Few steps closer to woo India
With the Holland Tourism expecting 15 per cent growth on arrival numbers from last year and new flights being added by Jet Airways and KLM, the growth from the India market looks promising. TRAVTALK asks travel agents how they have been promoting the dest
The quality of sellers at the Holland roadshow was excellent. I think we have missed out on a lot of opportunities but it’s never too late and they have come in just at the right time. Holland should conduct such roadshows more often. As I have always said, what we see is what we sell and regular presence will make a lot of difference in promoting the destination. Holland as a destination has everything for a visitor, be it a business traveller or a tourist. It is a complete destination which offers history, nature, culture and entertainment.
The roadshow was well organised with a perfect blend of DMCs and attractions. Holland has become a major destination in Europe for Indian travellers, especially with daily flights on Jet Airways. KLM will be coming back from November, so the connectivity to Holland will be better. Holland as a destination is a perfect blend of art, history and a lot of entertainment. The most unique part of Holland is its canals which one cannot find anywhere else in Europe. We cater to top-end clients who we send to boutique properties into other parts of the Netherlands away from Amsterdam, which are very popular among Indians.
The format of the roadshow has been great as we got an opportunity to meet with the key destinations and key sightseeing elements along with Airport Schiphol. We see a lot of opportunities for Holland as it has been a key destination for our MICE events. There is Holland beyond Amsterdam, which we would like to discover for our customers. I didn’t know that there is a Space Centre in Holland and a lovely theme park called Efteling. Modurodam is another key destination. For the new age Indian traveller, Holland offers diverse experiences which we at Thomas Cook are looking to explore across MICE, Group Inclusive Tours (GITs), Fully Independent Traveller (FIT), our luxury brand indulgence and other groups.
We had fantastic meetings with the Holland Tourism Board and suppliers coming from Holland at the roadshow. It makes a great difference when you meet the suppliers on one-to-one basis and interact with them to get better knowledge about the destination. Apart from the major attractions in Holland such as the city of Amsterdam, Rijks and the Van Gogh museum, canal cruises, food markets, the Anne Frank museum and the vibrant flower auction at Bloemenmarkt, windmill village of Zaanse Schans, dutch village of Edam, the most popular among Indian travellers are tulips and canal cruises.
Holland has always been a popular tourist destination. This roadshow had good quality repeat suppliers and some new ones. The tourism industry needs to increase at least one more night in Holland. There are a lot of things to do in Holland, generally everyone has been selling it for one or two nights, but after seeing new things on offer, we can increase the duration of stay. Holland has of late become a favourite among Indian travellers. Known for its its tulip fields, windmills, and artistic masters, the Netherlands continues to enchant with its artistic masterpieces, famous tulip fields, and well-known nightlife.
Holland is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. It is nice and encouraging to see that there have been new suppliers who have come in for the roadshow. People need to understand that when you talk about Holland, it is not just Amsterdam, there is much more to Holland beyond Amsterdam waiting to be explored and discovered. Places like Rotterdam, Madurodam, etc., have so much to do that Holland can be a product which spans close to 10 nights. The destination is fit for families, honeymooners and for other discerning travellers.
The roadshow witnessed a huge turnout and the quality of sellers was also good. I got to interact with the sellers and know more about the destination. Holland is a superb destination to sell. Amsterdam is the most preferred destination, but there is much more to Holland than this. For instance, Utrecht city has the largest convention centre and great potential for MICE. We have been promoting Amsterdam for family travel, friend groups, etc. as it offers a mix of shopping, nightlife and great food. Holland is a mixed-bag destination for all types of travellers. With KLM starting direct flights from November 1 from Mumbai, it’s only going to add to the numbers.
This roadshow has been interesting because of the new experiences being promoted, like the Henri Willig cheese farm, Blue Boats, apart from Madurodam, which most travellers know about. There was a good mix of suppliers present at the roadshow. There is a great potential in demand for travel to Holland. With the KLM flight starting from November and Jet Airways adding new flights, people are increasingly becoming aware of the destination. There are special interest groups keen on travelling to Holland. The good thing about Holland is that it’s a small country and one can get to any corner of the country in a couple of hours.
It is good to see the Holland market growing from the MICE perspective as well. The awareness being created by the Holland Tourism Board is very important considering that India is a huge market. Recently, we sent two corporate groups to Holland. As a destination, Holland offers you a mix of culture, heritage and the people there are cordial, which is important for a destination to have human touch to it. People in their search for newer destinations and Holland fits well. With the connectivity from India improving, the destination has great tourism potential.
Suzanne Pereira Sr. Vice President Trade Relationships & Communications Thomas Cook (India)
Jay Bhatia India Travel Award winner and Treasurer & Chairman Tourism Council, TAAI
Nagsri Prasad Sashidhar Senior Consultant – Leisure, Mercury Travels
Mehernosh Colombowalla Director Beyond Borders
Sampat Damani Chairman-Western Region TAAI
Kulin Shah CEO Kulin Kumar Holidays
Amey Amladi COO Akbar Travels of India
Veneeta Rawat Director Amazing Vacations
Subhash Motwani Director Namaste Tourism