TravTalk - India
Russia’s educational tour
Keen on developing the India market further, Russia has planned a number of activities to engage the travel trade. Advising it in this venture is Namaste Tourism that has now partnered with Russian Information Centre.
It will reach out to the trade through its website. “We also plan to use social media platforms and print media as well as airlines. We also have a strong B2B team headed by Rashid Kutty to cater to the
travel fraternity. Currently, the potential is 100,000 plus per month and growing. We are in the process of appointing a sales and marketing team for this as well.”
The Russian Information Centre (RIC), a non-commercial entity that works with support from Russian Consulate in Mumbai, recently tied up with Mumbai-based Namaste Tourism to re-activate the slowing India market for Russia. It has chalked out a lot of activities for the travel trade. One of them is conducting Fam trips for agents. It recently took 20 agents from Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Chennai, Imphal and NCR on one and are planning another one this September.
Paresh Navani, Co-Principle, RIC, says, “The growth in numbers from India makes a strong point for creating programmes specific for this market. We are therefore working on an India-friendly policy which should be rolled out by Q3 end or early Q4 of 2016. As per this, we will train hotels and service providers in Russia about expectations of the Indian visitor. We will also educate them on what they can expect from Indian tourists. RIC will create a framework for this, and organise compliance training and certification.”
As per RIC, 2014 recorded 15,000 tourists from India, which jumped to 33,000 in 2015 indicating a 100 per cent growth YOY. Explaining the role of RIC, Katerina Belyakova, Co-Principle, RIC in India, says, “We are a cultural bridge between the tourism board in Russia and India. We are also promoting MoUs between different state tourism departments in India and Russia. For instance, there is an ongoing discussion between Kerala Tourism and St Petersburg Tourism for bilater- al promotions of tourism which has been approved from India side. That should fall in place by 2017.” RIC had organised a Fam trip in March 2016 for Russian agents in Kerala.
Meanwhile, Namaste Tourism has undertaken marketing and sales on behalf of RIC. The centre is now planning a convention for more than 100 travel agents in Rus- sia in April 2017. This will be partly sponsored by the Hotel Owners Association in Russia and the government of Russia and will be given to agents at a subsidised cost. According to Subhash Motwani, Founder Director of Namaste Tourism, “Selling Russia is a good bet for agents specially in today’s scenario where people are going online and booking holidays. In case of Russia, they will have to book through an agent. So there is no online threat that will kill their market.”