The Year of Adventure Travel: India Beckons for the Adventure Tourist
For years, India as a tourist destination has been about culture, history, and as we’ve heard many times, finding yourself. However, lately the trends have been changing. According to a report released by Thrillophilia in June, adventure travel in India has seen a spike of as much as 178% in the past three years, which includes a 42% increase in the popularity of high altitude regions.
While Europe still tops the adventure travel destinations of the world, India is witnessing an evolution in travel patterns. According to the study, which covered 10,000 consumers and 1,800 industry partners, the Indian adventure tourism market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 17.4% from 2017 to 2023.
Traveler behavior has been leaning steadily towards adventure activities such as trekking, kayaking, wildlife safari, rafting, biking, sea water sports, rope activities, and camping. As much as 27% people showed interest in traveling to the Himalayas to have an ‘offbeat experience’, while the number of solo travelers has risen by 18%.
Travelers have also shown a preference for friends and groups as their fellow travelers rather than solo, with family, or with spouse or partner. While the 20-30 age group has always been the most adventurous, people aged above 50 years have been opting for adventure tourism as well. The demand for extreme sports hasn’t increased but, activities that fall in the category of soft adventure, for instance, trekking, hiking, and biking, have become more popular. Among all the tourist adventure activities, sea water sports have suffered in popularity, while trekking is being preferred by more and more tourists.
Travel expenditure on a trip per person too has risen from below INR 10,000 to between INR 10,000 to INR 20,000. In fact, the number of adventure trips being opted by people per year has been rising steadily from 1 trip per year to 2-5 trips.
Among the many destinations that attract tourists, Himachal Pradesh has become hotter because of the rise in trend of adventure tourism. Goa still remains a crowd favorite though. After these two destinations, Uttarakhand, Kerala, and Rajasthan are also quite preferred.
Government efforts to encourage this sector is being cited as one of the reasons that adventure tourism in India, though at an infant stage, is finally trying to compete with global trends. 104 additional peaks in the Leh area of Jammu and Kashmir have received security clearance to open from the government of India in order to boost India’s position as an adventure tourism destination.
The Ministry of Tourism is collaborating with Indian Mountaineering Federation and Adventure Tour Operators Association of India with the aim of prepping several regions in India as adventure tourism destinations. Declaring 2018 as the year of Adventure Travel, the Ministry of Tourism plans to promote adventure travel. The Adventure Tour Operator Association of India (ATOAI) also plans to organize the ‘India Adventure Summit’, so that field experts and adventure-enthusiasts from all over the world can meet up.
The adventure tourism startup space too has seen some new players such as Tent N trek, that offers adventure trips like water rafting, trekking, climbing, jeep safaris, kayaking, mountain biking and camping among others. Thrillophilia itself is a Bengaluru-based travel portal that offers offbeat travel packages and experiences, while curating travel-related content. Adventures Overland organizes different kinds of road travel, including long-term overlanding or long-term road travel, another trend catching up in the Indian tourism space. Bengaluru-based Campmonk has built a community of nature-loving campers offering them access to campsites throughout India, such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.