Starting a travel agency in india 2-3 years back was like joining a Country Club where you would need to know people or worked with people who were members to get in. Country club which we are talking about here is IATA which still has its own policies like
– Training to be completed to become a travel agent
– Fees for joining in etc.
It was a pre-requisite which was needed to complete before you could get a GDS like Galilieo, Amadeus installed at your place to access travel deals to offer to customers. Now first of all its important to make people understand GDS is not a technology solution for a travel agency, its a business solution as you cannot tie up with each individual airlines hence companies like galileo and amadeus negotiate comission structure with Airlines,Hotels etc and pass on buck to agent. Now in india what these companies have done is made compulsary for a travel agent to be offered services to be member of IATA (hence the term used as country club).
But past couple of months its been interesting to look how non- IATA travel agents have been growing and volume of travel e-commerce transactions is consituted by them. With advent of low cost airlines and their decision not to be part of any GDS (code of conduct for all low cost airlines ask them to do so) its become easier for agents to just register with them directly by depositing small cash amount of 25,000 INR and get discounts directly. As india does not have large number of airlines and travel agents based on their location and depending/selling one airline more than others. Its interesting to see how GDS has been bypassed completely.
Online travel agents are also trying to fill the gap by becoming a GDS in themselves once they have created substantial customer base by themselves to negotiate good pricing structure from these low cost airlines. So if you wish to start a travel agency just have a look at following check list
– Money deposited with 2 low cost airlines
– If you got more money than get Indian Airlines. Trust me one of the most easiest to sell as people ask for it.
Update 2nd Jan 2007:
Thanks to all people for posting feedback. But the idea of the post is Travel Agents need in india. Keeping in mind everyone is talking about domestic ticketing volumes and new low cost airlines in india not interested nor part till day of GDS systems available. Its possible for agents to survive without being part of the GDS on offer today. Even big travel portals are not concerned on being dependent on GDS and they are trying to make their systems directly integrate with airline systems to get share of domestic ticketing volumes. So though you may right in terms of international travel booking i know companies personally doing volumes on domestic airlines and servicing clients locally without being part of GDS.