High-flying Mumbaiites head to ‘exotic’ South America | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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High-flying Mumbaiites head to ‘exotic’ South America

Diego Maradona, tango and guacamole – are some of the new ingredients of the well-travelled Mumbaiites’ dream holiday.

mumbai Updated: Jan 09, 2011 01:24 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Diego Maradona, tango and guacamole – are some of the new ingredients of the well-travelled Mumbaiites’ dream holiday.

Having already seen most of the world featuring in travel brochures, high-end travellers from the city are heading to South America.

Art curator Durva Gandhi and her banker husband Kumar Shah, for instance, chose Argentina because they wanted to vacation in an exotic country that they hadn’t even read about.

They returned last week with more than just photographs.

“A lesson in Tango from the cafés of Buenos Aires was special,” Gandhi said.

A steady increase in the city's footprints on the southern end of the globe has coaxed many South American tourism boards to woo Mumbai.

Gloria Guevera, Mexico’s tourism minister, met Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines last September to improve flight connectivity to her country. Argentina tourism hosted a photo exhibition about the picturesque country at NCPA in December and Equador hosted a food festival at city hotel last year. Tourism boards from Brazil and Columbia have also planned road shows later this year.

“There is sudden interest towards South America in the past three months,” confirmed Subhash Motwani, managing committee member of the Indian Merchants’ Chamber’s tourism committee. “South American boards are eyeing India because we are not backpackers. Also, we are avid shoppers,” added the owner of Compact Travels.

Trade industry estimates show that 1,200 to 1,400 Indians visited South American countries in 2010. Data for previous years was not available.

Small Caribbean islands such as Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica are also in the fray. Rupert Griffith, the tourism minister for Trinidad and Tobago, a lesser-known Caribbean island, is visiting the city next week to promote tourism to his country.

More than half of the 14,598 Indians who visited the Caribbean in 2008 were from Mumbai followed by Delhi and Chennai according to the tourism board records.

The records also show that on an average Indians stay for more than 41 days.