A specialist road tour operator plans to gain a foothold in the UK market by developing relationships with the trade in this country.
India-based Adventures Overland, which operates 25 road trips in 80 countries with its fleet of 10 cars, is laying down roots in the UK after generating more than 50,000 global enquiries recently in a week.
In the last year, around 50 UK customers have taken a trip with the operator, but all of them booked directly.
Co-founder Tushar Agarwal said UK agents can use net prices to sell Adventures Overland’s trips but they would not be paid commission on top of the mark-up they make from the booking.
However, he said he and co-founder Sanjay Madan were “open” to the idea of offering commission with certain trade members.
Via agents, customers can book a car drive between Delhi and London via 18 countries lasting two months.
Agarwal, who recently completed a 55-day drive from Iran to Westminster, said: “We recently generated 50,000 enquiries in a week so that gives you an idea of the big market out there.
“That’s why we had this idea of having a footprint in the UK. We’ve been focusing on India for so many years.”
He added: “If we had a good reputation in the UK we could do some good business and more and more people could get to hear about our business and this form of transport.”
Agarwal wants to start conversations with agents who sell “off-beat trips” in Africa, India and South Africa.
“There’s a big gap in the market,” he said.
World Travel Market, ITB Berlin and Arabian Travel Market have been identified by Agarwal as opportunities to widen trade distribution.
“We’re going to meet like-minded travel companies from the UK,” he said.
“The interest we received was global, but a significant proportion came from the UK, which has given us encouragement to set up here and trial a variety of other road trips,” he said.
“We are seeing demand being driven by over-25s with a mixture of solo travellers, couples, senior citizens and even families keen to explore as many places as possible in a short period of time.”
From the end of 2022, Brits will be able to fly to India in 2023 to take part in two-week road trips around the Himalayas, Nepal, and Rajasthan.
Prices for the 54-night Trans-Himalayan Expedition from Srinagar to Guwahati start from £18,500.
The Royal Rajasthan Drive, lasting 14 nights, leads in from £3,950.
Accommodation, meals, private airport transfers, self-drive 4×4 vehicle, fuel, toll fees and maintenance charges are included in the price. A support vehicle with all the necessary equipment is provided by Adventures Overland.