With a new board and a new dynamic strategy, Cel Tours breaks into a new era in its 22-year history. Mary Souli Kafkios, the company’s chairperson and managing director, says it’s time to take off the blinkers and jump into the international marketplace. She began Cel’s repositioning by centralizing all its economic and management functions at its company-owned offices on Solonos Street.
“One of the reasons for a new board of directors for our company was to appoint a person to the board that could read, write and speak Chinese (Mandarin, the official language in China), which is a requisite for owning a business in China.”
Our dynamic new strategy, she says, centers on creating exotic new budget products for our customers. “Our first positive action in the new strategy was to cooperate with budget airlines internationally so that we can get enticing prices, which allows us to create some very attractively priced packages to exotic destinations for our customers.”
Budget airline cooperation so far has included a number of GSA agreements, although in order to do so Cel was obliged to give up its IATA travel agency membership code – she says international IATA regulations do not allow travel agents to act as airline general sales agents as well. Ms Kafkios says this is just the beginning as her company’s new strategy depends on low airline fares.
At the same time the company was arranging for airline agreements, it was building international bridges. Its most successful to date is its China bridge. Cel Tours is one of the very special companies in the world that has been able to purchase its own offices there and set up a travel company, Cel Tours China. It was not an easy task.
Ms Kafkios adds that “one of the reasons for a new board of directors for our company was to appoint a person to the board that could read, write and speak Chinese (Mandarin, the official language in China), which is a requisite for owning a business in China.”
For the moment, the new office in China, which officially opens this summer, will concentrate on handling incoming traffic but within two years the office will be able to work with outgoing travel as well.
Other business bridges are in the planning stage. Cel says it intends to open branch offices wherever it presently does not have representation.
And yet another step in its strategy is also underway. Ms Kafkios believes that today’s traveler not only wants the most attractively priced package available, but also new and exciting exotic destinations.
They also want complete ease of information and booking via the Internet.
To accomplish the latter, Cel Tours is in the process of developing a new information packed, user-friendly site that includes online booking facilities.