Bengalis planning exotic Durga Puja getaways to Israel, Finland

Most people are heading to off-beat destinations including Japan, Jordon, Egypt, South Korea, and Croatia.

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Jerusalem old city at sunset.
NEW DELHI: Tour operator Cox & Kings announced on Friday that it has observed a considerable demand from West Bengal travellers for exotic destinations this Durga Puja season that begins in October. The off-beat locations trending on the list are Japan, Jordon, Egypt, Israel, Finland, South Korea and Croatia. Others that are trending are South Africa, Philippines, Seychelles, Maldives, Vietnam, China and Cambodia. The demand for these destinations has grown by about 30% in the West Bengal market compared to the same period last year, the company said.

This is in addition to European destinations such as the UK, France, Switzerland and Germany which are amongst the all-time favourites. Cox & Kings said it witnessed a 20% increase in demand to these destinations compared to the same period last year.

Karan Anand, head of relationships at Cox & Kings said: “Travel is significant in the lives of people in West Bengal and Durga Puja is the favourable time to pack their travel bags. One of the primary factors causing the shift to exotic destinations during this period is the much significant voice of the new generation. While the families continue to travel in groups, the millennials in them seem to be explorers and demand something new.”

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Finland.

The shift in interest can also be attributed to better accessibility. Kolkata is conveniently connected with major South East Asian hubs including Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Dubai and Qatar that offers them an easy gateway to all the off-beat destinations in Eastern and Central Europe. West Bengal is well connected to the rest of the world, thanks to airlines including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Thai Airways, Dragon Air (Hong Kong), Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, China Eastern Air etc.

The basic parameter to decide a location still remains its 'Experiential' aspect for the Bengalis. They are fine with changing their routes and ultimate destinations to seek valuable experience. How immersive is a holiday, remains the deciding factor for a Bengali traveller. They wish to step out and witness the local culture, enjoy the local cuisine and meet the local people. This is yet another factor fuelling the exotic travel trend.
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Japan.

Anand added: “While Kolkata remains the main hub for demand for outbound travel, other cities including Durgapur and Siliguri have also started contributing considerably. An interesting new trend is the increased demand from the North East, especially Guwahati in Assam. We have seen a growth of between 15-18% from this region compared to the same period last time.”
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West Bengal is also one of the top source markets for domestic tourism in India. While, Goa, Rajasthan, Kashmir, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and the Andaman Islands are all destinations that continue to woo Bengali travellers, the North East destinations including Gangtok, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Manipur are also attracting the West Bengal travellers. Cox & Kings also observed an increased traffic to destinations including Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

All-inclusive holiday packages topped the list of product preference for the West Bengal travellers.

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