Refining the Indian palate

Reunion Island witnessed an approximate growth of 68 per cent in Indian tourist arrivals in 2016. The tourism board is taking up promotional activities such as Fam tours, training chefs and organising a food festival in Chennai.

Reunion Island offers a wide range of breathtaking landscapes and abundant scenic beauty. “Travellers looking for a new destination have opted for Reunion Island. Our major asset is the active and safe volcano–Piton de la Fournaise. The Island has tropical climate and is extremely rich in flora and fauna. A combination of beaches and mountains – Piton de Neiges – the highest peak; diversity in nature; spa and wellness; gastronomic experiences and fresh water activities are on offer at the destination,” says Rasika Mathur, Senior Manager Sales & Marketing-India, Tourism Board of Reunion Island. She further points out that as 22 per cent of the population is Indian origin, Reunion Island has a high VFR traffic from India, especially the South.

Vineet Gopal, DirectorIndia, Tourism Board of Reunion Island, informs that the destination is expecting a higher double digit growth in 2017. To promote the destination, the tourism board is working very closely with the B2B and B2C agents and is focusing on educating tour operators and travel agents. “Visa procedure has also been simplified for Indian travellers. Connection to Reunion Island has been made easy with Air Austral which operates a non-stop flight between Chennai and Reunion Island twice a week in interline connection with Air India from various cities in India,” says Gopal.

Mathur explains that for 2017, the tourism board has designed various sales and marketing plans which includes promoting the destination through electronic, print and social media; participating in various travel events; organising roadshows for the travel trade partners; conducting familiarisation trips; revamping the website etc. Also, there are special training programs for chefs on preparing Indian cuisine in the pipeline. Reunion Island is organising a food festival in Chennai in February 2017 to showcase the local Creole cuisine to Indian travellers.

“Our initial focus is on packages and promoting the destination with 6N/7D package. The package can be clubbed with neighbouring islands, as Reunion Island is only 45 minutes by air from its closet neighboring Island Mauritius. Itineraries can be designed and customised as per the requirements of the tourists,” adds Gopal. The cost of the package differs depending on the number of days, hotel category and activities tourists choose. According to Mathur, adventure activities both hard and soft are offered which no other island destination can offer. Trekking along the volcano; playing with dolphins, whale watching, deep sea fishing, paragliding, micro flights etc. are some of the popular leisure activities amongst Indians. Reunion Island witnessed an approximate growth of 68 per cent in Indian tourist arrivals in 2016. The tourism board is taking up promotional activites such as Fam tours, training chefs and organising a food festival in Chennai.

Island Connection
Air Austral operates a non-stop flight between Chennai and Reunion Island twice a week in interline connection with Air India from various cities in India.

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