On Monday evening over 60 tour operators, travel agents, airlines, hoteliers, and media attended a ‘River Cruising in India’ event hosted by the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) with the support of India Tourism and Taj Hotels and Resorts. The event, part of AITTC’s “Know India Better” program, was held at Manjits @ The Wharf, an award-winning Indian Restaurant located on Sydney Harbour.
In India, river cruise holidays are relatively new but, in recent years, luxury operators have begun offering the holy Ganges, the Brahmaputra River, and the backwaters of Kerala.
“Drawing global attention is the [cruise] along the legendary Brahmaputra River in North-East India, aboard luxury vessel MV Mahabaahu,” Sandip Hor, Chairman of AITTC, said in his opening remarks.
“While this voyage can match up with any European river cruise in terms of accommodation and onboard facilities, Indian hospitality comes in as a lucrative bonus,” he added, having had the opportunity himself to experience the MV Mahabaahu on the Brahmaputra River earlier this year.
MV Mahabaahu is India’s first luxury riverboat, and has been cruising the mighty Brahmaputra since 2012. Sanjay Basu, Chairman of the Far Horizons group of companies, said the vessel, owned and operated by Adventure Resorts & Cruises (one of Far Horizon’s subsidiary companies) has 23 centrally air-conditioned staterooms, elegant décor, and North East Indian hospitality. Mr Basu said the journey introduces guests to all the flavours of Assam – from history, culture, cuisine and lifestyle, to one-horned rhinos at the world famous Kaziranga National Park.
Guests also heard from Kanchan Kukreja who spoke about India’s current standing as a tourist destination; Thushara Liyanarachchi, Director Global Sales Australia & New Zealand Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris about premium accommodation choices; and travel writers Roderick Eime and Maria Visconti shared their personal travel experiences in India.
“India is a large and diverse country with unlimited choices for travellers. This collaboration with AITTC is one of many initiatives of India Tourism Sydney office, with the objective to provide more and more information on Indian destinations to Australia”, said Kanchan Kukreja, Acting Director for India Tourism in Australia.