Sita expands India programs and price range

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LOS ANGELES -- Sita World Travel made substantial changes in its India programs for 2005 by adding several tours, increasing its coverage of southern India and widening the price range of its products.

The destination has picked up tremendously, said Chairman and CEO Roger Mahal.

Programs are selling out very fast. We are getting bookings as far in advance as 2006 now. Were now getting bookings in what used to be the off season, and people are asking for programs in a wider variety of price ranges. 

In prior years, the demand for Sitas India programs was limited to the luxury and deluxe markets. But now, Indias appeal to a broader population has prompted Sita to open up a first-class tier in its India product line.

The first-class programs use different hotels and downgrade some amenities, said Mahal.

Downgraded amenities may be a standard car instead of a luxury car or a fixed-value meal instead of an a la carte offering.

Instead of doing every single tour in every city, we may do the main tours and offer the others as options.

As interest in the southern part of India is spreading among U.S. travelers, Sita is offering more tours to the region.

The south is far more traditional than the north and is relatively unspoiled by foreign influences, said Mahal. It was never invaded until the British came in 1650, and it didnt fall under the rule of the queen until 1750.

The south is especially popular with repeat visitors, Mahal said.

New tours include several two-week itineraries, including Splendors of India & Nepal; Land of the Maharajas, which covers Rajastan; South India Sojourn; and Voyage of Discovery: North and South India.

Sita is also offering a new train, the Deccan Odyssey.

Its similar to the Palace on Wheels, but operates in the west, Mumbai to Mumbai, said Mahal. The Palace runs from Delhi to Delhi, including the state of Rajastan plus Agra.

For more information, call (800) 421-5643 or visit www.sitatours.com.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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