CRUIS­ING is an ex­pe­ri­ence

PETER KOLLAR, Head of In­ter­na­tional Train­ing & De­vel­op­ment, Cruise Lines In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion (CLIA), feels that cruis­ing al­lows trav­ellers mul­ti­ple ex­pe­ri­ences, all in a sin­gle va­ca­tion.

TravTalk - India - - EXPERIENTI­AL - HAZEL JAIN

WHAT AC­CORD­ING TO YOU IS ‘EX­PE­RI­EN­TIAL TRAVEL’?

It’s about im­mer­sion, hav­ing an op­por­tu­nity to delve deep into a re­gion’s cul­ture and his­tory, mainly through di­rect en­gage­ment with the lo­cals with hands-on ex­pe­ri­ences that foster a feel­ing of unique­ness and one­ness with what is around you. It’s nor­mally in a small group as this al­lows all par­tic­i­pants to be in­volved and feel they are part of the ex­pe­ri­ence, rather than stand­ing at the back of a crowd.

HOW DOES CRUIS­ING FIG­URE IN THIS?

This type of tour ex­pe­ri­ence has ac­tu­ally been around for a while in cruis­ing. Not only is it the essence of small ship cruis­ing, river cruis­ing and ex­pe­di­tion cruis­ing, I have done these tours for years while work­ing for Crys­tal Cruises over a decade ago when we would visit re­mote e com­mu­ni­ties and par­take in n vol­un­teer­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, or in­too homes of hill-tribes and learn n how they live. Even with small groups of 18 walk­ing through the Sis­tine Chapel af­ter­hours in the Vat­i­can can be viewed as an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. These be­spoke op­tions have been adopted by larger cruise lines who now in­clude a small range of these ex­cur­sions with lim­its on group sizes. Though the ‘high­lights’ tours of get­ting on busses and driv­ing around tak­ing pho­tos is still a pop­u­lar in­tro­duc­tion’ to a re­gion for many pas­sen­gers, more trav­ellers are seek­ing these im­mer­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties that are now weaved into most cruise pro­grammes.

WHY SHOULD EX­PE­RI­ENCE-SEEK­ING TRAV­ELLERS OPT FOR CRUIS­ING?

For In­di­ans who want to engage in this type of ex­pe­ri­ence, cruis­ing is a great op­tion, as once you se­lect the right prod­uct and des­ti­na­tion for your level of in­ter­est, cruis­ing al­lows mul­ti­ple ex­pe­ri­ences in the one va­ca­tion, whether it would be along coast­lines to dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties, or from coun­try to coun­try that em­brace a di­ver­sity of cul­tur­alcu ex­pe­ri­ences.

WHATWH CRUISE TRENDS DO YOU SE SEE EMERGE IN IN­DIA IN THE NEXT CO COU­PLE OF YEARS?

In­di­aInd al­ready has one of the youngest cruis­ing de­mo­graph­ics­dem of all world source mar­kets, and thisthi will con­tinue with the new-to-cruise mar­ket be­ingbe tar­geted along with the tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­mentsde in con­nec­tiv­ity that has re­cently evolvedev on­board. The real change will be in gen­er­alge cruis­ing ac­cep­tance, as we’ve seen shift­ingsh at­ti­tudes and mind­sets in emerg­ing mar­ketsm such as In­dia even­tu­ally open up viav pas­sen­ger feed­back, me­dia ex­po­sure, anda most of all, ed­u­cated travel agents whow ul­ti­mately learn about the mod­ern cruise ex­pe­ri­ence.

HOW DO YOU SEE CRUIS­ING GROW AND EVOLVE IN IN­DIA?

All cruise mar­kets are de­pen­dent on travel agent ad­vo­cacy. Di­rect book­ings to cruise lines are only com­pleted by cus­tomers who have al­ready de­cided to cruise, so it is the agent who show­cases cruis­ing as an ideal op­tion com­pared to other choices such as land and coach tour­ing and re­sort stays. These rec­om­men­da­tions are only brought for­ward by an agent if they be­lieve in cruis­ing, there­fore, train­ing and Fams are critical in get­ting them to un­der­stand the value of this op­tion.

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