Thomas Cook India expects demand for currencies to reach 90% of pre-covid levels this year. While demand for currencies from the education segment has already reached pre-covid levels, travel-related currency volumes are at 35-40% of pre-covid levels.
Talk to Activity area, Mahesh Iyer, executive director and CEO of Thomas Cook India, said the company is approaching its pre-covid level volumes across the forex segment. He explained that since international travel was limited to air bubbles and several geographies were closed, currency volumes through leisure travel were limited.
However, “Between October and December, part of the markets opened up, Mauritius, Maldives, Dubai, we saw that the forex linked to travel was coming back. The travel-related forex is almost 35-40% of the pre-pandemic level and it is in line with the industry level,” he said.
Nevertheless, he explained that thousands of students continued to travel to other countries to study. During the pandemic, according to Iyer, educational forex and family forex (remittances to and from family members in other countries) were the dominant segments of the company’s retail forex revenue. “Our education segment is already ahead of what we used to do in 2019,” he said, adding that he expects this segment to contribute in the same trajectory as during of the last two years.
Speaking of the enterprise segment, Iyer said it has reached at least 50-60% of its pre-covid levels, mainly driven by the IT sector. “We have had conversations with our top 50 corporate clients and all are back in the office. They have also started sending their employees to work abroad.
Asked about his expectations for the full recovery of the foreign exchange segment, he said that as international travel opens up, there will be a slight increase in travel. He estimates that by the end of 2022, the company will see a recovery of nearly 90% of currency trading volumes from its pre-covid level.
“2023 will be a bumper year because people are going to travel, people have been stuck for 24 months now so they will be traveling soon. I guess between 2023 and 2024 we will see a good growth rate.
In order to make the most of this upside, Iyer said the company will focus on yields rather than just volumes. “The focus will be on the fact that even if the volumes will come, we must not lose sight of our margins.”
March 06, 2022