"When you talk about visiting
No matter where your clients go in
"It's not uncommon to see a temple, a mosque and a church on the same street," Ali notes. "Religion gives an aspect of hospitality—visitors are welcomed and people go out of their way to be helpful."
First-timers often think of
Upscale operator Artisans of Leisure has a number of
travelers who include South India on their first visit to the country, says
Sonja Stoerr, one of the company's
"Some travelers go because they want to learn more
about Ayurvedic health practices; others want to experience the cuisine,"
Stoerr says. "The most popular attraction is Kerala's Backwaters, which is
a very different landscape than what is found in the North and in Rajasthan,
the most popular tourism destination in
"The majority of our clients who travel to southern
Indeed, interest in and demand for Kerala has been growing
steadily among international travelers in recent years. It also draws
vacationers from other parts of
The state of Kerala stretches along the southernmost part of
Your clients can visit everything from temples and festivals to plantations where tea and spices are cultivated. Kerala also is home to wildlife sanctuaries.
Artisans of Leisure generally builds time in
"Depending on the amount of time and the client's
interests, we may also include time in Chennai and the Periyar Tiger Reserve in
the eastern hills of Kerala," she adds. "For serious divers and water
sports enthusiasts, we're also sending some travelers to the
In addition, your clients may well find themselves rubbing
Consider building in time for a Backwaters cruise so your clients can see the pace of life on the water.
More urban experiences to suggest include time in Mumbai and
a visit to Bollywood, as well as exploring
Your clients who are spa aficionados may actually initiate the request to block a day or longer to experience yoga and Ayurveda during their stay. If not, you should bring up the subject and gauge their interest in allotting time at a spa-focused resort during their travels, perhaps toward the end of their journey.
Find the Right Fit
If your clients are looking for a blend of sightseeing and rejuvenation, try to front-load their itinerary with bustle. This way, they'll be more able to fully relax and immerse themselves in the atmosphere and quieter diversions of Kerala toward the end of their stay.
They can easily spend a week touring temples and other sights, and wrap up their stay with several days at a spa or ashram retreat, with the depth and focus of the sojourn focused on their specific interests and goals.
"This sort of itinerary lends itself beautifully to a
customized program," Ali notes.