India loves Reunion Island – that is abundantly clear. So it wasn’t surprising when Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) made a big splash at recent events held in India.
After being voted best emerging tourist destination in India in 2015, the Reunion Island continues its charm offensive to Indian travel professionals. Reunion Island Tourism (IRT) earlier this month participated in B2B events in Nagpur and Pondicherry.
Since August 2014, Indian travel and tour agencies, organizing stays of less than fifteen days on Reunion Island, have been accredited to provide Indian citizens traveling with them on package tours with a visa waiver.
This procedure is valid for all Indian passport holders residing in India and in any part of the world. Increasing the visibility and reputation of Reunion Island in India and to increase arrivals from India to Reunion Island have since then been a key priority in IRT’s global marketing strategy, and the increase in visitor numbers has affirmed the validity of the steps taken.
Global Panorama Showcase
The Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) was held in Nagpur (India) from January 8-10, 2016. This professional event allowed Cathydja Patel, in charge of promotion for ESRD in India, to meet with tourism specialists and travel agents in the region and present Reunion Island’s many varied tourism attractions to her audience.
The event attracted nearly 100 exhibitors from the tourism sector and more than 500 visitors flocked to the Reunion Island stand during the three days.
For the IRT, the GPS provided the opportunity to raise the profile of Reunion Island in this particular Indian market and increase sales to Reunion Island.
Additionally, some 75 travel agents were trained about the destinations, and over 100 new trade contacts were made there.
The generous stand space allowed travel agents to linger and take their time to discover the attractions of Reunion Island. Be it visits for a honeymoon or to play golf, two themes were highly popular in India, and those aspects were of particular interest to the Indian travel professionals. A new destination video posted on site also helped to establish the attractiveness of Reunion Island for visiting agents, being able to see the island from the ground and from the air.
The first edition of Destination Forum was held on January 12 in partnership with the representatives of three French regions present in Tamil Nadu, including Reunion Island, and the island’s home airline, Air Austral. The event was held at the residence of the Consulate General in Pondicherry, a central and attractive place.
The Forum allowed Anne-Laure Payet to promote Reunion Island in India and to make initial contact with new agencies to better understand their needs and be able to communicate marketing efforts better to key partners in the Indian market. The objectives of Reunion Island Tourism revolved around three axes:
1. Train tour operators about the meeting destination
2. Document the tour operators on the island
3. Encourage tour operators to sell the destination
The Destination Forum program was divided into three distinct parts:
• The workshop helped to meet and interact with new representatives of tour operators based in Pondicherry by introducing Reunion Island to them.
• The presentations of the regions have helped to focus on the destination. The new Reunion Island destination video presentation really impressed these tour operators.
• The B2B round-table sessions led to interesting exchanges.
Indian agencies have shown a keen interest in destination Reunion Island. Some of them, like Travels, Hello Happiness, and Easyway, expressed their willingness to expand sales to Reunion Island.