Tourism board from Reunion Island, the French island on the Indian Ocean, was recently in the Indian capital New Delhi to promote the destination and present its new visual identity, ‘The Ultimate Island’.
Tour operators had gathered at a high-end hotel in New Delhi on September 27, for a presentation by representatives of Reunion Island. William Techer, head of marketing and promotion, India and Indian Ocean, from the French department, addressed the audience and presented and unveiled its new visual identity, ‘The Ultimate Island’.
Techer spoke about the diverse tourism options the island has to offer and mentioned various on-lands and in-water activities. These include sports and activities like hiking, climbing, via ferrata, lava caves visits, rafting, snorkelling, paragliding, helicopter tours and much more. He also highlighted the cultural affiliations that India and Reunion Island share and about how unique it is as a destination.
“Reunion Island is a different place and we have a lot to offer. If you want something different that is based on experience, come to Reunion Island,” he said in a conversation with Media India Group.
Reunion Island is a protected and preserved place and is classified among 34 biodiversity hotspots from around the world; its peaks, cirques, and ramparts are classified as UNESCO world heritage sites. The ‘Pito Maido’, a view point on the west of the island, is one of the most visited tourist spots there. The ‘Pito de la Fournaise’, an active volcano, is another major attraction.
These attractions have pulled many Indian tourists in the past and the tourism department is hopeful of further growth.
“From 2014 to 2016, the growth of the Indian tourists has been 15 to 25 pc and we hope we will reach the same for 2016-2017,” said Techer.
To tap more tourists the board has various strategies which they are putting in place.
“We are focusing on working with tour operators, B2B retailers and sellers because we need to train the right people who can sell Reunion Island and then also focus on consumer demand,” Techer explained.
“My main challenge this year is to have more Bollywood movies shot on the island. Because Indian people are keen on Bollywood movies, and we can have some shots of the island in the movies to attract more people,” Techer added.
Techer along with Vineet Gopal, Director, India, for Reunion Island, spoke on the visa process simplification for Indian tourists.
Tourists can now buy an entire package tour (flight and accommodation) from a travel agency in India offering Reunion Island as a destination; or the tourists can directly approach an incoming agency in Reunion Island, which shall process the Electronic Entry Visa Authority (ETA) for a maximum 15 day stay in Reunion Island; no visa is required for Indian nationals for these 15 days. Travellers can also book their flights and accommodations directly.
The island which has a tropical climate can be reached by Air Austral from Chennai, and is the only direct flight from India.