Travel curators say customers refer to images from OTT or videos on YouTube.
Dibyoshnata, a 36-year-old IT professional, recently contacted a travel agent in Bengaluru to arrange a vacation package to Turkey. It was an all-female tour. She has made her intentions clear: that she is willing to spend as long as she and her friends can visit the spectacular spots that appear on their favorite Turkish TV series, now available on OTTs like Netflix.
More than just exploring cuisines and stays at featured properties, high-spending Indian travelers are looking for the immersive, Instagrammable experiences they’ve witnessed on OTTs.
India’s craze for Turkish TV series is visibly evident in Google search trends. Viewers in India download streaming platforms like ExpressDizi, Dailymotion, YouTube, Promix TV, Turkfans, AR Dirilis Ertugrul in order to watch Turkish shows with subtitles. The most watched Turkish series in India are Barbaroslar Akdeniz’ın Kılıcı, Kuzey Güney, Adını Feriha Koydum, Aşk Laftan Anlamaz, Little Lordamong others.
The spectacular filming locations of these series have inspired many people to visit Turkey.
“Cave hotels in Cappadocia are a must,” says Sanjar Imam, Founder-Director of Panache World, one of India’s most sought-after luxury travel agencies.
“The Museum Hotel is my favorite. Besides being a cave hotel, it is also a treasure trove of antiques. Turkey is a wholesome destination that offers stunning scenery, history, and culture. It really depends on the depth of immersion and the time at hand. Istanbul and Cappadocia are, of course, at the top of the list. However, if one has more time, a visit to Kusadasi, Ephesus and Pamukkale is suggested. Finishing with a few days or more in Bodrum sums up the trip nicely,” he says.
Spendthrift luxury travelers are also exposed to new routes along the Western Black Sea – Bolu, Bartin and Safranbolu. As a paradise waiting to be discovered, its proximity to Istanbul and its natural wonders is a paradise for luxury travelers.
Happiness Manager Nagsri Prasad Sashidhar NAGSRI-Creating Special Memories, says having great flight connections from India motivates many to take a trip to Turkey.
“I normally include experiences off the beaten path and some of the experiences would be hot air ballooning, hammam baths, whirling dervishes in a traditional tavern, pottery making, walking tours along old quarters and hanging out like a local on Princes’ Island. Having excellent flight connections from India, Turkey does well with all segments including couples, honeymooners, small families, FIT and MICE. she says.
Live like a local
What today’s luxury customers are looking for are “live like a local” experiences. In fact, an online platform called WithLocals connects people with cultures by breaking down barriers between travelers and locals around the world.
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 residents to earn income by sharing their city and its attractions, including those that appear on TV/OTT.
Turkish destinations made popular through TV/web series include Anadolu Hisarı, Reyhanlı District in Hatay, Belenidik Village in Pozanti, İstiklal Street, Kumbaracı Yokuşu, Cihangir, Tarlabaşı and Samatya Old Houses, Coast from Fenerbahçe, Bebek, Polonezköy, Nevşehir, Ürgüp, Uç Hisar, Göreme, Zelve, among others.
Brands like Luxury Istanbul offer unique experiences like the Vintage Car Tour, which is the most authentic way to enjoy the magnificent historical legacy left by Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire. The company rents legendary cars from the 40s, 50s and 60s, including Rolls-Royce, Cadillac, Ford Thunderbird, Eldorado and Buick Super Riviera. Guests can explore the exquisite wonders of Turkey on these vintage cars with driver.
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, then turning that pattern into a specialty paper. Each work of Ebru is unique and cannot be created a second time. Ebru art on YouTube is watched by millions of people around the world. It is also a rage among Indians.
The workshops are popular among the younger generation and women. Through this artistic practice, they learn the history and philosophy of Turkish water marbling. Research has proven that this art has therapeutic effects.
With Turkey easing all Covid-19 travel restrictions for Indian visitors, the country welcomed the highest number of travelers from India on record in June. Turkey welcomed more than 27,300 Indian tourists in June, breaking all previous records for inbound travel from India in a single month.
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