Travel curators say clients link to footage from OTTs or videos on YouTube.
Dibyoshnata, a 36-year-old IT professional, recently approached a travel agency in Bengaluru to put together a Turkish vacation package. It was a women-only tour. She made her intentions clear: that she is willing to spend as long as she and her friends can visit the spectacular spots appearing in her favorite Turkish TV series, now available on OTTs like Netflix.
More than just exploring cuisines and stays at starred hotels, affluent Indian travelers are looking for immersive, Instagrammable experiences they’ve experienced on OTTs.
Indian enthusiasm for Turkish TV series is visible in Google search trends. Viewers in India are downloading streaming platforms like ExpressDizi, Dailymotion, YouTube, Promix TV, Turkfans and AR Dirilis Ertugrul to watch Turkish programs with subtitles. The most watched Turkish series in India are Barbaroslar Akdeniz’ın Kılıcı, Kuzey Güney, Adını Feriha Koydum, Aşk Laftan Anlamaz, Little Lordamong other.
The spectacular filming locations of these series have inspired many to visit Turkey.
“Cave hotels in Cappadocia are a must,” says Sanjar Imam, founder and director of Panache World, one of the most sought-after luxury travel companies in India.
“The museum hotel is my favourite. Aside from being a cave hotel, it’s also a treasure trove of antiques. Turkey is a healthy travel destination that offers stunning landscapes, history and culture. It really depends on the depth of immersion and the time available. At the top of the list are, of course, Istanbul and Cappadocia. However, if you have more time, a visit to Kusadasi, Ephesus and Pamukkale is recommended. Rounding out a few days or more in Bodrum rounds off the trip well,” he says.
High-spend luxury travelers are also exposed to newer routes along the western Black Sea – Bolu, Bartin and Safranbolu. An undiscovered paradise, its proximity to Istanbul and its natural wonders makes it a haven for luxury travelers.
Nagsri Prasad Sashidhar, Chief Happiness Officer, NAGSRI-Creating Special Memories, says good flight connections from India motivate many to take a trip to Turkey.
“I usually include experiences off the beaten track and some of the experiences would be hot air balloon rides, hammam baths, whirling dervishes in a traditional taverna, pottery making, walking around the old quarters and spending time like a local on Princes Island. Turkey has excellent flight connections from India and performs well in all segments including couples, honeymooners, small families, FITs and MICE.” She says.
Live like a local
What today’s luxury consumers are looking for are “live-like-a-local” experiences. In fact, an online platform called WithLocals connects people to cultures by breaking down barriers between travelers and locals worldwide.
The platform is a wonderful way for guests to explore not only the highlights but also the hidden gems of a city with their private local host. In this way, the platform allows locals to earn an income by sharing their city and attractions, including those that appear on TV/OTT.
Turkish Travel Destinations made famous by TV/Web Series include Anadolu Hisarı, Reyhanlı District in Hatay, Belenidik Village in Pozanti, İstiklal Street, Kumbaracı Yokuşu, Cihangir, Tarlabaşı and Old Houses in Samatya, Fenerbahçe Coast , Bebek, Polonezköy, Nevşehir, Ürgüp, Uç Hisar, Goreme, Zelve, among others.
Brands like Luxury Istanbul offer unique experiences like the Classic Car Tour, which is the most authentic way to enjoy the great historical legacy left by both Byzantium and Ottoman Empires. The company rents iconic cars from the 1940s, 50s and 60s including Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Ford Thunderbird, Eldorado and Buick Super Riviera. Guests can explore the exquisite wonders of Turkey on these chauffeur-driven vintage vehicles.
Ebru on YouTube
Luxury Istanbul offers a traditional water painting experience called Ebru. This Turkish tradition dates back to the Ottoman Empire, which used Ebru to decorate the spines of books with colorful designs. Stunning patterns are created by sprinkling and brushing color pigments onto a pan of oily water and then transferring this pattern onto a special paper. Each work of Ebru is unique and cannot be duplicated. Ebru art on YouTube is viewed by millions around the world. It is also a rage among the Indians.
The workshops are popular with young generations and women. Through this art practice, they will learn about the history and philosophy of Turkish water marbling. Research has proven that this art has therapeutic effects.
As Turkey eases all Covid-19-related travel restrictions for Indian visitors, the country hosted the highest number of travelers from India on record in June. Turkey welcomed more than 27,300 Indian tourists in June, breaking all previous travel records from India in a single month.
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