Paradigm shift

Mike Sidhu of Shanfari, which offers some unbeatable summer deals, tells KAVITA PANDIT its short-haul trips vacations that are all the rage now
Taking to the skies in Nepal

HOLIDAYS are always a pleasure and a break all of us look forward to.

However, says Mike Sidhu, general manager Shanfari Travel & Tourism, “Making some firm decisions before going on a holiday eliminates stress thereby making the most of your time while at the destination rather than spending the holiday planning and deciding.”
The months of June, July and August are usually when most people take their holiday. “People nowadays don’t want to travel very far – the shift is to destinations closer to home,” he says. While consumers are looking for closer destinations with the ease and convenience of flight schedules and the popularity of the destination, price is surely a factor.
The Far East, mainly Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are very popular destination from this region mainly because of the fact that they are ‘family destinations’. They not only offer good-value holidays but have everything to offer in terms of its culture, scenic beauty as well as their advanced infra-structure.
Countries in the Middle East are also popular for the short haul. Egypt, Jordan and Turkey offer a lot of history and culture. They are also very popular family destinations having an advantage of shorter travel times, good-value accommodation combined with visits to the famed sites of the Pyramids, one of the wonders of the world, Petra and the Dead Sea in Jordan and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Shanfari Travel & Tourism also recommends an extension to exotic Morocco for those opting for longer stays.
Another place that always comes to mind when most customers think of a holiday is Switzerland. Shanfari not only offer packages of good value hotel accommodation, but also rail travel, which is by far the most enjoyable and convenient means of transportation with on time departure and arrival times, coupled with mountain excursions to Jungfrau Joch and Mt Pilatus where you can experience snow pretty much throughout the year.
However, one exception to the short hauls is the country down under, Australia. One reason could be that people here have a lot of relatives and students in Australia. It is also an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hot summers of the Arabian Peninsula.
“We base our package not only on the destination, but also on schedule by airlines,” explains Sidhu. For the first time this season, Gulf Air is offering a direct Muscat – Kathmandu flight and Turkish Airline is offering a direct to Istanbul.
“Shanfari has also tied up with Bank Muscat (another first time in Oman) where we are offering holidays for a monthly scheme from RO39 ($101), depending on the package and destination,” he adds. This essentially means that those who bank with BankMuscat can pay monthly installment for their holidays for a week long vacation that will include airfare in economy class, hotel accommodation, airport transfers, daily breakfast and a visit to key sightseeing places. STT also offers an array of tailor-made packages to suit each customer’s needs.