Delhi-based Destination Management Company Eastbound Group, a congregation of five companies such as 2Hub, Distinct Destination, CHIME, Byond and Eastbound Discoveries catering to different verticals of the industry, is going upward on its growth trajectory. Eastbound is mostly catering to high-end inbound segment throughout the premium markets in the world.
“We are growing on an average of 15 per cent. However, overall industry is not growing with the same pace like before as market is settled down now. Our main source markets USA, UK, Germany and Australia and these markets have grown for us. We are one of the first ones to reach US market with proper strategies. We need to be much more innovative and competitive to keep growing in these markets,” Manish Pratik, Director, Eastbound, said adding that Eastbound is one of early movers to the US market with proper strategies. Pratik is responsible for inbound division of the company.
Replying to a question over selecting only the high-end segment, Pratik said that there is a huge market available in this segment. “We wanted to create a niche for ourselves. We forayed into the market with certain strategies, expertise and mindset to tap the high-end segment of the business. Due to our specialization and personalized service, we have not seen any de-growth in the business,” he informed.
Elaborating it further, he opined that the industry is facing some challenges. “I think if India is marketed well, it will continue to remain a destination fitting into the bracket of the high quality market due to our heritage, quality hotels and services. Perhaps, the slowdown in the West and our high taxation regime has made India expensive destination. We have competition from South East Asia and Sri Lanka which are cost effective destinations. We need to be competitive on taxation front,” he said.
Talking about the traveler’s profile of the Eastbound, he said that Eastbound caters to clients who spend US$ 4,000-5,000. “They buy expensive tours, looking for unique and experiential tours, and their age is 40 years and above. We generate 6,000 to 8,000 high-end tourists in a year,” he informed.
According to him, a lot of British and Germans are going to experiential destinations such as Maheshwar and Mandu, Hampi, Ananda, tiger and tribal circuits amongst others. “Gujarat has picked up for textile tours. Tourists are also opting for river cruises in Eastern India as there is a renewed interest in Kolkata, Brahamputra and Kaziranga. Rajasthan is still famous for Forts and Palaces. There is a lot of interest in islands like Lakshadweep and Andaman,” he said.
On the trends in inbound, Pratik said that the Group Travel is definitely going down unless it is for specific purposes like MICE. “Families and friends travel are on upswing. Small group travel is more popular today. People are looking at experiential travel as they want to get more value. Tourists are now looking at indulging in more and more participative and experiential travel,” he revealed and added that overall quality tourist is not growing which is a matter of concern for the industry. “Incredible India campaign gave a big flip to inbound tourism. We need a strong Incredible India 3.0 campaign to portray India’s image as a tourist destination globally,” he opined.
In mid to long term, Eastbound is looking to position itself as one-stop shop where in it offers products for all segments. “We are trying to gear ourselves on product fronts so that we can cover all sorts of interest areas. We are trying to cater to special interest travelers. We have come up with our product line ‘Eastbound Outdoor’ which is soft adventure tour. We have developed certain products under this with local experts. We have to continuously keep on innovating to be known as a complete service provider. We offer around 30-35 special interest itineraries which are carefully curated by us,” Pratik concludes.