Ad­ven­ture abound be­yond Hi­malayas

The Min­istry of Tourism, in its re­vamped cam­paign - In­cred­i­ble In­dia 2.0, plans to lay em­pha­sis on de­vel­op­ing and pro­mot­ing ad­ven­ture tourism to In­dia. In­dus­try stake­hold­ers and key play­ers iden­tify new cir­cuits be­yond the Hi­malayas, chal­lenges in the ind

TravTalk - India - - QUICKBYTES - ANKITA SAXENA

I be­lieve ad­ven­ture tourism is the only seg­ment of travel that has the ca­pac­ity to dou­ble the In­dian tourism econ­omy within two years and wipe out the lean sea­son dur­ing sum­mers as the Hi­malayas of­fer the per­fect lo­ca­tion dur­ing this sea­son. There is a need to de­velop ac­ces­si­bil­ity into re­mote ar­eas with a three-tier air con­nec­tiv­ity of wide-bod­ied aircrafts to eas­ily con­nectable des­ti­na­tions. Small turbo props, fixed wing aircrafts and sea­planes need to be de­ployed to re­mote re­gions with Green­field airstrips. Also, chop­pers can be used to tra­verse the var­i­ous re­gions in the Hi­malayas and the is­lands. Ex­ten­sive pub­lic­ity of In­dian ad­ven­ture tourism at­trac­tions is also very im­por­tant to boost this seg­ment.

The gov­ern­ment needs to con­sider zero-tax on ad­ven­ture tourism, at least for a few years, as this seg­ment is the worst hit by GST due to Re­v­erse Charge Mech­a­nism (RCM) ap­pli­ca­ble on ser­vices sourced from the unor­gan­ised sec­tor. Ad­ven­ture tourism is largely de­pen­dent on the ser­vices pro­cured from the unor­gan­ised sec­tor like porters, ponies and field staff that in­clude moun­tain guides, sher­pas, camp­ing staff, small lodges and home­s­tays and thus, due to GST, the pack­age cost for all ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties in the Hi­malayan re­gion has gone up by 20-23 per cent. In­dia is blessed with a long coast­line, deserts, rivers and many other nat­u­ral her­itage sites where ad­ven­ture and ac­tive travel prod­ucts can flour­ish. We have huge po­ten­tial for aero sports and wa­ter tourism in the coun­try. In­land wa­ter­ways and sea cruis­ing along with wa­ter ad­ven­ture sports is pos­si­ble in states and union ter­ri­to­ries like An­daman & Ni­co­bar Is­lands, Lak­shad­weep Is­lands, Ker­ala, As­sam, Ut­tar Pradesh, Bi­har, Jhark­hand, West Ben­gal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Kar­nataka, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Gu­jarat, Goa and Da­man and Diu.

We are look­ing for­ward to the gov­ern­ment’s ini­tia­tive and its im­pact on the ad­ven­ture travel sec­tor. Be­sides the full-throt­tle ex­po­sure and pro­mo­tion of new ac­tiv­i­ties and des­ti­na­tions, my strong rec­om­men­da­tion to the gov­ern­ment would be an equal em­pha­sis on bring­ing out the right reg­u­la­tion and safety guide­lines for ad­ven­ture tourism across In­dia. Ad­ven­ture is a niche travel ac­tiv­ity and safety is al­ways a ma­jor con­cern. There­fore, such reg­u­la­tion and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion is fun­da­men­tal for long-term growth in this sec­tor along with ag­gres­sive pro­mo­tional plans. The gov­ern­ment needs to work with lo­cal op­er­a­tors in var­i­ous re­gions to un­der­stand the po­ten­tial, niche ad­van­tages and op­por­tu­ni­ties of the des­ti­na­tions and also es­tab­lish lo­cal in­fras­truc­ture for ad­ven­ture tourism. In ad­di­tion to the Hi­malayas, there are ex­cit­ing and grow­ing ad­ven­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties across the di­verse In­dian land­scape, be it in the tra­di­tion­ally leisure des­ti­na­tions such as Ker­ala and Ra­jasthan, which are open­ing up to ad­ven­ture tourism; the tribal belt of Ch­hat­tis­garh; Rann of Kutch in Gu­jarat; Mad­hya Pradesh, etc.

Mo­han Tickoo Founder and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, KVT Hol­i­days

Ravi Tickoo Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Ac­tive In­dia Hol­i­days

San­jay Basu Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Far Hori­zon Tours

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