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A conventional group tour to Europe includes must see destinations like London, Paris and Switzerland over a period of 10 to 15 days but next summer Indian travellers will be able to hop from one tour to another and visit destinations of their choice.
FCM Travel Solutions, which is one the largest players in the corporate travel segment, is foraying into group tours by offering customers the flexibility to choose dates and destinations in its group tours. FCM is a part of the Australian firm Flight Centre Travel Group.
The company has launched group tours to Dubai during Diwali and the Dubai Shopping festival that will take off next January. FCM will also roll out it's 2018 summer packages for Europe and South East Asia in January.
"We will have fixed departure dates and offer conventional packages too. But we are experimenting with the flexible tour concept and we think we are the first in India to do so. We believe there will be takers for this, especially among young travellers who want to have new experiences and travel with people with different nationalities," said Rakshit Desai, managing director of FCM Travel Solutions.
"Travelling in a group costs less and could be 20-30 per cent cheaper than travelling solo. There will be multi-lingual guides and vegetarian food too, though it need not be Indian," he said.
Travel sector experts feel launching group tours with hop-on offer is an ambitious move. "There could be logistical issues. A customer would opt for a mix of tours but what will happen if one of the tour is cancelled. Also for Indian travellers, food is important and the company would need to take care of it," an industry executive remarked.
Desai said there will be guaranteed departures and there should not be cancellations as seats on tour are being filled up globally.
According to Desai, the company is opening new stores in Ludhiana and Chennai and is also expanding in tier II and III towns.
"Group tours are the biggest segment in the organised travel segment and is growing 10-12 per cent. We have been selling holidays and cruises and want to leverage our expertise and we are also building a technological platform for distribution," he added.