River cruis­ing picks up speed

Ama Wa­ter­ways is wit­ness­ing a ma­jor up­surge in en­quiries for Sri Lanka and Mal­dives through the strate­gic rep­re­sen­ta­tion part­ner in Colombo. The com­pany is also see­ing an in­crease in both group – in­clud­ing MICE – and in­di­vid­ual va­ca­tion en­quiries.

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Lux­ury river cruise line AmaWa­ter­ways made its foray into the In­dian mar­ket by ap­point­ing TRN Mar­ket­ing, a di­vi­sion of In­dian Travel Pro­mo­tion Com­pany (ITPL), as their mar­ket­ing and sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive in In­dia. Since then it has been a jour­ney of ‘trade ed­u­ca­tion’ and, hence trade adop­tion. The cruis­ing afi­cionado or cus­tomer in In­dia is still a small com­mu­nity, and within that, river cruis­ing is still nascent. The en­quiries though are steadily on the in­crease, in­di­cat­ing the grad­ual ‘in­quis­i­tive-

The cruis­ing afi­cionado or cus­tomer in In­dia is still a small com­mu­nity, and within that, river cruis­ing is still nascent. The en­quiries are steadily on the in­crease, in­di­cat­ing the grad­ual ‘in­quis­i­tive­ness’ of trav­ellers

ness’. The mo­men­tum is ex­pected to pick in 2014, says

Sid­hartha Roy, Se­nior Vi­cePres­i­dent, ITPL & TRN Mar­ket­ing.

Talk­ing about the re­cent trends in the in­dus­try, he says, “We are see­ing an in­crease in both group – in­clud­ing MICE – and in­di­vid­ual va­ca­tion en­quiries. This has got to do with the good con­nec­tiv­ity and more ac­cept­able price points that we are able to gen­er­ate. The good news is that we have been able to un­fold the hitherto un­touched East Coast of Sri Lanka such as Pasiku­dah and Trin­co­ma­lee be­sides em­pha­sis­ing on just the sa­faris, tea plan­ta­tions and whale and dol­phin watch- ing op­tions. The com­pany is tar­get­ting the early ‘ex­plor­ers’ and the some­what choosy and se­lec­tive hol­i­day buy­ers whom I would re­fer to as the ‘ es­ca­pers’. In this ef­fort, the trade seems to be wak­ing up to the pos­si­ble var­ied in­come streams. Hav­ing added Pres­i­dent Cruises on the Yangtze River in China to our port­fo­lio, I ex­pect our river cruise of­fer­ings to make its mark in In­dia in a sig­nif­i­cant way.”

The most im­por­tant out­bound va­ca­tion­ing and cruis­ing source mar­kets for the com­pany are Delhi, Mum­bai and Ben­galuru. Amongst the port­fo­lio of hol­i­day of­fer­ings, the dif- fer­ence is that river cruis­ing is about ‘hol­i­day­ing with a bit of style and panache’. The com­pany is aim­ing to tap high-end va­ca­tion­ers and avid trav­ellers in the leisure seg­ment. The group is also bet­ting big on the In­dian cor­po­rates for in­cen­tive tours in China and Sri Lanka. Pres­i­dent Cruises of­fers three­night itin­er­ar­ies and that can be a ma­jor draw for cor­po­rate in­cen­tive tours.

Sid­hartha Roy

Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent ITPL & TRN Mar­ket­ing

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