WITH growing affluence and a steadily recovering rupee, more Indian travellers are seeking new destinations in Asia and beyond, a trend reported by several Indian tour companies at ITB Asia 2012.
Said C N Shanmugham, vice president-South India, Travel Tours: “In the early days, Indian travellers used to be crazy about shopping in Thailand and Singapore, but now India has everything they want (for shopping).
“They are now keen to visit countries such as Myanmar and Russia. The Maldives, Mauritius and the Philippines are also coming up.”
In the first half of 2012, Travel Tours recorded a 20 per cent year-on-year increase in demand among Indians for Russia and Myanmar, and is seeing robust forward bookings for 2013.
Similar trends were observed by Cox & Kings India global head-sales, Rajat Gera, who remarked that Indian travellers, particularly the wealthy ones, are more inclined to forego shopping experiences in Thailand and Singapore for “unexplored destinations and tailor-made experiences”.
Indian travellers now want bragging rights, noted Gera.
Even far-flung destinations such as Peru are coming onto the travel radar of Indian outbound tourists, observed Guru Sharma, managing director of Travel Group Peru.
The Lima-based firm has recorded a 35 per cent gain in bookings from India between January and September this year, and expects the demand from India to grow further in the coming year.
He remarked: “Indians love to travel to two or three countries when they visit South America, often combining Brazil, Argentina and Peru.
“Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer and Peru’s Machu Picchu are big draws for Indians, as are the natural waterfalls.”
However, the rising interest in exotic destinations has not replaced the appeal of traditional ones, Cox & Kings’ Gera pointed out.