At The Zing Restaurant in Auckland - Jenny Burt, Air India; Amaan Khan, Total Holiday Options; Sunil Nirbhavane, India Tourism At The Zing Restaurant in Auckland - Jenny Burt, Air India; Amaan Khan, Total Holiday Options; Sunil Nirbhavane, India Tourism

India stopovers, niche travel boost for agents

Encouraging clients to stopover in India on the way to Europe could result in a substantial follow-up booking to the exotic and colourful destination a year or two later, agents attending the Incredible India functions this week are being told.

‘If agents get their clients to spend four or five days getting a taste of India, those clients will want to do three weeks next year – they will want to go back for more,’ says Jenny Burt, sales manager New Zealand with Air India. ‘So encourage them to stop and see the Taj Mahal or Jaipur on the way to Europe.’

Burt says Air India is pushing stopover opportunities to the New Zealand trade as well as niche travel and VFR (visiting friends and relatives). A delegation from India, as well as local operators specialising in the destination, hosted an Auckland function at The Zing in Auckland on Wednesday, and at Zaika Restaurant in Wellington last night.

Kanchan Kukreja, assistant director India Tourism based in Sydney, says New Zealand is a small but important and growing market for the country. Close to 51,000 New Zealanders visited in 2016, a 12.7% increase over the year before.

She says the availability or e-visas and the wide spread of niche opportunities – like spirituality, cuisine, and yoga tours, plus incentive travel groups – are favouring travel to India. Medical tourism, golf tourism, exploring the Himalayas, and travel by luxury train are other opportunities for the trade.

ProMag