Piyush Tiwari joined Director (Commercial and Marketing) of Indian Tourism Development Corporation Limited (ITDC), a Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) under Ministry of Tourism on 31st July, 2015. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering & Master’s Degree in Sociology.
In recently concluded ITB Berlin 2016 convention Mr. Tiwari was conferred with PATWA International Award 2016 for the ‘Best Professional in Business Development Tourism’ – presented by Taleb D Refai, Secretary General United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
- Tell us about ITDC? About your products and services?
Incorporated in 1966 with a mandate to develop and expand tourism infrastructure, India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) is the only Public Sector Undertaking under administrative control of Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India. Ever since its inception, ITDC has played a key role in development of tourism infrastructure in the country. Its expertise extends to offering complete hospitality, travel and tourism solutions in the areas of accommodation, catering, conference and convention facilities, ticketing, transportation and travel, hospitality education and training, event management, tourism infrastructure and consultancy etc.
ITDC completed a glorious meaningful and highly satisfying journey of Fifty Years of its existence on 1st of October 2016 and celebrated its “Golden Jubilee” function in the month of October 2016 in a grand way.
Over a period of time ITDC has emerged as a multi tasking, multi-disciplinary organization offering One Stop Solution for various travel & tourism related services to corporate clients as well as individuals through the following divisions-
- Ashok Group of Hotels – with a present network of 8 owned hotels, 5 joint ventures, 2 managed properties and 1 restaurant.
- Ashok Tours & Travel Division (ATT) – Air Ticketing ,Travels, Tours and Cargo handling services through 9 transport units
- Ashok International Trade Division (AITD) – 9 Duty Free Shops at airports/seaports
- Ashok Events & Creative Division (AE) – Event management, Organizing Professional Conferences, Events, meetings and printing publicity material
- Ashok Sound & Light Division (SEL) – Entertainment and Tourism promotion by mounting Sound & Light Shows in different parts of country.
- Ashok Consultancy & Engineering Services (ACES) – Undertaking different kinds of engineering and consultancy works for various tourism related projects throughout the country.
- Ashok Institute of Hospitality and Tourism Management (AIH&TM) – Hospitality and Tourism related education in collaboration with Kurukshetra University, NCHMCT and various Skill Development Programs
- Catering Units- Through 3 catering outlets at Vigyan Bhawan, Hyderabad House and Western Court.
ITDC has played a committed and pivotal social role in the development of tourism infrastructure in backward areas, thereby trying to promote regional balance. It has also been a pioneer in organizing Sound and Light shows in the country with its first ever show in Red Fort 45 years ago and first multi media show at Old Fort in Delhi. In addition shows at Ross Island, Andaman & Nicobar, Shilpgram in Deoghar Jharkhand, Dhauli in Bhubaneswar Odisha are some other SEL shows mounted by ITDC.
- What is geographical range of your various business segments?
Even though Geographical boundaries have become redundant in present e-age, ATT division of ITDC has a pan India presence at 12 destinations (New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai Aurangabad, Patna, Ranchi, Varanasi, Guwahati, Kolkata) to cater to the various needs of the Travellers through air ticketing, transport, customized packages, pre and post conference tours, off season discount packages, tailor- made packages, city sightseeing tours etc.
ITDC operates eight owned hotels at Delhi (3), Jammu, Jaipur, Mysore, Patna and Bhubaneswar. In addition it operates five JV Hotels at Guwahati, Ita Nagar, Ranchi, Pondicherry and Bhopal apart from managing a forest lodge at Bharatpur.
- What do you feel is the biggest challenge faced by the tourism industry in India?
The Indian tourism industry has been one of the most emerging sectors in the country on the back of new reforms, policies and growing national and international dialogues lately. It offers an array of niche products- medical, sports, wellness, MICE, eco-tourism, rural, adventure, film and religious tourism-to name a few. But yes, there are few issues troubling the players from the tourism industry. Lack of adequate infrastructure is considered to be the Achilles’ heel among the tourism players. While some of the destinations like NCR (including Delhi), Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jaipur etc are having surplus room inventory ,many other famous tourist destinations still lack quality accommodation acceptable to international tourists. Also, inadequate talent pool and high attrition rates are the other teething problems in the tourism and hospitality industry. Our efforts are towards constantly exceeding the industry norms of the Tourism & Hospitality sector at the same time maintaining and fulfilling our social responsibility as a Public Sector Undertaking. At ITDC, our success as a growing company is directly tied to the innovative and constantly evolving culture that we have effortlessly maintained.
- As a state owned company, what do you feel are the challenges – advantages or disadvantages, vis-à-vis major private players?
ITDC offers a wide spectrum of hospitality, travel and tourism related services. The challenge here is to maintain a healthy equilibrium between all divisions at the same time keeping up with ever-growing demands and expectations of our stakeholders. We strive hard to develop complete solutions across sectors and continue to be a prominent player- be it in hospitality, travel and tour, entertainment, creative or event management. As an organization, the biggest challenge however, is to manage a large number of functional and representative bodies which are directly or indirectly a part of the organization.
ITDC, time and again has effectively showcased its competency in not only managing these units/bodies but taking everyone along towards achieving greater heights. Another challenge is the scale at which we operate. ITDC is not an organization limited to one or two states or businesses but it spreads across different business verticals, different sectors and considerably larger geography, the demands of consumers and clientele varies accordingly. This requires a far-reaching and strategic approach to meet and fulfil everyone’s expectations to which we have proved ourselves positively time and again as required. To consolidate our presence in our target segment specific strategies are being chalked out for different verticals. To deal with the competitive environment we are marketing more aggressively than ever. Dynamic pricing, long term tie ups with targeted segment are some of the marketing steps which have been initiated.
Last but not the least as a responsible public sector undertaking, under Ministry of Tourism Govt of India, as well as being a listed company we have to take care of our commercial interests in a very disciplined manner without losing focus on our social responsibility.
- What is the role of technology and big-data in your business?
Technology plays an important role in the hospitality and tourism industry. Both customers and businesses can benefit from advances in communication, reservations and guest services systems. Technology allows continuous communication and streamlines the guest experience, from reservation to checkout. In modern world there is no other way but to be IT enabled to match the expectations of customers as well as to make our operations and services more efficient and competitive.
- Which product segment is the highest revenue earner for your company?
All our verticals are performing well however Duty free shops under AITD, Hotel the Ashok , Ticketing and Travels division ATT and Event management division are the major contributor to the revenue of the corporation.
- What are the courses that ITDC’ Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management training institute provides? How are they placed after graduation?
Ashok Institute of Hospitality & Tourism Management offers a wide range of courses in hospitality trades.
- 03 Years B.Sc. Degree course in Hospitality & Hotel Administration (H&HA) affiliated to National Council for Hotel Management & Catering Technology (NCHMCT). Of Seats=60 each year
- One Year Diploma Course in various hospitality trades viz. Food Production, Bakery & Confectionary, Food & Beverage Service, Front Office, Housekeeping in association with NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling, under Ministry of HRD, Govt of India)
- Apprenticeship training in various trades including Food Production, Bakery, Housekeeping, Front Office etc. through Regional Directorate of Apprenticeship Training (RDAT,) under Ministry of Labour & Employment.
- One Year residential training program in hospitality trades for the students from North-East states of India sponsored by Ministry of DONER, Govt of India. Courses on offer are Travel Agency, Food production, Restaurant Operations, Receptionist.
- Skill development programs in various hospitality trades sponsored by Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India.
- Industrial Training and vocational training to the students of Hotel Management institutes.
The institute provides 100% placement assistance to the students studying in various courses at AIH&TM. Some of the passed out students are working well with various leading Hotel Chains in addition to our own The Ashok Group. As such all the courses at AIH&TM are designed and conducted to meet the needs of Hospitality Industry and cater to the requirement of various strata of the society. The students in all the courses find good placement in the hospitality industry.
- Is the “Make in India” initiative helpful for your company/industry?
Tourism after all is a sub-set of the economy. So what all of us need to do is to make India grow which in turn would ensure that everything else happens. Business Tourism and Health Tourism are two major components of present tourism and Make in India initiative plays an important role in promoting India in world tourism map for these two segments.
We are already promoting Make in India initiative as ITDC was entrusted with the task to develop and expand tourism infrastructure and promote India as tourist destination. Our all properties/ products are a gracious blend of traditional courtesy and modern facilities with the ambience that include India’s ancient culture, rich heritage and cuisine.
- Tell us more about the ITDC Duty Free Shops. How many more are planned across India?
Duty free shop has been aligned with ITDC’s aim of providing international travellers and shoppers with an incredible shopping experience. Shoppers can select from a wide range of products including world’s best-known spirits, wines, top selling brands of cigarettes and excellent arrays of Indian products such as tribal handicrafts, wide assortment of Teas and much more at the most competitive prices.
ITDC is the pioneer of Duty Free shopping in country and one of the first Duty Free operators to have realized the importance and potential of this business at seaports in the country. Today, ITDC runs Duty Free Shops at Coimbatore International Airport and at major seaports including Kolkata, Haldia, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Mangalore, Mumbai and Goa.
- What is your vision for your company, both in the near term (over the rest of 2016) and over the long term (the next 4 years or so)?
Major inroads of ITDC have been made in the areas of accommodation, catering, transport and travel, conference and convention facilities, duty free shopping, entertainment, hospitality education and training, event management, publicity and consultancy services.
Our services and properties across country have continued to bring laurels to the organization at national and international platforms, reiterating our success and expertise that ITDC possess across multiple sectors. However with the changing business scenario and market dynamics we need to focus more on certain specific activities like travels & ticketing (ATT) ,Duty Free Shops (AITD) ,Conferences and MICE business (Events division) and our Education/skill development programs (AIHTM) as immense potential lies untapped in these areas.
We also need to infuse young blood into the corporation under the guidance of extremely experienced and dedicated professionals of ITDC who have helped ITDC complete 50 years of a glorious and satisfying journey.
After 50 years of successful global journey, ITDC will continue to strive for greater excellence in its strategic business units through professionalism, transparency and value for money based customer focused services; to be future ready in an ever-changing and evolving dynamic global tourism scenario.
“ITDC is the pioneer of Duty Free shopping” – Piyush Tiwari – ITDC