Foreign operators queuing up for Bollywood tours

Guess who is making a beeline for Bollywood tours? Foreign tour operators, especially those from Europe and Australia, say a company that organises trips to film sets and to the residences of popular movie stars.

Bollywood Tourism, the company, says it is getting an amazing response from foreign tour operators at the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) which kicked off here Sunday.

“The response we have got has been amazing. Apart from the NRI market, we are also witnessing a huge amount of interest from countries like Europe and Australia,” Poonam Arora, head marketing and operations, Bollywood Tourism, said at the GITB exhibition.

The ratio of Indian and foreign tour operators coming to the stall is 30:70, she said.

With each tour, the company offers visits to film sets where shooting is in progress. While the cost of a full day trip is $150, a half day journey costs $125. India, after all, has one of the largest filmmaking industries in the world, churning out over 1,000 movies every year.

“Film and television stars are a common sight at these sets. However, we do not guarantee meeting them,” said Arora.

Talking about the interest in Bollywood among foreign nationals, she said the industry had become an international brand, giving tourism a new dimension.

Bollywood movies are highly popular in foreign markets. Also, with English subtitles, more and more foreigners are getting curious about the making of these films, she added.

The company has partnered industry leaders such as Balaji Telefilms, Big ND studios, Whistling Woods and Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares academy.

The tour also offers customised products, which include sari draping sessions, portfolio creation and makeover sessions, which are very popular among the foreigners.

An initiative of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), GITB aims at establishing a global platform to stimulate and promote inbound tourism to India.

The objective of the three-day long event is to reinforce India as a world class tourism destination and provide opportunity to interact with foreign buyers, policy makers, investors and focus on inbound tourism.

The mart has around 220 Indian exhibitors and 200 foreign tour operators from across 50 countries. By Priyanka Sahay