Inside: Why a travel agency partnered with a comic book to boost post-pandemic tourism…

Great Indian Journeys

Media Samosa gets in conversation with SOTC Travel and Amar Chitra Katha to know what went behind creating an IP like ‘Great Indian Journeys’ and more. 

To travel places is probably one of the top things on our wishlist, especially after months of being confined to our homes. As unlock activities are in full gear to stabilize the economy, the travel industry is pumped up to lure in the vagabonds. Recently, SOTC & Thomas Cook India partnered with Amar Chitra Katha to launch ‘Great Indian Journeys’ – a pictorial story campaign.

The Great Indian Journeys is a set of holiday experiences taking us back in time to discover India and its rich history through stories illustrated in typical Amar Chitra Katha comics/style that we all grew up reading.

The Partnership Tale

Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head - Marketing, Service Quality...According to Abraham Alapatt, President & Group Head – Marketing, Service Quality, Value Added Services & Innovation – Thomas Cook (India), this new concept and partnership with Amar Chitra Katha gives the company an opportunity to reach out to a segment of travelers who wish to recreate the nostalgia of intimate family holidays and young explorers who look for cultural/ historic immersive experiences.

Leveraging Amar Chitra Katha’s expertise in storytelling and the history of India, Great Indian Journeys showcases India’s rich history and culture of royal and majestic monuments and iconic attractions through unique experiences.


Alapatt informs that the itineraries have been carefully curated by Thomas Cook India and SOTC’s holiday experts and have been creatively illustrated via graphic comic strips in the distinctive Amar Chitra Katha style, showcasing the heritage in a very special route to their roots.

Considering the insight that Indian consumers are displaying an increasing appetite for getaways that are at a drivable distance, SOTC and Thomas Cook India will add more destinations to the Great Indian journeys portfolio going forward.

Marrying Stories & Travel

Storytelling has come a long way, earlier through books, theatre, cinema, and now the digital era.

Alapatt shares, “While the genesis of the idea was pre-COVID, the idea was to take the story of India, its rich history to our consumers and partnering with Amar Chitra Katha to tell these stories and create immersive holiday experiences. We would focus on a gradual increase in promotions as travel restrictions are lifted.”

With on-demand consumption of content, it’s time now to look at mass customization, and unique experiences catering to the diverse customer base in India through content innovation.

Preeti Vyas“We are medium agnostic storytellers. Amar Chitra Katha has been telling stories for 53 years and over the five decades, we have successfully evolved to tell stories across multiple formats including books, apps, films, games, videos, and now through travel experiences. Since March this year, we have a 1.2 Million user database on the ACK and Tinkle Comics Apps, and about 35% of the users are from outside India,” briefs Preeti Vyas – CEO and President, Amar Chitra Katha.

She further shares that it is in difficult times, that we turn to comfort food, comfort content, and even comfort travel experiences – hence it’s the right time for an IP like The Great Indian Journeys as domestic travel is now comfort travel.


Elements such as personalized storytelling sessions around favorite historical characters, spectacular sound & light shows, local culinary experiences, and more are added leveraing social media.

“Social media is a perfect platform to showcase these unique experiences, start conversations & take people back to their childhood memories and roots and also share these memories with their children through these journeys,” Alapatt adds.

Also Read: Opinion: Cashbacks & Discounts: Is the post-COVID consumer reward ready?

Marketing Safe & Secure Travel

Travelers want certainty and peace of mind now more than ever and to cater to the current need by building confidence that it is safe to travel again, SOTC introduced a range of assured/insured & secured Holidays.

The pent-up travel demand due to the lockdown has resulted in a new-found interest in Destination India. According to the company’s Holiday Readiness Travel Report – Future of Travel post-COVID-19: A domestic holiday was the first choice of 64% of respondents. Consumers are moving away from crowds/traditional tourist spots while seeking to discover India’s untold stories and traveler secrets. To tap into this demand for non-standard/unique journeys, Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel introduced India’s Hidden Gems.


Thomas Cook India and SOTC have worked jointly with hotel partners across the travel eco-system to create the assured program, that ensures meticulous health and safety protocols – at every stage of the customer journey.

“In aiming to ensure health and safety for travelers, we have associated with ICMR accredited labs across India to provide a first of its kind contactless COVID-negative certification service. This has certainly gone a long way in easing the current concerns of travelers and in building trust and confidence,” shares Alapatt.

To facilitate safe and smooth travel amongst travelers, Thomas Cook India and SOTC launched the Safe Holiday Helpline to provide up-to-date information on intra-state and country-specific regulations, on-ground safety measures, health, and visa protocols – as an extension of our Assured Safe Travel Program.

In line with the commitment to make holiday designs convenient and affordable, the company has introduced the Holiday Card that simplifies the travel experience and offers complete savings and benefits for the aspiring Indian traveler.


Constant Engagement, unique Stories, and offers with booking flexibility are ways adopted for consumer engagement by the duo.

Road to Recovery

In its endeavor to connect and strengthen the association with it’s past and prospective customers, SOTC Travel hosted its first virtual SOTC Blockbuster Evening, with ace comedian Atul Khatri and Thomas Cook India’s Relive the Dreams Mega Event offering an exclusive interaction with Bollywood veteran Boman Irani.


“This initiative presented the perfect opportunity to understand and engage with our valued customers while showcasing a range of innovative and exciting products and services virtually,” says Alapatt.

People are longing to travel again and their desire to travel is now more than ever. From celebrating important anniversaries to special occasions, holidays have given travelers the chance to celebrate the important milestones in life.

“In a patient & gradual journey to normalcy, we will look at scaling up marketing activities with the changing environment in terms of travel & border restrictions being lifted and air travel resuming,” he signs off.




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