New international tourist destinations woo Indians

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With the ever rising disposable incomes and Indian tourists becoming more experimentative with their holiday options, international tourism players are leaving no stones unturned to pull them to the foreign lands. In the recent past, countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Oman, Victoria, Spain, besides the usual suspects like Australia, Switzerland and Malaysia have come up with 360-degree activities to lure the Indian traveler.

According to Paul Buggy, International Director of Tourism Queensland for India, Middle East and Korea, “India is one of its top emerging markets and the Indian market has huge potential burgeoning at an attractive rate.”

Paul Buggy, International Director Korea, India and Midddle East, Tourism Queensland

Queensland, Australia has seen an eight per cent growth in arrivals from India with 26,000 Indians visiting Queensland till September 2011. According to experts, India is a market currently with 1.2 crore Indians travelling overseas annually, and a growth rate of 12-13 per cent per year projected till 2015. According to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Country Report for India, this industry contributes 8.6 per cent to the GDP, which is expected to increase to nine per cent by 2020.

Digital Medium- The new bait for tourists
As the new age consumers become more techno-savvy, marketers know where their consumers are and are hence tapping them in their territory. Tourism Victoria has launched its online campaign to engage tourists. “The campaign gives both Indian tourists and our industry partners the ability to personalise itineraries, making for an even more rewarding visitor experience in Victoria,” says Hon’ble Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria. Through this campaign, Victoria aims to maximise visitor growth not just from key cities such as Mumbai and Delhi but also from Bangalore and Chennai.

Queensland India has also launched its website, queenslandholidays.in   to reach out to the Indian consumer and travel trade. The website has been the platform for Queensland tourism to interact with and engage Indian consumers.

On the same lines, Canada tourism has also developed its campaign ‘Jannat Canada’. The online campaign plans to engage consumers through a digital competition where in it promises to give couple tickets as prize to the winner. The visitors to the website can register for a virtual passport on the campaign web site and then play one or more of the three virtual trips. Every trip that a consumer successfully completes, qualifies him to enter into a lucky draw for a free trip for two to Canada.

Opulence of Oman is also establishing Oman’s presence in the Indian market as a high-end destination for the evolved traveller through its campaigns across digital and print media platforms. An amount of Rs. 1 crore has been allotted for the branding exercise.

According to Lubaina Sheerazi, India representative of the Ministry of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman, “Today’s traveller is well informed and well versed with digital media. We believe that this platform will help us showcase Oman on a broader level, thus achieving our goals of enhancing the brand ‘Oman’.”

Bollywood connection

Hanneli Slabber

The phenomenon of attracting tourists might not be new but the ways most definitely are. Low package costs aren’t the only factor luring consumers to tourist destinations, they demand much more in terms of the associations with the tourist spot. “In India, we all are well aware of the fact that television and Bollywood play a pivotal role in connecting and influencing end audiences. Keeping this factor in mind we are encouraging television shows and movies to be filmed across South Africa,” says Hanneli Slabber, Country Head, South Africa Tourism India.

Shows such as ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’ and movies such as ‘No Entry’, ‘Race’, ‘Jannat’, No Problem, Welcome, Ghajini were filmed in South Africa. These resonated well with Indian travellers, which helped South Africa Tourism enhance the visibility of the country.

On the same lines, Canada tourism roped in Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar as its Brand Ambassador for the campaign ‘Jannat, Canada’. Bollywood plays a very important role in bringing the up aspirational value of a brand. The success of the blockbuster ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ boosted the tourist count of Spain manifold.

Out of Home
British Tourist Authority, under its Visit Britain promotion had come up with a refreshing twist that engaged and amused potential tourists. Carried out in 12 cities all over the world, the 3D canvas promotional stunt was a part of the global campaign called “Great Britain, you’re invited”. In New Delhi, Visit Britain used 3D installations wherein people could experience the iconic spots of the country and get themselves clicked against the background.

International tourism players are also using OOH to create awareness amongst travel agents. Buggy  says, “Supporting Tourism Australia’s trade & media initiatives, we participated in the seven Tier-2 city travel agents road show, followed by eight Tier-1 city road shows to help Indian travel agents gain product knowledge and enable them to market the destination effectively.”

As part of VisitBritain’s GREAT image campaign, which will soon hit few cities in the country, Mumbai and Delhi will witness  GREAT branding, with bill-board posters being seen by over 1.6 crore people. There will also be 200 taxis with GREAT branding driving around the two cities.

Customer Segmentation
One of the most famous international tourist spots for Indians has been Malaysia. Malaysia has been constantly reporting an increase in tourists year on year. The target of consumer for Malaysia is well defined. Manoharan Periasamy, Director-India, Tourism Malaysia says, “Our campaign for 2012 indicates ‘Every dream needs a destination”, we are targeting a first time traveller to an experienced traveller who is looking for unique and memorable experiences. We are looking at targeting the premium Indian tourists.” However, 26 per cent of Indian tourists who visit Malaysia are repeat consumers.

While most of the players in the sector target the Tier-I premium consumer, they are also realising the potential of consumers in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. “We see a huge potential in these cities where the spending power is increasing and people are looking out to travel overseas for their holidays. We are planning to move deeper to the Tier-II and then III cities to tap this huge opportunity,” says Slabber.

Also, in terms of tapping consumers on different media, players are devising their strategy as a mix of different media with the aim of reaching different customer segments. With the aim of communicating to end travellers South Africa tourism initiated an extensive outdoor campaign across 21 cities, cinema campaign across 200 screens and television campaign across a mix of major news, general interest and English movie channels.

Large sum of monies are going into marketing by these international tourism players. The expected percentage increase in the number of tourists for most players for 2012 is in double digits. “In partnership with Tourism Australia, we hope to increase our visitor numbers in 2012 by at least 15 per cent in 2011”, says Buggy.

On the other hand, Malaysia targets 7,20,000 tourists from India in 2012. The targets have been set and the marketing strategies set, all that consumers have to do is get into the holiday mode, back their bags and put their bucks where the best deal is.

About the author / 

Jyotsna Sharma

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