Somak Holidays has reported a 5% increase in its Indian tours programme since diversifying its operation in the wake of the troubles in Kenya.

Marketing manager Louise Newton said Kenya accounted for around 40% of the operators’ sales before the destination descended into politically-driven violence.

In the New Year the violence caused the death of about 1,000 people.

She admitted that sales in January and February were down due to the bad publicity and problems in the country.

The operator launched its first India-only brochure in January and is reporting an increase in sales to the destination as a result. India accounts for around 20% of the operator’s sales.

Newton said: “We put the brochure together in four days. We were able to do this ­because we are owned by an Indian family and we’ve been operating in India for 40 years.”

Newton said the first ­edition brochure offers trips in 2008/09 and that the destination is becoming increasingly popular with the luxury market. The move is also part of the Somak’s efforts to broaden its product range and become known as a long-haul specialist.

She added: “Kenya is coming back but everybody who was thinking about visiting it for the first time this year will now probably wait another 12 months before going.”

Somak said the operator is marketing the Indian programme to the trade and last month held a dinner at ­Hatfield House in Hertfordshire attended by 70 agents. The company is also driving sales by offering the agent who makes the most bookings in the next three months a free holiday in India.

Newton said: “The agents are going out of their way and setting up their own marketing campaigns as they want to win the holiday.”