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Title: Indian tourists want to hurl tomatoes in Spain
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Spain is amongst the biggest tourism destinations woldwide, but has never been a popular choice for Indians. However, egged by the popularit...

Spain is amongst the biggest tourism destinations woldwide, but has never been a popular choice for Indians. However, egged by the popularity of the Hrithik Roshan-Katrina Kaif starrer, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD), tour operator SOTC is marketing a seven-day Spain package, highlighting the La Tomatina festival.
SOTC, the outbound travel brand of Kuoni, claims it is the first Indian travel company to organise a trip to the festival, made popular in India by the movie. La Tomatina or the tomato festival is held in the southern Spanish city of Bunol on the last Wednesday of August. Revellers hurl tomatoes on each other in friendly fights, in a tradition that goes back to 1945.

Kashmira Commissariat, chief operating officer (outbound division) of Kuoni India, said: “There has been a surge in demand (for Spain). We do have several packages to Spain but this is for the first time we have organised an exclusive package to the La Tomatina festival. The response has been good and we have received a lot of inquiries from couples and young people who want adventure and to experience culture.”

That Bollywood movies have fuelled tourism is evident from the fact that SOTC and a Swiss tour company signed an agreement with Yash Raj Films last year. This deal would enable Indian travellers to visit all the locales where Yash Raj movies were filmed, including Chandni, Darr and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

“Destinations use the medium of films for promotions and they encourage film shootings. For example, New Zealand shot into prominence after Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai hit. Similarly, Malaysia benefited with the release of Don, starring Shah Rukh Khan. We have seen a demand in travel to these destinations and lately, with a film shot in Spain, we have been getting inquiries for the destination as well,” said Neelu Singh, COO of online portal Ezeego1.com.

However, Thomas Cook’s chief operating officer, Madhav Pai, has a different take. “Movies do have an impact but that is not the sole factor. Connectivity is important. Hindi Films are being shot in Prague, Russia, Estonia and Greece, but those destinations have not become popular. We started promoting group tours to Spain three years ago. Spain has always been included as an added attraction to the regular 15-20 day European tours. It has not been an integral part of the tours because of its geographical location.”

 

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