Tailor made tours and bespoke holidays are on the rise in India. The new big thing is personalized tour packages: all you have to do is, contact your tour partner with your requirements and voila you get a holiday package that fits you just so. Different groups of people can, and are, opting for packaged holidays but personalizing it to their needs and interests.
Madhav Pai, COO, Thomas Cook, said “An increasing number of requests are made for longer stays at a specific city, with a relaxed itinerary. People want to discover destinations at leisure-at their time and their pace, allowing for spending quality time in one destination.”
Packaged tours are holidays where itinerary, visas, tickets and other hassles of travelling are taken care of and all you have to do is cut a cheque. This works well for many, but a group of retired people can’t simply join any existing group tour–not all 70 year olds can go off on a 16 city tour, walking for hours or jumping into trains that take off on the dot.
In today’s cash rich-time poor world, holidays bring in that element of balance- to relax and rejuvenate. No wonder the growth in holidays has been almost meteoric.
Madhav Pai puts is well: “Travel remains the ultimate stress buster!” But this growth is also because tour operators are now offering people the option to customize an existing package. Depending on your needs and requirements (or just how fussy you are) you can change elements of a particular package. “We offer our customers the space to travel independently while leveraging the value pricing of our group tours,” he says. “On such Fusion packages, for instance, you can opt for a separate car for yourself, with a sightseeing tour based on your interest.” I give you one word: flexibility. That is the only way forward for packaged tours and most tour operators have started adopting this policy including Thomas Cook India.
My best friend’s mother is about 70 and just got both her knees replaced. She was to have this operation last year but pushed it because, if you can believe it, she thought it might be a better idea to visit South Africa first.
They have been avid travelers all their lives but recently, nearing 70, they have been travelling more than ever. Only last year they went to a few cities in Europe and last November they went off to SA. Intrigued by this, I enquired and found that there is a certain Senior Citizen Club in the area of South Delhi where they live and the oldies of this club get together and plan an annual vacation.
The club decides on a country, gives their requirements to a travel agent who comes back with pricing and itinerary. The members then freeze the itinerary, date and duration–and any member can join in. These packages are not always cheap but old people get encouraged by the idea of travelling with friends and not having the hassle of planning.
Retired people across the world travel a lot but in India this is a fairly new trend. We are only now learning to indulge ourselves a bit and not think of money spent on vacation as money wasted; money that could have been FD-ed for a grandchild’s future.