India loses a lot of ground in the German market
India has lost ground in the German market as a result of the rape cases that have damaged the destination’s image, TTG Asia reports.
Marco Polo Reisen suffered a 15% drop to India in 2013, with managing director Holger Baldus saying “the drop has not reached the bottom yet”.
Michael Frese, CEO of REWE Touristik, reported a “substantial decrease”, while Thomas Tischler, president of Tischler Reisen, said that on average India is down 25% for German tour operators.
“This is the sort of issue that spoils the reputation of a country. It’s a disaster,” Frese said.
“The [negative] image people have right now of India is unfair as India is a super country, its people very welcoming. India should do something,” he added.
Travellers to India are a different clientele from the beach holiday market to places such as Bali and Thailand, Frese said. “They go on roundtrips for the culture and for education. I don’t think they are afraid. They are not comfortable or do not want to support the destination. It’s all about perception.”
Making matters worse, departures cannot be made when the minimum number of pax is short even by a few. “If 10 people are secured and 15 is the minimum number, you can’t run the tour. A retail agency then tells his client, well, the last tour was cancelled, so there is no guarantee if this one would go, I recommend you go somewhere else.”
Baldus said: “Sales are down despite a weak rupee and lower hotel rates. Prices are down at least 10%. India is such fantastic value for money, yet travellers feel it’s not the right time. They don’t feel safe.”
[photo courtesy India Tourism]