Niche seg­ments draw big moolah

Shibani Phad­kar, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent-Prod­ucts & Op­er­a­tions, Leisure Travel (Out­bound), Thomas Cook (In­dia) talks about the surge in de­mand from sports tourism, ed­u­ca­tional trips and per­son­alised hol­i­day seg­ments last year.

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Thomas Cook ( In­dia) is bet­ting big on sports tourism, ed­u­ca­tional trips and per­son­alised hol­i­day seg­ments this year.

Ac­cord­ing to Shibani Phad­kar, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent-Prod­ucts & Op­er­a­tions, Leisure Travel (Out­bound), Thomas Cook (In­dia), 2014 has seen a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing travel trends. “We have wit­nessed im­pres­sive growth of sports tourism this year. For a cricket crazy na­tion, the IPL cer­tainly holds much al­lure. When UAE had hosted matches dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­day sea­son this year, our teams at Thomas Cook In­dia wit­nessed a up­take of de­mand over 25 per cent in com­par­i­son to 2013,” she pointed out. Also, with Brazil play­ing host to FIFA 2014, foot­ball afi­ciona­dos and en­thu­si­asts from In­dia show­cased strong in­ter­est not merely to wit­ness this global event live, but to ex­plore Brazil and South Amer­ica. With bookings to Brazil com­menc­ing as early as June/July 2013, Thomas Cook In­dia, saw a de­light­ful 20 per cent in­crease in queries, she added. The com­pany has also wit­nessed de­mand for ed­u­ca­tional trips from their stu­dent clien­tele. Phad­kar com­mented, “Our ‘Travel & Learn’ prod­uct team at Thomas Cook In­dia has cre­ated spe­cialised ‘Uni­ver­sity Tours’ - aimed at pro­vid­ing a glimpse into the uni­ver­sity life with vis­its to US col­leges, in­clud­ing in­sight­ful in­ter­ac­tions with both coun­sel- lors and stu­dents and meet­ings with uni­ver­sity ad­mis­sion ad­vi­sors. An­other in­ter­est­ing trend ob­served is a quan­tum leap from the tra­di­tional hol­i­day pack­age to a per­son­alised ex­pe­ri­en­tial itin­er­ary cre­ated around the ‘ My holi- day, My way’. Our teams at Thomas Cook In­dia have re­ported a pow­er­ful growth of about 40- 45 per cent in this seg­ment of hobby/ in­ter­est en­thu­si­asts. Travel around culi­nary/ cui­sine has been clearly trend­ing, with a 20 per cent up­swing, while photograph­y has seen a 15 per cent Y-o-Y growth,” she added.

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