Business in God’s Own Coun­try

As some re­gional tour op­er­a­tors move beyond the met­ros to make their mark in spe­cific re­gions, speaks to EM Na­jeeb, Chair­man, Air Travel En­ter­prise Group about how travel and tourism business has been evolv­ing in Ker­ala over the last few years

TravTalk - India - - States - MEGHA PAUL Growth in the Ker­ala mar­ket in the last five years Ker­ala, a dry state? New trends in Ker­ala mar­ket Ini­tia­tives by the company Chal­lenges faced by re­gional tour op­er­a­tor Ad­van­tages of re­gional tour op­er­a­tor Trends that will drive de­mand

In­bound, do­mes­tic and out­bound tourism have been con­sis­tently grow­ing in Ker­ala. Dur­ing the last five years, there has been an av­er­age of 10 per cent in­crease ev­ery year in the in­bound tourism to Ker­ala. Out­bound tourism has been also grow­ing con­sid­er­ably. Ker­alites un­like be­fore have started trav­el­ling in greater num­bers. They are 100 per cent lit­er­ate and majority of the pop­u­la­tion is well-ed­u­cated. There is also ex­cel­lent con­nec­tiv­ity from Ker­ala by air to all ma­jor lo­ca­tions in the world from the three in­ter­na­tional air­ports in Ker­ala, mak­ing it con­ducive for tourism.

The new liquor pol­icy could have an im­pact on the sec­tor, and we want the gov­ern­ment to for­mu­late an ‘in­dus­try- friendly’ pol­icy. Sec­tors such as MICE Tourism would be largely hit by the new pol­icy. If Sun­day is de­clared as ‘dry day’, it will af­fect the MICE seg­ment as majority of con­fer­ences and meet­ings are sched­uled on week­ends as well. There is also a gen­eral ap­pre- hen­sion among stake­hold­ers that the new liquor pol­icy would af­fect tourism prospects of the coun­try in gen­eral and turn Ker­ala into the last pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion.

Along with the eco­nomic growth of the coun­try, ci­ties and towns are de­vel­op­ing as hap­pen­ing lo­ca­tions in terms of eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties. Next to the met­ros, ‘B’ and ‘C’ ci­ties, and Lev­elI and -II town­ships have be­come fer­tile mar­kets for tourism. A good sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion is de­pend­ing on on­line book­ings for tourism prod­ucts, even while they buy from tra­di­tional hol­i­day shops. The youth seg­ment looks for week­end hol­i­days, ad­ven­ture and eco-tourism and na­ture rich lo­ca­tions.

Air Travel En­ter­prises In­dia and the Great In­dia Tour Company of our group have been earnestly putting ef­forts in de­vel­op­ing tours in the Ker­ala re­gion. We are pro­mot­ing in­bound, do­mes­tic and out­bound tourism in Ker­ala. Also we work handin-hand with the Ker­ala Tourism for ef­fec­tive des­ti­na­tion pro­mo­tion. Aimed at the mar­ket in the re­gion, we have var­i­ous pack­ages in­clud­ing short hol- iday op­tions for peo­ple look­ing for hol­i­days within the state, other lo­ca­tions within the coun­try and also des­ti­na­tions abroad. Our net­work of of­fices mo­bilise the sales of the pack­ages and reach them to ev­ery seg­ments of the mar­ket.

Tour op­er­a­tors in metro ci­ties have an ad­van­tage of be­ing in the midst of a highly buoy­ant mar­ket with a pool of buy­ers. Their po­si­tion­ing within the mar­ket will au­to­mat­i­cally lever­age their growth. The re­gional tour op­er­a­tor has to find buy­ers from scat­tered mar­kets. Also it is of­ten found that prin­ci­pals, be it air­lines or ho­tels, choose to of­fer their best deals to the op­er­a­tors in such ci­ties than to oth­ers. This gives them a great ad­van­tage than the other op­er­a­tors.

A re­gional tour op­er­a­tor with a long- stand­ing in the mar­ket has a very spe­cial ad­van­tage of know­ing ev­ery seg­ment and pocket of the mar­ket. There will be a great amount of per­sonal re­la­tion­ship and rap­port be­tween the op­er­a­tor and the buy­ers. Un­like met­ros, with float­ing pop­u­la­tion, the re­gional mar­kets are per­ma­nent dwellers. This helps the long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship and trust.

Go­ing for­ward to fu­ture, the de­mand in the mar­ket will keep on in­creas­ing in its pace and per­cent­age, as there is a nat­u­ral growth tak­ing place in the eco­nomic and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties. Of­fer of ex­cel­lent prod­ucts suit­able for their re­quire­ments will mul­ti­ply the de­mand.

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