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Monday, 16 April, 2018, 15 : 43 PM [IST]

Taking Consolidation to the Next Level - Sujit Nair, Founder & Group MD, Akquasun & B.A. Rahim, Group Director & CEO, Akquasun

A Commerce graduate with a Senior Management specialisation in Travel and Tourism from IATA, Sujit Nair, established a partnership with BA Rahim to come up with Akquasun Holidays, first destination management company based out of India managing destinations abroad. Sujit along with Rahim, targeted the not so easy markets like Hong Kong and Russia in the initial stages of Akquasun Group worked on bridging the gap between the Indian tour operators and these rigid destinations. Recognised as a multitasker in his team, today Nair majorly handles the digital aspects of the company i.e. online sales, promotions, marketing, etc. TravelBiz Monitor recognises Sujit for his endeavour towards restructuring the business model of a destination management company.

The two like-minded young entrepreneurs, Sujit Nair and B.A. Rahim, met each other in 2005 to come up with a company which was grown in India but served travellers in foreign lands. Together, they presented the travel trade industry a Destination Management Company (DMC) named Akquasun, which was based on the ideology of managing destinations across the globe for tour operators and travel agents. The sole aim of th e two was to become a name which Indian tour operators and agents can count on when sending their guests to destinations across the globe. Nair and Rahim, with streamlined B2B approach, initiated their business idea by becoming a consolidator for a DMC in Mauritius for the Indian market.

The two men commenced the journey of Akquasun by targeting the familiar yet niche destinations for the Indian travel trade like Hong Kong, Russia and Maldives. According to Rahim, Hong Kong and Russia did not attract many Indian travellers due to language barriers and safety issues while Mauritius and Maldives were still not very popular as they are today due to connectivity issues. Akquasun worked extensively on creating an axis and establishing the market for Indian players in these destinations, thereby overcoming the barriers of language, safety and distance in each destination step by step.

Sujit recalls that being an Indian DMC, it was a tough task to generate trust for the company which has roots in India but can efficiently handle the requirements in a foreign destination for the tour operators and travel agents. “We were self funded and entered in this market counting on the personal relationships we had with the people in the travel industry. The relationship we built with our partners over the years has been our biggest asset and has helped us perform strong year-on-year and establish ourselves as a global brand.”

Basheer Abdul Rahim, an Arts graduate, while working for a Maldivian DMC met Sujit Nair in 2005 on his trip to India and both of them together decided to venture into the Indian travel and tourism industry through Akquasun Holidays. With more than two decades of experience in the industry, Rahim along with his friend concentrated on moulding trust-based relationships, and in last 12 years both have led Akquasun Group to become one of the leading global destination management companies with offices in 18 countries today. These two friends, established a partnership which resulted in the transformation of the agencysupplier relationship in the tourism industry. TravelBiz Monitor recognises B.A. Rahim for introducing the industry with a breakthrough in the consolidation business.

Elaborating more on the industry relations Rahim said that it was the Kesari Tours who were the first to trust Akquasun. “Our relations with Kesari were instrumental in establishing Akquasun’s market in Hong Kong. Just like Kesari, other wholesellers who have worked with us like Cox & Kings, Thomas Cook, Yatra, MakeMyTrip, etc., trust the services we deliver. Because we are easily accessible to anyone in the industry, we have managed to develop great relationships and this in turn has helped us to do healthy business over the years.”

“We have good DMC heads across the destinations working as soldiers, protecting us and always ready for us. We as a company have been available 24x7 for all the travel agents. We try to make everyone happy due to which our satisfaction rate is 95%,” exclaimed Nair. The two friends encourage competition and are unanimous in their opinion that this industry is quite big and every one can enjoy their share of pie.

Last year Akquasun Group recorded a growth of 30% and saw 100,000 pax alone from India. These numbers have been achieved after a lot of hardwork and sacrifices. According to Rahim, because he travels 20 days in month he is unable to spend enough time with his family.

“The last decade has been a tasking period for us as well as for our families. Our friends and families have stood strong along with us during this period. We have sacrificed our family time and our social life for the growth of Akquasun. Today, it gives us immense satisfaction when we see the position of our company on global scale,” said Nair.

Sujit Nair and BA Rahim with Graham Cooke, President & Founder,
World Travel Awards. Akquasun awarded as the World’s
Leading Destination Management
Company at World Travel Awards 2017.

Nair and Rahim praise their staff who have stayed with the company for a long period of time especially Naresh Lulani, Akquasun’s Director of Finance who has been instrumental in handling the monetary matters of the company and has helped in defining the principles and objectives of Akquasun Group.

“Following the advancement across the industry, Akquasun Group has also upgraded itself. Our portfolio today covers range of services like Marketing, Solutions, Support, etc. We should have incorporated technology a long time ago but nevertheless we are streamlining our service offerings through digital ways to ease out the business processes and be at par with the industry in terms of technology adaptation. The travel and tourism industry has evolved over the years and will continue to do the same. We at Akquasun will constantly endeavour towards betterment of our service offerings with customer satisfaction always at the core,” Nair concluded.
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