More Indian travellers opt for offbeat destinations

REPEAT travellers from India are eschewing the usual Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand itineraries in favour of less popular regional destinations, despite limited connectivity.

K Vijay Mohan, director, Visakhapatnam-based Holiday World, told TTG Asia e-Daily: “We are sending more clients to Angkor Wat in Cambodia from our Chennai and Vizag offices. There is growing interest in the Borobudur and Prambanan temples in Indonesia, and increasing demand for Myanmar.”

Ahmedabad-based Universal Holidays director, Visana Jignesh, added: “I have clients from the pharmaceutical industry, and doctors seeking their bi-annual sabbatical in Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam or the Philippines. The brief to us is to find nice places to relax that are interesting and not too crowded or noisy.”

As a result, both Indian outbound travel consultants are looking for inbound companies outside of Singapore or Thailand who are able to handle their clients. Suppliers in this region are also sitting up in anticipation of larger numbers from India.

Bennett Peter, director of sales, InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, said: “In the last two years, there has been a healthy increase in Indian leisure tourists to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnamese culture is very interesting for Indians, and so is the local cuisine.”

“Although we get mostly French and other West European travellers, the slow trickle of Indians visiting Laos is an interesting surprise,” said Francois Guillot, country manager of Vientiane-based tour operator, Other Ways.

The beaches of Boracay and Palawan in the Phillippines have also caught the fancy of Indians. “Despite limited connectivity and very few direct flights, Indians are asking for four to five nights on the beach and two nights in Manila. Often these are single-destination holidays, or combined with Hong Kong or Bangkok, for some shopping on the way home,” said Arjun Shroff, managing director of Manila-based Shroff Travel Care Center.

However, Thailand is still top for Indian arrivals into ASEAN, recording 1.1 million out of ASEAN’s 2.7 million in 2012.

Read more in the ATF Daily

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