Experiential tourism gaining popularity

Nivedita Ganguly Mumbai | Updated on November 12, 2017 Published on July 21, 2011

Tourists explore Thekkady in Kerala.

Learning to identify the calls of birds, exploring the ancient structures of Turkey or the ruins of Egypt or trekking the Amazon forest to know about the herbs and trees there – the concept of experiential travel is fast gaining popularity and Indian travellers are going that extra mile to explore the road less travelled.

Here, vacation doesn’t mean travelling with the luxury of five-star hotels or fancy cruise liners. Rather, visiting places and meeting people, immersing themselves in the activities there, and, in the process, creating their own, personal, emotion-based memories.

A report by Kuoni India Holiday Resorts throws light on the trend of more and more travellers seeking to embark on the off-beat journey and preferring to be a part of something unique. “They want their experiences to be completely different from what they have experienced elsewhere. They want to understand and be a part of the culture and heritage of the destination they seek to discover,” said Kashmira Commissariat, Chief Operating Officer, Outbound Division Kuoni India. Experiential travel segment notches a growth of 15 to 20 per cent, hence all travel companies, international tourism boards, airlines and hotels are customizing products with flexible holiday options offering personalized services to woo and attract Indian travellers.

Indian travellers are exploring destinations like Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Peru, Scandinavia, Vietnam and Cambodia to experience how the local communities live. The desire to do something different and to tread a lesser known path has lead to emergence of these destinations as preferred destinations for tourism.

Kuoni India Holiday Report indicates that although exploring unseen places is one of the top priorities of Indian travellers, eco-tourism is the emerging travel trend. Travellers seek to identify an exciting, eco-friendly way to see the world without compromising on comfort and style. As per the report, 34 per cent of Indian travellers regard eco-tourism as the future holiday trend. Among the popular eco-tourism destinations, there are Alaska, Australia, Africa – Botswana, Costa Rica, Kenya and Kerala. However, the tour packages can range from anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh and even above, with all its exclusively designed tours.

Across Australia, eco-tourism experiences have been gaining popularity with more and more travellers seeking out eco-friendly holidays. “The Indian traveller has matured and we have been witnessing a desire to explore and enjoy experiences beyond the conventional. A number of new eco-resorts are combining wilderness experiences with luxury comforts and environmental sensitivity, places where travellers have a minimum impact on the environment and leave a minimum footprint,” said Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager India, Tourism Australia. There were 14,700 visitors from India to Australia during May-2011, a total of 64,900 visitors recorded in the first five months of the year, an increase of 10.6 per cent relative to the same period of the previous year.

Kenya’s eco-tourism facilities and wilderness resulted in a growth of 36 per cent in the Indian tourist arrival figures over the last two years, according to the Kenya Tourist Board.

Published on July 21, 2011
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