India is one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world. In the current scenario, when India’s outbound tourist numbers are on the rise, the Visegrad Cooperation consisting of 4 countries namely Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia organised a five-city roadshow to tap the potential India market.
As a part of their marketing campaign, the Visegrad countries also popularly known as the European Quartet or the V4 group focused on promoting MICE and Leisure tourism this year.
Following current trends in global tourism each year, V4 group decides on new marketing plan of actions. Recent trends indicate that Indian travellers tend to visit couple of countries on one trip; hence the European Quartet provides the right platform to explore four exciting and enthralling European countries under one umbrella.
With tourist attractions such as Warsaw, Bratislava, Prague, Budapest and innumerable beauty and health spas, the Visegrad countries promise to offer Indian travellers a holistic travel experience.
The V4 group began with the roadshow from Mumbai on November 29, followed by Pune on November 30, Bangalore on December 2, Chennai on December 3 and finally in New Delhi on December 4.
On the last day of the roadshow in New Delhi, Deepti Tyagi from India Tourism Review spoke with each of the representatives from participating countries to find out the response to the event, the product offerings of individual countries and the tourist segments they intend to tap in the Indian market.
International Market Development Manager
The roadshow in all the five cities has been very positive. I feel that there is lack of awareness about Eastern Europe. There is a need to increase the number of awareness and promotional activities, which calls for a lot of investment. The destination product offerings are well developed, all it requires is effective marketing.
We organise FAM trips every year in collaboration with other countries as usually Indians do not travel to mono-destinations. We also organise entertainment events year round.
Hungary is a romantic destination with unique culture and history. We also wish to cater to the MICE segment. The country is adept at handling medium level conferences and business trips. We expect growth in the number of MICE groups in the coming years. India is surely a potential market. These roadshows gives us a good insight on the expectations of the individual markets. The rich cultural life, tailor made programs and high level services provided at a very reasonable cost makes Hungary an ideal destination. The B2B connections in the Indian market also need to be strengthened. We are also exploring opportunities to be featured in Bollywood movies.
Project Leader: ‘I Like Poland’ Campaign
The response to the roadshows in all the five cities has been very good. We have the biggest market in Mumbai. We are well aware of the fact that Poland will not be the choice of first time Indian travellers as their first preference will always be Western Europe. So, we are here to promote the destination among travellers planning their visit for the second or third time and who wants to look beyond Western Europe.
Poland is the biggest country in the region and is well connected with other countries like Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia. In future we would definitely like to promote Poland as a mono-destination as the cities are highly unique with distinctive architecture. But since currently the trend of the Indians travelling to Europe is such that they combine their travel with two to three other destinations, we are promoting Poland as a part of European Quartet.
The four distinct countries are linked by similar geography of Central Europe, culture and unique history, united by post-communist transformations and since 1st of May 2004, all the 4 countries are members of the European Union.
All the four countries share modern histories, values and views but are equally distinct in terms of languages, architectural structures, cuisines etc. Thus, offering a very distinctive experience to all the tourists while being in the same region of central Europe.
We would like to tap leisure and MICE segments. Poland is well developed to handle corporate clients. Most of the infrastructure including stadiums, highways and hotels are newly built. The country received 30 000 guest nights in the year 2012. Among Asian nations India is a key market for Poland. We recently launched a campaign titled ‘Come and find your story’. Next year we also plan to launch specialist training programme for tour operators to educate them on how to deal with Polish market. We are also planning FAM and study trips for tour operators in the year 2014.
Director of Foreign Office Departments
We are here to promote the country as a heritage destination with special focus on leisure and MICE segments of the market. To add value to our product offerings we would also love Indians to explore the Czech cuisine of which beer is an important part. Czech has many Indian restaurants to meet the taste requirements of Indian travellers. Czech Republic entered Indian market as a part of European Quartet in the year 2010. Most Indians are well aware of Prague but are still unaware of many other cities. There is a need to educate the travel agents and make complete itineraries for their clients and make their experience unique.
We also offer MICE incentives. In the year 2012, the country received 25 000 travellers from India. We also see a shift happening from Western European countries to the Eastern nations. Prague is highly popular among MICE groups. There are luxury castles around Prague. There are more than 100 golf courses which will ensure that MICE groups can indulge in outdoor activities while enjoying the historical architecture of the cities. The only challenge that we face currently is that India is a difficult structure of the travel market and it will take us some time to understand this difficult structure.
Head of Foreign Affairs Department
Slovakia Tourism Board
Slovakia is a perfect destination for leisure holiday to spa treatments and wellness. Modern cities and their surroundings are supported by infrastructure, quality and service. The country is brimming with unspoiled natural beauty. Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia has in the last few years become one of the fastest growing conference cities in Europe. The cities and towns of the destination are rich with historical heritage from all periods. Kosice is the European Capitol of Culture 2013.
Apart from culture and natural sites listed on UNESCO World Heritage, the destination is also popular for traditional gastronomy and its wines.