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More and more globetrotting Indians are turning experimental

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Clinton Lerm, owner, South African Forest Adventures, speaks about the shift of Indian travellers’ preferences from regular holidays to niche and specialised holidays

How has been the response generated to The Cape Adventure Day tour since its launch?

We are extremely happy with the response received for The Cape Adventure Day package. This package was created for our Indian travellers who love to do a lot of activities in just one day. The eight-hour tour offers adventure activities such as tree top zipline, sandboarding, quad biking along the mountains and vineyards, visit to the African Jackass Penguins’ at Stony Point and the coastal town of Hermanus. The highlight of this one-day tour, is the ‘Clarence Drive’, one of the most scenic roads in the world. This beautiful, coastal drive over 22 km, embraces the wild turquoise Cape coastline all the way. The viewing points along this road also provide the opportunity to spot whales and dolphins. The package also includes lunch at a sea side restaurant and a pick drop from your hotel in Cape Town too.

How has been business from Indian travellers?

India is our core market after domestic. We have achieved an incremental number of visitors from India since our commitment to the market in the last six years. Our figures annually at all of our adventure sites are just below 9,000 visitors. We opened our dedicated India office earlier this year in Mumbai which gives our Indian travel partners the flexibility to check on availability and book instantly. Our Indian agents also have the option of paying in Indian currency.

What are the promotional strategies for 2018?

For 2018, our sales and marketing efforts will continue to concentrate on the keys cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Gujarat, Pune and Ahmedabad. This year, we will also be targeting the Tier III cities of India. We are exploring the opportunity of brochure participation with key tour operators as well as participation in trade shows, which definitely includes SA Tourism annual roadshow. Apart from this we will continue to disseminate regular product updates to the Indian travel trade.

Any new products planned for the future?

Very Soon, we will also be opening one of the world’s longest zipline in Knysna, which will be approximately five km. This will help us cover the garden route. We are sure it will be a good product for our Indian experiential travellers. Our white water rafting season has also started which is operational until the next three months. We also have a huge array of adventure activities that you could choose from such as quad biking, zip lining in Cape Town as well as Hermanus, sandboarding, river rafting and more. With its close proximity from Cape Town, all of these activities are a surreal for those visiting on a tight schedule.

What’s your observation on the changing Indian traveller preferences?

There has been a visible shift in Indian travellers’ preferences from regular holidays to niche and specialised holidays. More and more globetrotting Indians are turning experimental, looking to customise trips and are opting for adventure and newer experiences. Travel agents have also been working round the clock to give the outbound Indian traveller unique experiences within a fixed number of days as well as the right budget. New travel groups that have evolved over the years such as solo travellers, women groups, senior citizens and young travellers are seeking adventure too in their travel itineraries. The Indian outbound traveller is now moving beyond city experiences and venturing into the surrounds, which offer a variety of experiences including winery visits, nature and water-based activities, amongst others. South African Forest Adventures is definitely benefiting from this trend.