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Emerging destinations eye good Indian traffic in 2014

One of the emerging trends noticed among outbound travellers is that they are opting to go to new and unexplored destinations. Indian travellers now increasingly prefer experiential holidays. Emerging destinations such as Bulgaria, Argentina, Trinidad & Tobago, Taiwan, Jordan and Seychelles are putting their efforts to cash in on the growing Indian outbound market. According to industry experts, 2013 saw a considerable shift in demands and expectations of the travellers from a holiday. Let’s take a look at what 2014 has in store for emerging destinations in the Indian market…

The year that was…

Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, new destinations have come out as winners thanks to several factors such as the increase in disposable income, innovative packages, and destination promotions, with support from the aviation and hospitality industry. In 2013, Bulgaria welcomed its first Indian MICE group, shared Stefan Ionkov, Head of Commercial & Economic Office, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria to India. “This was a huge leap for the tourism department and it also proves that Bulgaria is slowly gaining recognition as a tourist destination in India. The same group want to come back again in summer of 2014,” he stated.

Similarly, Argentina also received encouraging response from India in 2013. The destination saw  good response from the travel trade as well as the Indian travellers, and welcomed MICE groups, Medha Sampat, Knack Marketing, India Representative, INPROTUR (National Institute of Tourist Promotion in Argentina), revealed. 

Similarly, Trinidad & Tobago profited from the Indian market last year. According to Huzan Fraser, India Representative, Tourism Trinidad and Tobago, over the last year, the Tourism Development Company Limited of Trinidad &Tobago managed to increase awareness about the destination and its products in India. As a result, they have seen an increase in enquiries and bookings to Trinidad & Tobago from the Indian market.

“India is an extremely important source market for Jordan as there is tremendous scope to increase Indian arrivals to Jordan. 2013, however, has been very challenging with the political turmoil in the neighbouring countries of Jordan in general and the Middle East in general. Also with the weakening Indian Rupee, outbound travel from India has been slightly sluggish,” said
, Manager, Jordan Tourism Board, India Office.

Way forward: Innovative marketing

Increase in the number of travellers looking for new destinations and activities are opening up new doors for emerging destinations. Experts believe that with new and unique marketing and promotional activities and strategies this trend will continue to grow right through 2014-15. “We will be investing in advertising and branding to create top of the mind recall and convey that the Seychelles islands are truly different and magical. We will be looking at a mix of ATL and BTL activities across print, web, out of home and electronic platforms,” informed Lubaina Sheerazi, Head – Bluesquare Consultants, Seychelles Tourist Office – India.

In 2014, Bulgaria expects a significant increase in the tourist groups from India. They start our marketing and promotional activities in India by participating in SATTE in January. This will be followed by educational seminars, media and corporate FAMs in India, Ionkov said and opined the Indian outbound MICE is also on the radar.

Trinidad and Tobago also wants to position themselves as a must do tourist destination especially for visitors to USA. “We want to convince the Indian visitors to Trinidad & Tobago to increase their length of stay. We will also promote key attractions of Trinidad & Tobago such as the Hanuman Murti, The ASA Wright Nature Centre, The Pitch Lake and The Witch Grave among others in India in 2014,” shared Fraser.

Noel Saxena, Country Head, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) Representative Office in India shared that TTB is currently working on a number of MICE incentive plans with increased benefits in 2014. TTB will organise FAM for MICE organisers and related media this year.

Sharing 2014 plans, Sampat revealed that they have many innovative and interactive ideas lined up for the next year. “The destination offers an assortment of products which can be packaged in an innovative way. We have commenced with training the trade and then will continue with mono Argentina trade shows. We will be participating in trade fairs in Mumbai and Delhi.”

For 2014, the Austrian National Tourist Office (ANTO) will look at marketing Austria through a combination of products like online study programme, promotions, print promotions, joint campaigns and radio. With these ANTO expects to grow and surge forward with an even better year ahead for 2014. Speaking about their strategy for the year, Christine Mukharji, Marketing Manager India, ANTO said, “We will have an online certification study programme for the travel trade i.e. Austrian Certified Travel Specialist (ACTS). We will also continue to work closely with the travel trade to promote Austria as a must visit destination for 2014. We will continue to focus on our tier 1 cities as well as increase our presence in the tier II cities.

Emerging source segments

In 2014, these destinations are focusing on the event segments, be it weddings, conventions, large celebrations, corporate events etc. They believe this segment will continue to gain momentum and will be fruitful for business. The potential of India in terms of outbound tourist market is very high for Seychelles. “We are confident that the country will soon become one of the strongest emerging source markets for Seychelles as Indians are now looking for new and exciting destinations to travel. Our current focus is to attract the honeymoon, luxury, adventure and experiential travellers from India,” said Sheerazi.

According to Fraser, the honeymoon segment is one in which we are rapidly seeing an increase of demand and bookings. Bulgaria has witnessed more than 100 per cent increase in 2013 in the MICE segment. “We received numerous groups from India and all of them are insisting to return in 2014 again. The MICE segment is really developing with a huge success,” opined Ionkov.

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