Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) conducted its EduCon in Turkey from May 3-7 to familiarise its members with newer regions in Turkey. The association plans to conduct three more EduCons abroad this year
ANKITA SAXENA from TURKEY
As many as 45 travel agents participated in the familiarisation trip conducted by OTOAI in association with Turkish Indian Tourism Council (TITC) and Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Turkey. According to Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, a need was felt to explore newer destinations to meet the rising demand among Indian travellers. “The purpose of this EduCon was to experience a new region in Turkey apart from the usually travelled areas and get first-hand information so that travel agents can go back and promote these in their itineraries. The quality standard of services and value for money is the USP of the Muğla region. In terms of safety, we can guarantee our guests that it is safe, full of fun and enjoyment,” he said.
The educational trip covered the south-western region of Turkey on the Aegean Sea-Muğla province along with destinations like Dalyan, Köyceğiz, Marmaris, Akyaka, Içmeler, Fethiye, Kayaköy, Ölüdeniz and Göcek. Sahni further informed that OTOAI plans to conduct three more EduCons this year with the next one slated for July and the rest to follow subsequently. He said that the Muğla region can be promoted for segments like FIT, leisure, weddings, luxury, adventure, honeymooners and film tourism. Meetings and Incentives can also be boosted in this region from India. “We are planning to conduct a joint roadshow with the tourism department of Turkey to feature various regions of the country. Their low season up to June end and our high season of travel from April-July are a perfect match. I’d want the tour operators to come out with various itineraries for this region and experiment with customer satisfaction. I also request Turkey to propose advertisement projects in India.”
Azar A. H. Khan, Consulate General of India to Istanbul, commented that this EduCon is the first step towards promoting Turkey in India. “In 2016, tourism from India to Turkey had slowed down due to various incidents, but I believe this trip will be instrumental in restarting Indian tourist traffic to Turkey. We are also promoting tourism from Turkey to India. We issue almost 60 visas every day to India and hope that this two-way traffic grows.”
Gülara Alkaçır, Culture and Tourism Expert, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Turkey, informed that in 2016 approximately 20 DMCs from Turkey participated in OTM, SATTE and IITT in India to showcase various products. “India is an emerging market and we have set aside a considerable budget for marketing and promotional activities. We want to promote unexplored regions in Turkey. This year we hope to receive a million Indian tourists and this EduCon is the first step in that direction.”