Aggressive on Turkey
Located on the threshold of western Asia and Eastern Europe, Turkey has emerged as a complete holiday destination for the Indian travellers along with good connectivity of flights. In such scenario we have been able to increase our outbound business to Turkey by 48 pc and are hopeful that it will increase manifold in the times to come, says Gurnani.
How has the travel business been for the last season for outbound travel?
Well, the market has been a bit tough lately but because we specialise only for Turkey and Greece in the Indian market, we have our strong network of travel and trade partners pan India helping us going strong. We at ’Thakurjis Destinations’ have done a decent number of 13,350 satisfied travellers for the year 2015 and we are very much happy and content contributing 10 pc of the total number of Indian travellers to Turkey from our side. Similarly for Greece, we have booked around 4700 happy travellers!
How much focussed are you on Turkey as a destination?
Focus is the key, as the pace at which the trends and competition pick up in the market, new strategies and plans need to be adopted at lightning speed. Travel industry is no different from other industries in terms of evolution, you don’t need to be wrong to fall, but a better move of the competitors can kick you out of sales instantly. Turkey is a fun and a must visit destination with a very warm hospitality wherever you go. The whole country has a lot to offer for all sort of travellers including activities for the kids as well. That keeps us going and makes us all more aggressive when it comes to selling Turkey as a destination, which one should not to miss in a lifetime! We are now working on dedicated domains and mobile applications for promoting Turkey, which will make it easier for our trade partners to book and promote the destination as a package with just a few clicks. We are also revamping our website www. thakurjisdestinations.com for easy access with a login id for our travel partners. This way we are looking to at least double the network of our travel and trade affiliates currently associated with us.
To what extent Indian travellers are keen on Turkey as a tourist destination?
Indians have developed a taste for something different and fresh. They want something new all the time. Turkey is the new ‘in’ destination these days. Be it the amazing history that it possesses or the world heritage sites tagged in by UNESCO to the exotic beaches, excellent shopping centres and some serious nightlife too. It’s actually a complete holiday destination and hence a famous one in the Indian market now. Vegan or Jain food are not an issue either because you get what you want and however you like it. Non-vegetarians have nothing to complain about either because they have a buffet spread all around the country with delicious choices that will spoil them. With so many airlines now flying to Istanbul from across India with good connections and less layover hours, the travellers have a lot of options making it easy for them to plan a trip to Tuekey. Special credit to Turkish Airlines for the massive promotions they have been doing since quite some years – it’s all summing up and helping in creating an awareness that cannot be missed by the Indian traveller.
What innovative measures have you taken or are taking to promote outbound tourism in the country?
Marketing for any brand is important and it doesn’t matter what you are selling. Likewise in the hospitality industry, apart from a whole lot of marketing we have been doing –which includes ads in leading newspapers, online promotions, magazine ads etc. – “service’’ is the key. We do believe that the customer should get what he wants, hence, it is very important to build in the trust and the relationship with both, the traveller and the travel agent. It is our duty to keep both of them content. So for the travel agent we keep them happy with the best of rates and special promotions and for the traveller’s we keep them satisfied with the services which we offer in Turkey. It’s a ‘wow’ feeling to get excellent feedback during and at the end of the trip from both of them. I take this opportunity to thank all our guides, drivers, ground team and hoteliers.
In 2015, Turkey witnessed 10 pc increase in Indian tourists to Turkey and the number went upto around 130,000. Did that reflect in your business as well?
Oh yes! Indeed it did. We jumped from 9000 content travellers in 2014 to 13,350 satisfied souls in 2015, which is almost 48 pc additional to what we were doing before and is very good for us. We are hoping and working hard towards contributing a major share to the tourism of Turkey from the Indian market and with God’s grace and the continuous support we have been getting from the consulate general Erdal Sabri Ergen and Ozgur Ayturk from Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, for all these years, I’m sure, we are going to create wonders together.
How well prepared are you for the upcoming holiday season?
If you’re talking about 2016 we are fully geared up with over 150 special tailor-made itineraries, which no other destination management company (DMC) is offering. With a mix and match of four star and five star hotels for the luxury travellers to budget accommodation and daily departure options for people who don’t want to burn their pockets too much. We have everything in store. I am happy to share that we have already confirmed around 2000 people for travel between April to September this year. All our travel partners can join us on www.facebook.com/ thakurjisdestinations to be updated with the latest promotions. We are also trying to be more user- friendly and more approachable with 24×7 helplines and mobile apps for android and apple users.
Do Indian travellers choose Turkey during the summer season between May-June?
Indians travel maximum during these months due to the vacation period. Actually it starts from mid April to mid June. That’s like the peak for people having school going kids. Apart from that, I also believe Turley is a place you can travel at any time of the year. We have had many agents requesting for packages from December to March as well for honeymooners and families when it’s really cold in Turkey. Honestly, we’re really happy with the way things are shaping up. In the coming years, Turkey will fare all the more better as a tourist destination for all the segments throughout the year and will not be tagged as just vacation travel for families.
What other destinations you promote and what other destinations are catching up for outbound tourism amongst Indian travellers?
Currently we are only focussed on Turkey and Greece. We want to increase our MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) movement to these destinations. We are also targeting weddings in Turkey and Greece as they both are iconic destinations on the world map. Apart from that we are targeting Eastern Europe but that will be another brand all together because ’Thakurjis Destinations’ is a very well known brand for these two destinations specifically in the Indian market.