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.
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.