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The Future of Experiential Travel in India

Discuss the Scope of Experiential Travel in India

Gone are the days when you would wait in line outside a tour operator’s office with your folder of documents and the hopes of one spot on a packed bus of tourists. The days of struggling to finish your cup of tea at a stopover so that you’re not holding up your fellow travelers because the next item on the checklist needs to be done.

In the era of Airbnb Experiences, and #Travelgram, people are quickly realizing that there is more to travel than a simple day-night itinerary with subpar service and little value exchange for money. Travelers no longer want to be cookie-cutter tourists. They want to be explorers and adventurers, historians and sociologists, storytellers and listeners. Experiences have gained more importance, and naturally, so has experiential travel.

In 2016, Thrillophilia reported that the demand for local activities and experiences had increased by 250% in 4 years. In the time since then, the experiential travel industry has seen a massive boom – particularly due to millennials, as CNBC TV18 reports.

The fact is that the need for experiential travel is entrenched in the need for travel that is enriching in nature, more than a lavish expenditure of money. People are willing to invest in experiences that create cause for personal learning and growth; journeys that are transformative in nature.

The biggest advantage India has in this domain is the extremely diverse culture, rich history, and variety of culinary, language, and geographical domains. It offers a range of experiences to travelers, for every type of tourist. From adventurers seeking rainforest treks in the Ghats, to historians exploring Rajasthan, to wellness travel in the Himalayas – India has a lot on its menu.

In that sense, India becomes a fresh ground for the Tourism Department to not only promote the country as an ideal destination, but also for India-based travel companies to open the doors for experiential travel for inbound foreigners and   outbound Indian travelers.

Even state governments are recognizing this opportunity in India. The once Incredible India! style campaign is now being adopted by a variety of state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Assam, and Gujarat to offer experiential travel to Indians and foreign tourists alike. It is not only a great source of enrichment for those who get to indulge in these experiences, but also a great bonus for the individual state economies (particularly in a time of economic disaster).

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