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Now, Indians turn to Mediterranean

Traditional tourist spots like Singapore, Thailand, England and France are attracting fewer Indian travellers now.

india Updated: May 01, 2006 11:43 IST

Traditional tourist destinations like Singapore, Thailand, England and France are attracting fewer Indian travellers, who are turning to new destinations like the Mediterranean this summer, tour operators say.

Leaving behind the sultry beaches of Southeast Asia, Indian travellers are now showing interest in the Mediterranean due to its climate and culinary delights it offers, say travel agents and tour operators catering to outbound traffic from India.

Countries like Greece, Spain and Turkey are attracting a large number of tourists this season. "The summer is just round the corner and we can see lots of enthusiasm among tourists for these destinations," said Riaz Munshi, a holiday planner.

He said one reason for the new trend was that certain countries were actively wooing Indian tourists. "While Spain recently organised a road show in India, the Mediterranean countries are introducing easier visa norms and unmatched hospitality," he said.

With the increase of interest in the new destinations, the cost of the packages has also gone up. "But that is not holding people back," said Munshi.

"Even though the cost of certain packages has increased by almost 35 per cent as compared to last year, bookings by Indian tourists have increased", he pointed out.

"A cruise package which used to cost $800 last year has been hiked to $1,200 in the wake of a heavy demand," he added.

The change of choice has put Southeast Asian countries in the alert mode.

"Along with low room rentals and a string of additional incentives, these countries have also tied up with their respective airlines to offer competitive flight fares, thereby bringing the cost of the packages tremendously low," said Sohail Kadri, a travel agent catering to western India.

South Korea, another new destination, is competing with the Mediterranean countries to attract tourists.

"With a wide range of climatic variations, South Korea is all set to attract Indian tourists this season," said chief of the (South) Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) Kim Jong-Min, who is here to market his country as a hot tourist spot.

First Published: May 01, 2006 11:33 IST