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What meltdown? Tourists from Punjab going everywhere

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS,

Chandigarh : The tourism industry in Punjab appears unaffected by the global financial meltdown, with thousands of tourists from the state still booking holidays everywhere.

Many national and international travel agents are coming here for the forthcoming India Travel Mart to take advantage of this situation and woo Punjabi tourists.

“Punjab is always a big market for travel agents and we have not seen any slump in number of tourists travelling from this region despite global recession,” Ajay Gupta, managing director of India Travel Mart, told IANS.

Talking about the popular trends among Punjab tourists, Gupta said: “Punjab is the most prosperous state in the country and people here do not mind spending money when it comes to travel. They are going to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Goa and in the international arena, Europe and other countries in South Asia are their favourites.”

He added: “The number of tourists from Punjab keeps on increasing and it is very difficult for us to keep a tab on the exact number.”

The three-day India Travel Mart, an international travel and tourism extravaganza, is being held here Feb 21-23.

“This is our annual event and we have been organising it at eight different cities of the country for the last 12 years. It is quite encouraging for us that every year we get maximum inquiries and trade from Punjab,” said Gupta.

“Last year also we got a positive response from 40 percent of the total inquiries that we got here; that was the maximum in the country.”

Malaysia is the partner country at the mart this year. The Singapore Tourism Board and the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority are also participating in the event. Tourism boards of various states are going to be here as well.

“Sensing a potential market in this region, Mauritius is coming to Punjab for the first time in search of business opportunities,” said Gupta.

He added: “We will offer a wide range of packages involving travel expenses, accommodation, meals and sightseeing. Our focus will be on promoting pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism, eco-tourism and health tourism at various destinations across the world.”

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])