Taj Lake Palace_InsightINSIGHT Vacations managing director Joost Timmer has stressed the importance of the trade in driving new bookings for its India product, but conceded that some agents are yet to realise the full potential of the destination.

After launching into India three years ago, Insight has reported “strong uptake” for its six India itineraries, with many Australian travellers opting to add on tours to Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal.

While average group sizes remain “quite small” at 25 passengers, Timmer claimed that visitor numbers to India had almost doubled from 2014 to 2015 following the launch of a new coach fleet.

“We are starting to get some solid traction, and the appointment of Bollywood actress Lisa Ray as our India ambassador has resonated really well with Australian audiences,” he told travelBulletin.

However, Timmer also noted that some Australians view India as a destination associated with poverty and “Delhi belly”, and there is still “some way to go” until perceptions shift among consumers and the trade. “We are working really hard to promote India as a high end destination and to break through some of the perceptions of India,” he said. “For us, India is a bought product, not a sold product. It really takes consumers to ask for India at the moment and that’s something we need to change.”

However, he also stressed that agents were key to Insight’s success in India: “Everything we do centres around trade activity and the bulk of our business comes through our trade partners. We will continue our road shows and series of webinars because it’s crucial for us that agents have a good understanding of the destination.”

Insight’s Colours of Rajasthan itinerary is a Gold Tour that takes in Delhi, the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Udaipur over 11-days. Priced from $4525, highlights include a rickshaw ride in Delhi, a visit to the City Palace in Udaipur, travel to the Mehrangarh Fort and the Palace of Winds. 

Group sizes are capped at 40 passengers.

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