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Active Holiday Company exerts effort to grow adventure tourism

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Adventure and activity-based travel company, Active Holiday Company is focusing on creating greater awareness about the segment in the Indian travel industry. The company, in association with UK-based Exodus Travels, recently conducted an educational seminar in Mumbai, highlighting Exodus’ product offerings an educating adventure tour operators. Speaking at the seminar, Andrew Appleyard, international sales manager, Exodus Travels, said, “We have started to see a good amount of bookings from India. There has been a growing appetite for adventure and soft adventure in the India market. Adventure travel has evolved over the years with enhanced facilities. We have a good presence India; we bring thousands of cyclists into India each year. Exodus Travels, 43-year-old, is the oldest adventure tour operator in the UK”, adding, “India has always been on our offerings. We support the local communities; we believe in responsible tourism and take care of the environment. Additionally, we also conduct training and community projects.”

Exodus Travels’ trips involve only small groups, which encourage more interactions and help to provide greater cultural experiences. The average size of the groups is 12 people. The company offers over 600 options across 100 countries.

Speaking on the new trends, Appleyard commented, “We have seen an increase in solo female travellers – 66 per cent in 2016 from 40 per cent in 2015. Some of the other products that have seen growth include centre-based holidays and point-to-point walking tours. Cycling tours in Bhutan are also emerging, which also include cultural journeys. Agents have started realising the increasing demand for adventure tourism, and they have already started getting many clients.”

Elaborating on the current market position of adventure tourism in India, Gauri Jayaram, director, Active Holiday Company, said, “Adventure and activity-based tourism in still a niche market in India, but it is growing quickly. More and more people are going for outdoor experiences. Italy continues to be a favourite destination among Indians, but they are also looking at Peru, Croatia, Jordan, Vietnam, Germany and more. A large proportion of adventure travellers still come from the metro cities in India. A lot of people think that adventure is for the young, but the last three years we have seen that people from the age group of 35-45 are taking up adventure travel.”

Jayaram added that there’s lack of knowledge and awareness in the Indian adventure travel space. There also numerous myths surrounding adventure travel and this needs to change. Travel agents also need to understand their customers’ interest.