Delhiites are discovering a new kind of holiday - something that involves visiting great places, travelling in luxury and enjoying fun activities during their stay in plush suites, all rolled into one.
Their destinations range from age-old favourites such as Hong Kong and France to offbeat destinations like Alaska. Such a segment of travellers from Delhi is still niche but cruises are fast becoming a popular choice.
While cruises in southeast Asian countries have been popular for quite some time, Delhii-tes are now also opting for Atlantic cruises that touch Alaska and Canada, Mediterranean cruises, Caribbean cruises and Norwegian cruises.
“Travelling by sea has become very popular in the past few years and traffic has increased by at least 50%,” said Rajji Rai of the Travel Agents Association of India.
“Delhiites want to get off the beaten track and the future of growth in outbound tourism is in cruises,” he said.
“Thirteen years ago, when we started representing and marketing Holland America Line in India, the business would be generated singularly from Mumbai. Now we are seeing an equal, if not more, pull from Delhi, Punjab and other areas,” said Richa Goyal Sikri, Director, STIC Travel Group.
“Mumbai and various cities in Gujarat continue to lead the pack but the numbers generated by other regions are also promising,” she added. Sikri also said that while nearly half of these tourists still prefer Asian and Southeast Asian cruises, which tend to be short and cater to moderate price segments, 15% of these outbound tourists want to explore Alaska, 25-30% Europe and 5-10% destinations such as South America and the Caribbean.“In fact, we are now seeing a new wave of clients who have done the Alaska-Europe cruise and are looking for unique itineraries, more luxurious and exclusive experiences, and no hidden costs,” she said.
“The number of tourists opting for cruises from India, specifically Delhi and other north Indian cities is definitely rising,” said Vikram Malhi, GM-South and South-East Asia of global travel portal Expedia.
“However, as the cruises entail a longer stay due to fixed itinerary, it means a longer holiday,” he said.
Sikri said that the earlier perception that cruises are expensive doesn’t hold true any more and has added benefits because travelling and staying are part of the package.