With an aim to tap the potential for overseas travel from Gujarat, online travel firm Makemytrip.com has come up with the idea to start chartered flights between Ahmedabad and Turkey for the upcoming season during April to June.
Terming Gujarat as the ‘tourism capital of India’, referring to the wanderlust of the Gujarati community, Keyur Joshi, co-founder and chief operating officer of Makemytrip.com said, “The tourism potential between the two countries is immense, however, it is largely untapped as there are not many scheduled flights. On top of that, the flights that connect Istanbul (Turkey) from Mumbai and Delhi are also quite expensive.” His company is thus aiming to tap the potential of India’s growing middle class who can afford an international trip, if they get the correct value proposition.
Joshi feels that Ahmedabad has a lot of potential with affluent and travel thirsty people, who would venture into destinations like Turkey which have a unique blend of European and Asian cultures. Makemytrip has tied up with a Turkish carrier, Atlas Jet to operate the chartered flights between Ahmedabad and Cappadocia (Turkey). The all-inclusive package would start from around Rs 83,000.
E Sabri Ergen, consul general of Turkey said that Turkey gets around 100,000 tourists from India every year. This is only a small fraction of the overall 20 million tourists that the country hosts every year. Even while around 17 million tourists travel overseas every year, only a small portion visits Turkey, which is hardly a seven-hour flight from here. The main issue, as Joshi highlighted, was that of connectivity, and if infrastructure for operating small flights was improved, India’s domestic tourism potential could almost quadruple, he felt.
Makemytrip.com would also operate these weekly chartered flights from Amritsar to Turkey. It expects at least 2,000 tourists to board the jet from Ahmedabad this season, and hope to take the number up to 10,000 people very soon.