Like Cliff Richards sang, they are going where the sun shines brightly, they are going where the sea is blue; they’ve seen it on the movies, now they want to see if it is true. Holidayers from Coimbatore are going places
Teeing off in Thailand or Vietnam, bungee jumping in Australia where there’s a nip in the air, sightseeing in Switzerland or shopping in Singapore and Malaysia... Coimbatoreans are globetrotting this summer.
Till a few years ago, summer holidays meant a trip to North India — the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) and the hills (Delhi-Shimla-Kulu Manali) — or the cool climes of Ooty and Kodai. Today, people are in the mood to experiment, say travel operators. They also ask for customised packages. “We have a regular set of clients who head out on golf tours,” says Tony Nayagam, manager, Aloha Tours and Travels. “Africa is getting popular, so is Europe,” he says.
Nirupa Raj, manager, Ashok Travels, says customised packages, where people take in a new city and country at their own pace, are the flavour of the season. Coimbatore also has a moderate percentage of high-end travellers who seek a bespoke experience. That explains the popularity of adventure travel, safaris in the Kenyan jungles and Alaskan cruises.
Albert Sundar Raj, area manager (Coimbatore, Ooty and Coonoor), Pricol Travels, says summer is also when many college students head for internships abroad. They get a chance to experience the work culture there and also do a spot of sightseeing.
Peace and quiet
Closer home, he says, people are also rediscovering the hill stations of the South. The Nilgiris is popular, with people heading to smaller properties that offer peace and quiet and a respite from the touristy crowd. “A slew of new properties offer luxury and privacy, and cost upwards of Rs. 7,000 a night,” says Albert.
Businessman K.K. Chandrasekar and his group of seven friends from Tirupur and Coimbatore love golf. So much that they take up exclusive golf tours to Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. “We head out at least twice a year. Our local travel agent processes the visa and tickets and we tie up with agents in the visiting country for exclusive ‘six-nights, seven-days’ golf packages. It’s a great way for us to de-stress, because when you golf, you focus only on your game,” he says. The love for golf also sees the group driving down to Coimbatore thrice a week and to Ooty during weekends. Even when he travels alone on business, Chandrasekar tries to squeeze in a couple of hours for golf, “a perfect combination of business and pleasure”.
(all inclusive, per head)
Small is beautiful
Budget Rs. 20,000
A weekend in an upmarket resort in Munnar, Ooty, Kodaikanal or Wayanad. Stretch it by Rs. 5,000 and enjoy a medium-budget family holiday in Munnar, Valparai or Wayanad for a weekend. Or, head to the backwaters of Alleppey or Kumarakom. For the same sum, you could enjoy a short break in Colombo or Thailand
Travel in style
Budget Rs. 50,000
A two-night, three-day trip to Bangkok, a three-night, four-day trip to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, a Malaysia-Singapore combo, or a four- night, five-day trip to the Andamans, inclusive of Havelock
Sun,snow and shopping
Budget Within a lakh
A four-night, five-day package for Switzerland, Mauritius, Turkey or Dubai