Last updated: 08:56 AM ET, Thu July 02 2015

Insight Vacations Introduces India and Lisa Ray to New York

Tour Operator | Insight Vacations | David Cogswell | March 02, 2015

Insight Vacations Introduces India and Lisa Ray to New York

PHOTO: Lisa Ray presented film and photos of her travels with Insight at a press event in Tribeca, New York, on Thursday evening. (Photo by David Cogswell)

Insight Vacations threw a press event in New York City Thursday night to spotlight its India program and introduce its Global Band Ambassador Lisa Ray to New York-based media.  

Ray, an actress, model, TV host, author and philanthropist, came on board as Insight’s brand ambassador for Insight in July 2014.

The event was hosted by Phil Cappelli, president of Insight Vacations USA. Insight calls itself “The India Specialist.”

Cappelli told the attendees, “For 2015, Insight completely redesigned the vacation so our guests can travel on something that is genuinely unique, different, special and exciting, a vacation that completely will completely transform the way you think about the experience of travel.”

Rather than focusing on “sightseeing,” Insight presents its tours as constructed of what it calls Signature Experiences, such as riding a cycle rickshaw through the Chandni Chowk Bazaar in Delhi and ending up at the Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat, or an attendance at a Kathakali dance performance in Kochi.

Premium Class Tours

Insight places itself in a “premium” or “business class” category in the marketplace. Coaches are designed to have more than standard legroom. “We take an average of 32 guests on a coach,” said Cappelli. “We take a maximum of 40 on a coach and that applies to all of our 130 itineraries.

Cappelli spoke of “Signature Sightseeing;" “Signature Dining”; priority entry into the Vatican or special places you can’t get into on your own; authentic local experiences and tour directors at the pinnacle of their career, most with Insight for more than 10 years.

All of Insight’s coaches in the U.S. and Europe now are equipped with Wi-Fi.

The logistics of travel are taken care of by the tour operator to allow clients to enjoy themselves and their traveling companions. By removing hassles and dangers, itineraries are designed to bring “quality, consistency and authenticity at every destination.”

“All inclusive luxury means we are going to take care of everything so you can connect with the people you’re with,” said Cappelli. “That’s what we’re really good at. We’ve been doing that for a long time. In Europe or Delhi or wherever they are, we want them to experience and be part of the action, the culture.”

Insight’s India Program

For 2015-2016 Insight’s India program includes six all-inclusive Insight Gold journeys and seven premium Mini Stays designed and scheduled to make it easy to attach them as extensions to longer trips, or string along several together, or just take one by itself.  

The Mini Stays are designed to complement longer journeys, but they can also be combined for a customizable adventure or stand alone as a remarkable short trip.

Cappelli said 6.8 million visitors are going to India every years and a million of them are Americans. It’s growing at 8 percent a year. India is ranked third among the fastest-growing destinations for the next decade.

“It’s got new infrastructure, new grand hotels being built every month,” said Cappelli, “and as of Nov. 27, 2014, the U.S. is one of 43 countries that have electronic visa.”

Insight introduced its India, Bhutan and Nepal program in 2012. It has been growring in sales every year, but not nearly enough, according to Cappelli.

“We launched our program a couple of years ago to moderate success,” said Phil Cappelli. “It’s a phenomenal country, the culture, the people. But it is a challenge selling it, just getting people to go. We have a six-star product. It’s really amazing. We’re trying to put a spotlight on it. That’s why we have Lisa Ray.”

Ray was on hand Thursday to present a photo and video show of her recent trips on Insight Vacations to India and Italy.

“Lisa has been on our trips to Italy, to India,” said Capelli. “She’s experienced it and she’s here tonight to talk about those stories. That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about stories. It’s about building stories, when people come home and they talk to friends and then they tell the story, and that story grows. That’s what we’re trying to do."

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