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Travel is a powerful tool for the visually challenged to overcome their fear: Amit Jain, founder, Rising Star Tours & Travels

Amit Jain, founder, Rising Star Tours & Travels, shares his experiences on how he embarked on creating a platform, which could enable visually challenged people to travel without fear.

Amit Jain, founder, Rising Star Tours & Travels, shares his experiences on how he embarked on creating a platform, which could enable visually challenged people to travel without fear.

1) What was the main trigger to offer travel services to a niche audience especially the visually challenged?

After so many years of travelling, I realised that it is one of the most unfulfilled desires for this niche audience, and people often overlook it. I thought what if I can do this with ease. Hence, I embarked on creating a platform, which could enable visually challenged people to travel without fear.

Even today, people mostly donate food and clothes to this section of the society. They are also humans, and hence, must be equally curious to travel and communicate with others. However, they somehow hesitate to do so due to their innate fear. And, I believe travel is the best solution for them to overcome this fear.

2) What are the challenges you faced initially while conceptualising such a programme?

Our initial phase involved a lot of challenges. The first one was to change the mindsets of these visually impaired people and help them overcome the fear of travel. Even today, they hesitate to come out of their homes. Convincing them and their families and ensuring them a safer travelling experience was a challenge.

Besides, finding the right hotels to stay, mid-meal restaurants, which have a sensitive attitude towards visually impaired people and seeking the right volunteers to help them travel were some other challenges.

However, I was always passionate and confident that this can happen, and as a team, we can make it happen.

3) What were the challenges you faced during the execution phase?

Other challenges included making and revising the rooming list approximately 50-60 times. We had to ensure that every person has one volunteer to accompany with an equal male-female ratio.

Next was to guide them about their surroundings, helping them pack and unpack, giving them instructions like step up, step down, move forward, stop. Timely arrangement of food, helping them eat, time management as they took much time to get ready, etc. were some other challenges.

Narrating them everything in detail with right emotions, understanding their mood, empathising with them, chatting with them in their way, all of it without offending them was quite challenging.

4) What according to you is the future of the tour operations business in India?

I feel no one can ever get tired of traveling. It is something that everyone loves to be a part of. With time, people are becoming more sensitive and coming forward to help others travel. There are many individuals who look forward to unique experiences, which include fine dining, comfortable stays, camping and many such activities. New trends like experiential travel will keep coming and taking the travel industry by storm. From millennials to elderly, everyone has started taking traveling seriously and passionately. All such things speaks loud of its bright future.

5) Are you looking at working with other partners to push this specialized niche travel forward?

I would love to associate with other partners who have the same passion and want to make this initiative a great success. People with the right mindsets and who wish to spread joy through travelling should be there in this domain. The coming together of more such individuals is the need of the hour, and I hope we can make this journey more comfortable for the sightless people in the coming years.

6) Any other message you wish to share.

Have a sensitive attitude towards everyone, because you never know what the other person has gone through or is going through. Always motivate others and help people conquer their innate fear. Everything is possible in life, including travel. Visually-impaired people should be given an equal chance to be involved in a society where they can normally interact with people and show their talents as well. They are our equals, and we should respect them in every aspect.

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