Economy

Summer tourists look beyond sight-seeing

Nivedita Ganguly Mumbai | Updated on November 15, 2017 Published on April 11, 2012




Do you have the desire to give something back to society? Looking for an opportunity to share your skills? And want to do all this even as you travel, meet locals and be in tune with nature? Volunteer and experiential travel and eco-tourism are the emerging trends among travellers this season. Tour operators are tapping these niche categories in travel segment market with specialised products to popularise the concept.

According to industry reports, the growth in this niche travel segment is around 7-10 per cent per annum. A Kuoni India Holiday Report indicates that although exploring unseen places is the top priority of Indian travellers, sustainability and eco-tourism is the emerging travel trend. 34 per cent of Indian travellers regard eco-tourism as the future holiday trend, the report said. Tour operators say that travellers are seeking more beyond the usual sight-seeing holiday pattern. “The Indian traveller has moved beyond the regular escorted tours. Self-drive vacations to places like Austria, Russia, Scandinavia and Prague is also a growing trend,” said Ms Neelu Singh, COO, Ezeego1.com. The travel company has witnessed a growth of 30-35 per cent in its summer bookings this year as compared to the last year.

Destinations like Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Peru, Scandinavia, Vietnam and Cambodia are popular in the segment of experiential travel. “Travellers experience how the local communities in these places live and also participate in their activities,” said Mr Frederick Divecha, Head Tour Operating B2C, Kuoni India.

Outbound travel company TUI India recently launched a special product in this segment. The company's niche product “I-to-I” volunteer travel focuses on travellers who like to do locally run projects as volunteers while travelling.

The segment involves four types of travel - teaching and temple tours of Cambodia; volunteer work for wildlife in South Africa; boats, elephants and community work with children in Kerala and teaching in a kindergarten and orphanage in Goa. “When you travel you will stay in locally-run accommodation and travel on locally-owned transport. In this way a part of your placement fee assigned for transport and accommodation goes directly into the local economy,” said Ms Kalpana Bedi, Product Head, Lifetime experience Package, TUI India.

>niveditag@thehindu.co.in

Published on April 11, 2012
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