Holland: The new destination of choice
A delegation representing the attractions of Holland and its tourism stakeholders visited India recently for the Holland Sales Mission, allowing them to have one-to-one meetings with the Indian travel agents and tour operators. Here’s what they had to say
The Indian arrivals to Madurodam differ according to the tourist season, and we roughly receive around 45,000-50,000 Indian visitors on a yearly basis and about 80 per cent of them come through tour operators. In the last 20 years, we have seen the Indian population in Madurodam growing year by year. For us, the Indian market is important as it’s growing and we really want to grab a good share of this market.
We get a lot of Indian visitors and owing to their demand for a better experience, we have launched Hindi language on board on our audio guides. This is being accepted well and there is growth in numbers from India for us. In our meetings with the travel trade in India, we got to know that they did not have a direct contact for the Amsterdam Canal cruises, which is very valuable. Most of the agents want Indian dinner cruises, but the budget for the same is quite high. I want to make sure that Indian visitors have a great experience on board.
We met with the Indian travel agents and they are happy to have our product on offer, and I hope they can use this experience as part of their promotion. We had a group of around 2,000 people recently in parts, and they liked the experience and bought the products, as they are of excellent quality. We hope that such experiences could be replicated with the Indians as well since Indian middle class, families and students are travelling a lot. I hope the travel agents can make good packages for them through DMCs in Holland.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016. We don’t aim to be the biggest but the best airport in the world. In beginning 2016, we had seven services from Amsterdam to India, but since October last year, we have 31. Now, with Jet Airways and KLM starting new flights to Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai, there will be more Indians coming to Amsterdam. The meeting with the travel agents in India was also very helpful in knowing their interest in the destination and know what their clients think of the airport.
The travel agents in India are really important for us. Apart from looking at the main attractions, we saw a great potential in the MICE market. The agents had many questions on packaging different experiences, VIP visits and special packages for shopping outlets on group visits. Someone had queries on only women package and working on an experience in Amsterdam for it. My team is already working on this. It’s lovely to meet agents and work around new ideas and itineraries. It’s especially good to know what they want and how they want to package it.
So far, we have not been able to come to India and it’s our first time here. Currently, we don’t attract any Indian visitors and hence, we came to know more about this market, so that we can make efforts to make visitors from here feel at home. Through our meetings with the agents, we are glad to know that how well do people here know the fairly-tales. We know about the growth of the Indian market, and we have got positive reactions so far. If we can attract certain number of Indian visitors, I am sure that people would come and tell others and the product will grow.
Ingrid Kraakman- Beemterboer Manager Cheesefarm Catharina Hoeve Henry Willig Kaas B.V.
Ebeline Dijkhuis Marketeer Partnerships, Aviation Marketing, Schiphol Masterdam Airport
Bjorn van Gelder Sales Manager, Blue Boat Amsterdam Canal Cruises
Jack van de Vliert Head, Leisure Sales, Efteling
Natalie Kolarik Representative ITO Tours
Joris Van Dijk CEO Madurodam