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Friday, 16 December, 2016, 16 : 09 PM [IST]

‘Tanzania is a diverse destination catering to all the segments’ Vinay Sapra

Vinay Sapra - Founder and CEO, Lifestyle Safaris & Holidays in a conversation with TravelBiz Monitor throws light on their product offerings, target segments and growing focus on the Indian market along with ZTPC.

Q. What are the products & services offered by Lifestyle Safaris?
A. Lifestyle Safaris & Holidays is predominantly a bespoke and tailor-made service provider for travellers seeking an authentic travel or safari experience. Our valued partners/clients receive personalised services by our team of expert travel designers and every itinerary is intricately crafted after a close and detailed discussion.

We endeavour to offer services as required by our partners/clients – e.g. the hire of an exclusive villa; private air charters; group safari; balloon safaris; river-boat safari; beach holidays; mountain climbing and short mountain excursions; scenic flights; camping safaris and adventure activities, VIP Lounge use, etc. Our aim is to satisfy the client’s needs which we go the extra mile to deliver. We are not confined to a standard list, we are open to discussion and try to stretch our imaginations where required, to meet customer needs.

Our biggest strength is in the vast knowledge, experience and network we have harnessed in the tourism industry in East Africa over the years where we can leverage extensively on rates, value added service delivery and enhanced guest experiences for our clients.

Q. Do you receive tourists from India? Which segments they belong to?
A. We do receive tourists from the Indian Sub Continent. Most of them are from tour operators who sell East Africa and increasingly, direct clients as well who have been recommended to use Lifestyle Safaris by their relatives or friends. Most of them do a combination of mid-range properties to high-end as a highlight. However, we are seeing an increase in high-end travellers seeking luxury and finesse where they are ready to spend on the luxurious comforts and use five-star properties. We are also seeing an increase in adventure travellers where they want to trek Mt Kilimanjaro, go on river rafting, kite surfing, adventure camping, etc. so we are delighted to see this vast array of tourists from India and various age groups too - from young entrepreneurs, college graduates to generational travellers where the entire family the grandparents to the grand children are travelling together.

Q. How is Lifestyle Safaris working with Zanzibar Tourism Promotion Centre (ZTPC) to increase customers from India?
A. We have a very fluid relationship with ZTPC India Office and we highly recommend the phenomenal job they are doing in promoting Zanzibar in India. Jilesh and his team are increasing brand awareness about Zanzibar extensively, and thanks to them we are slowly seeing an increase in demand for Indian clients wanting to go to Zanzibar after their bush or Kilimanjaro treks. We work hand in hand with ZTPC India as and when required - they have our full support similar to what get from them.

Q. How many Indian customers have you welcomed in till date?
A. We have just started our operations in February this year so our numbers will be low however as I have a good network of agents, we are seeing increased requests coming in and to date, to quantify the exact numbers is not easy as we have some bookings in hand for 2017 and so forth. For 2016, I can confidently say we have handled 13 bookings/57 pax from India directly, and around 6 Bookings/25 pax from Indian passport holders, but residing out of India.

Q. Are you engaging with travel agents in India?
A. Currently, I am receiving bookings from a handful of agents and people I know. It is basically the relationships I have built with them over the years that I am seeing this growth. However, I plan to make a sales trip to India and join a few roadshows through ZTPC India or other partners.

Q. As Tanzania is a high-end destination, what kind of itineraries are you offering?
A. Tanzania is such a diverse destination that it caters to all the segments, making it unique. Tanzania is a not high-end destination, Tanzania is a high-spend destination compared to other countries due to so many diverse activities it offers so the per person spend is higher. We try to offer unique experiences and off-the-beaten-trek activities which I am happy to say is working very well with the Scandinavian and Western European markets, however, with

Indian, US and Far East markets, we have seen they tend not to experiment so much and want to stick to the main areas, therefore we try to stick to the mainstream itineraries of Northern Circuit of Arusha-Ngorongoro - Serengeti - Manyara -Tarangire and then head to Zanzibar to soak in some sun & Sand / alternatively, Southern Tanzania that inclues, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha and Mikumi, and not forgetting Western Tanzania where one can meet with the chimpanzees and experience a complete different facet of activity. We also combine many Tanzania safaris with Kenya / Rwanda/ Uganda.

Q. What are the top source markets for Lifestyle Safari in terms of arrivals globally?
A.Lifestyle Safaris & Holiday’s current source markets in priority rankings are: US, Scandinavia, India, UK, Western Europe and the Far East. This is also what I target and want to keep growing within these geographical areas, especially seeing a higher potential in India and Far East as strong growth markets.

Q.How would you like to position Tanzania & Zanzibar in the Indian market?
A. Tanzania, including Zanzibar is a diverse destination. I would position Tanzania, including Zanzibar in the Indian market as

  • A destination where one needs to come with time
  • A destination where one needs to experience different things, from culture, history, sights, beach, safaris, mountains etc and not confined to safaris only
  • Tanzania, including Zanzibar is culturally rich offering diverse sights and sounds
  • Tanzania is immersive & experiential - you can become one with the locals and enjoy that experience / one with nature and wildlife
  • National Parks are not fenced.
  • Don’t come with a pre-defined image in your mind, keep your mind open and absorb and learn new things
  • In the Indian Sub-continent, Kenya and South Africa are very well known. However, what Tanzania offers is distinctly different and second to none in East Africa.
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