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'I strongly believe in the traditional way of doing business'

In the second part of the interview, M. C. Mani talks about market fluctuations and challenges faced by DMCs, his vision for the future and his advice to young professionals entering the travel business. Market influences Devaluation of currency in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, especially Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, has affected the influx of tourists in several countries, including the UAE and Dubai in particular, which is very popular with visitors from Russia and other CIS states. As a result, Park Tourism Services LLC and Royal Gulf Tourism, which are among the biggest DMCs catering to this segment, have also experienced the pinch. However, it’s Mani’s forward-thinking approach that has steered the companies into new markets. “Sixty per cent of our customers were from the CIS countries. But in a way we knew this was coming, so we started looking at other markets. We are targeting ex-Yugoslavian countries, India, Philippines, the UK and very recently, Iran. So I hope this will replace the loss. Meanwhile, we don’t intend to give up on the CIS markets and will continue to focus on Russia,” he said. Mani is also planning to introduce brand new models and segments. He expects the situation to bounce back with a focus on quality tourism rather than mass tourism. Challenges and threats Online travel agents and dropping demand are just some of the other challenges that Mani sees affecting the market. However, being a staunch traditionalist he has his reservations about the online aspect of travel. “As a DMC, I strongly believe in the traditional way of doing business because as far as our markets are concerned a travel agent who will give them the right kind of advice is needed. Travellers would always need companies such as ours to guide them all the time; this provides them with a sense of security,” he says. Click on the video to know more about Mani’s vision.