Calcutta, Sept. 11: The dwindling number of international flights out of the city doesn’t seem to be stopping Calcuttans from taking to the skies this Puja, with “most seats to south east Asia in October already full”.
Cashing in on the Bengali’s legendary wanderlust is the Singapore Travel Mart, which is touring the four metros—Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi and Chennai—to showcase tourist spots in that country.
In Calcutta, on its second leg after Mumbai, the Singapore fair recreated bird parks and entertainment islands, an underwater world and zoo at a city hotel.
“The reason the eastern region lags behind other parts of the country in terms of visitors to Singapore is the number of flights, which is much less than even the south,” Singapore Tourism Board regional director (south and west Asia) Vimal Harnal said. “But I am happy to say that for the Puja season, all flights to Singapore are already fully booked, with long waiting lists. The potential is there, but the means of travel is a bit limited.”
India is the focus of the Singapore Travel Bazaar for obvious reasons. “It is the largest tourist market in the South Asian region, specially since the volume of travellers from here has been increasing at a steady pace,” said Harnal.
“Last year, of course, figures had dropped, but this year we have already registered about a 6 to 8 per cent rise in the number of Indian tourists to Singapore. They spend about $ 1,500 per visit, compared with $ 639 spent by other nationals. They also stay longer. Usually, Indians comprise about 4 per cent of the around seven-and-a-half million tourists to Singapore every year.”