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

TravTalk - India - - QUICKBYTES - SHAHZAD BAGWAN

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

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