth Games barely three months away, India's tourism infrastructure will soon be put to the test," said Smith. "People often regard infrastructure as the 'hardware' that helps an industry to function - such as the airports, roads, seaports and rail lines. But we forget that the 'software', the technology, is equally essential."

Smith said that Amadeus is uniquely poised to offer technologies that create better, smarter systems and processes for the aviation industry, from the rebooking of flights to making airports more robust, cost-effective and efficient.

Importance of operational processes
"If there are two areas that travel agencies in India are constantly monitoring, it is the development of travel payment and human resource solutions for travel agencies," said Smith.

"Travel payment solutions is an area that is critical, because the advances in this area directly affect the revenue and profitability of travel agencies," added Smith. "Solutions like Amadeus' Hotel Store were developed to help travel agents make commission payments up-front, thus improving profitability and cash flow."

"Attracting, retaining and developing talent has always been a priority for the industry, and for Amadeus, this has never been truer today as our industry is rapidly evolving. From our perspective, in addition to providing technology, we also provide consistent and high quality training and industry forums for our partners. This type of engagement is central to our relationships with our customers, partners and the broader industry."

Lower yield and revenue
"Travel agencies are experiencing lower yields and decreased revenue, due to a variety of factors, including intensifying competition and a weakened economy in 2009. Travellers are looking for more cost-effective travel options and there is an increasing trend of commission cuts in favour of service fees, which all means less income for travel agencies.

Smith said that Amadeus could help travel agencies open new revenue streams or strengthen existing ones through customised promotions and by empowering travel agents to operate at maximum efficiency.

"The travel agents today need to harness the power of technology to differentiate their businesses from competition and make changes that will improve their bottom line, especially at this crucial juncture of market recovery. Amadeus offers a wide range of technology solutions to help our partner agencies to operate at optimum efficiency and enable them to deliver better services to their clientele and increase their productivity," said Rakesh Bansal, CEO, Amadeus India.

Notes to editors

Amadeus is the leading transaction processor and provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry.

Customer groups include
travel providers (e.g. airlines, hotels, rail, ferries, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and individual travellers).

The group operates a transaction-based business model and processed more than 670 million billable travel transactions in 2009.

Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters and marketing), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations – data processing centre) and regional offices in Miami, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Dubai. At a market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations through 72 local Amadeus Commercial Organisations covering 195 countries.

Amadeus is listed on the Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia stock exchanges and trades under the symbol "AMS.MC". For the year ended 31 December 2009, the company reported revenues of EUR 2,461 million and EBITDA of EUR 894 million. The Amadeus group employs over 9,300 employees worldwide, with 123 nationalities represented at the central offices.

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About Amadeus India

Amadeus is the chosen technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry. The company provides distribution and technology solutions to help its customers adapt, grow and succeed in the fast changing travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, railway companies, ferry lines, cruise lines, insurance companies and tour operators), travel sellers (travel agencies) and travel buyers (corporations and travellers). Amadeus operates under a transaction-based business model that offers IT solutions to virtually all players in the travel industry.

Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters & marketing), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations - data processing centre) and regional offices in Miami, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Dubai. At market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations through 72 local Amadeus Commercial Organisations covering 195 countries.

Amadeus India Private Limited was established in 1994 and is ISO 9001:2008 certified. Amadeus India's head office is located in New Delhi, with a wide network of 40 branch offices providing support to travel agents across the Indian sub-continent. Amadeus India offers agents access to more than 95% of scheduled airline seats as well as hotel rooms, insurance packages, car hire and other travel services worldwide. Amadeus' distribution system is preferred by travel agents in 172 cities across India, with over 28,676 terminal installations in more than 9,050 travel agencies.

More information about, visit the Amadeus India website: www.amadeus.in

Contact details:

Amadeus India
Corporate Communications                
Ms. Ritu Bararia    
Tel: +91 11 30613300
Fax: +91 124 4610667    
Email:rbararia@amadeus.co.in

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