SRI Lankan conglomerate, Expolanka Holdings, has acquired a 50 per cent stake and full control of Mumbai-based Akquasun Holidays, which is said to be a destination management network that specialises in both inbound and outbound tourism.
Akquasun has offices in 11 destinations including the Maldives, Hong Kong, China, South Africa, Russia and the US, and these work closely with travel agents, tour operators and event specialists in facilitating arrivals.
Chaminda Dias, executive director at Luxe Asia, an inbound tourism company which is part of Expolanka, said the acquisition would take Akquasun ‚Äúto the next level‚ÄĚ.
He said: ‚ÄúWe (Expolanka) plan to set up new sales teams in the established overseas offices to attract clients to (destinations) such as the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, etc.”
Dias explained that prior to the acquisition, Akquasun handled mostly Indian outbound traffic to destinations where it has operations. Now, with Expolanka‚Äôs backing, Akquasun will increasingly canvass for business in markets such as Russia and China.
‚Äú(Akquasun) was also involved in sending (sizable) MICE (groups) to Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Macau. We hope to replicate this Indian model with the new and enhanced operations in Russia, China and the Midde East, and encourage MICE travellers (from these markets) to visit (destinations such as) Sri Lanka and the Maldives,” he added.
Expolanka‚Äôs ultimate goal is to transform Akquasun into a US$100 million (annual turnover) company in the next few years, from US$30-40 million currently.
‚ÄúWe want to grow the company‚Äôs outbound market share to 10 per cent, up from its current three to four per cent share in countries that Indians are visiting,‚ÄĚ Dias said, adding that the company accounts for some 7,000 Indian visitors per annum to Mauritius, making it the second largest operator in that market.