THE STATE-OWNED tourism boards of not less than five countries have started jostling for a sizeable pie of the Rs 1500-crore outbound tours and travel market in Uttar Pradesh.
Senior officials of the tourism boards of Dubai, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia and Macau have already paid a visit to explore Lucknow and Kanpur markets during the past one year.
The Dubai Tourism Board set up a stall in a travel fair in the city held last year for promoting the “Oasis in the desert” not just as a shopping destination but a major tourism hotspot in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A surprising element of the overall outbound tourism market in the UP region had been that the Chinese tourism boards from Hong Kong and Macau are taking keen interest in not just receiving business travellers but also those in the leisure segment into China.
According to travel trade analysts, a major chunk of the outbound tour market in UP had been bagged by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) which on conservative estimates is selling its destinations to the travelers with a market share of 40 per cent during the past one year. This is followed by Australia and New Zealand tourism boards, which have aggressively started marketing their destinations through tour operators in Lucknow and Kanpur regions, says Vivek Pandey, Regional Head (UP & Uttaranchal), Delhi Express Holidays Ltd.
“Just a year ago, the representatives of most foreign tourism boards confined themselves to visiting New Delhi for exploring newer markets through their sellers based in the national capital. During the entire period of 2005-06, the officials of the five foreign tourism boards started flooding Lucknow and Kanpur after finding travel statistics from the region too encouraging to ignore,” he said. Pandey further said that about 30 per cent of the overall outbound tours market in Uttar Pradesh was still concentrated in Lucknow while other cities such as Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi constituted the rest of the outbound tourist movement from the State.
He said: “Quite a number of travel bookings are still being lost by the State’s tour operators to the Delhi-based operators every year as the country’s premier travel houses have just started setting up their bases in Lucknow and Kanpur regions.”
The outbound travel market in UP had been growing at a phenomenal rate. Both the business and the leisure travel segments had seen exponential growth in the past one year with tremendous scope for further growth in future, Rajiv Mehrotra, Business Director of Orbit Tours and Trade Fairs Pvt Ltd added.