to the icebergs of antarctica and beyond
By Sangeetha Neeraja
Keeping up with the changing times in the world of travel, sub-agents in Chennai are taking initiative of designing offbeat packages. They are coming up with interesting packages to exotic locales. For those whose dreams extend to trekking the Icy plains of Antarctica, as part of the National Geographic Exploration team, World Travel Club is in serious research networking mode, with their plans of coming up with exciting packages by mid-2008. Quoting Srimathy of World Travel Club, "These are uncharted icy waters, and we have to tread very carefully. There are two ways of reaching Antarctica - one is by taking the vessel while another is a combination of chopper and vessel, which will shorten travel time."
He continues, "The best time of the year to travel is between November and February, where it is summer in the southern hemisphere. For a shorter trip of four days and three nights, one can take a chopper from Chile and half way through travel in a vessel to reach the frosty landscape of Antarctica, while on the longer route one would spend 12 nights and 11 days in a vessel." Srimathy adds, "The Antarctica package is targeted at the up-market, and I am sure the response will be good, as this will be once in a life time experience."
"Recently we did the tour planning for a set of golfers from Chennai, who wanted a destination which was competitively priced, with no comprise on luxury. We identified the less-explored Vietnam, with its amazingly beautiful stretches of golf courses, much cheaper than the more famous Greek golf courses," says Srimathy, adding that there is more to South East Asia, than shopping and luxury beach stays.
Honeymoon packages are also high on demand these days. At the World Travel Club, tour designers craft packages to suit the taste and the expectations of customers, most of whom ask for destinations like Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, New Zealand, and Australia. World Travel Club also organises festival or carnival packages for occasions like Chinese New Year, Singapore Independence Day and corrida de toros (Spanish Bull fights).
South American destinations are popular, too. Thanks to Emirates' recent launch of direct flights from Dubai to Sao Paulo, Brazil, these destinations have become more affordable. Pegasus Tours & Travels is planning to launch tour packages by mid 2008 for must see places in Brazil like the beaches of Rio, Christ the Redeemer, an Amazon cruise and the Iguaçu falls located in the Iguaçu National Park, at the border of Brazil and Argentina. It is also looking at Machu Picchu in Peru to lure the outbound travellers from India. "The Indian tourism market is opening up in a big way for the inbound segment, too. At this point, we feel there is a shortage of good travel guides in India, and we really need an academy to train and fill in the gap," voices Raghunath, another sub-agent.
Thus, to meet the interesting demands of their clientele, tour operators are willing to cruise the extra mile- even if that means crossing icebergs and beyond to the mystique rivers of the Amazon. This only goes to show that the sub-agents are slowly but surely evolving and moving beyond their traditional roles of merely being ticketing agents to being package designers and even consultants.