Stopover promotions mean more holiday for less money
Wednesday 23 February 2011
Thanks to the growth of hub-based air travel, which involves short stopovers before continuing a long-haul routes, travelers can often bag a cheap add-on to their trip.
At next month's massive ITB Berlin travel show (March 9 -13, Berlin, Germany), the Tourism Authority of Thailand is set to launch a major incentive dubbed "Amazing Thailand Stopover," hoping to persuade some of the 1.53 million transit passengers at Bangkok International Airport to stay for a little longer.
Thai authorities hope that attractive deals for stays more than 24 hours will persuade people to see some of Bangkok, and will be laying on special tour packages tailored to the timelines of stopover passengers and special offers in association with partners, which include groups such as the Thai Hotels Association, the Thailand Restaurant Association and the State Railway of Thailand.
Thai tourism governor Suraphon Svetasreni said that he hoped 10 percent of transit passengers would stay for longer, adding "if they can be persuaded to take 'appetizer' tours of Thailand, they could be enticed to return for a more extended 'main course' visit to Thailand later."
Stopovers have always been available for flights that can't be completed in a single leg - Singapore has built a name for itself as a stopover destination on the popular "Kangaroo Route" between the UK and Australia for example - but they have become more commonplace and more appealing with the growth of Middle Eastern and Asian carriers which use large, well-equipped hub airports.
Later this year, Etihad plans to offer free stopover room nights in Abu Dhabi to persuade people to visit as part of its " Essential Abu Dhabi" campaign, in association with the emirate's tourism authorities.
At last year's World Travel Market exhibition in London, Qatar Tourism launched its new "Experience Qatar in 48 hours" campaign, targeting passengers between Europe and Asia who stop over at Qatar Airlines' hub Doha International.
Stopovers nowadays are so popular that they have even spawned their own guide, the Layover Guide, which offers sightseeing suggestions and tours suitable for those with a restricted schedule for cities around the world.
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