Fast Forward 2014: Travel
With mindsets opening up, niche markets like LGBT tourism are also growing in India.
The Guide’s wish list
1. Cleanliness is the key
There is no dearth of tourist spots in India, but barring a few, mostare in poor condition, lack site information and basic cleanliness.
2. Time for more promotions
Large scale events that highlight India’s tourism spots need to be organised for sustained inflow of tourists.
3. Trained personnel required
More knowledgeable, educated, trained and suave tourist guides are needed who do not scare off tourists -- Indian or international.
4. Boost for all-women ventures
More all-women tourism companies and trips are required to make travel easier, safer and comfortable for single women, especially.
5. Security, a major concern
Security at tourist sites should be beefed up, so that safety is not compromised, especially after sunset and in isolated locations.
6. Celebrate local culture
More registered homestays should be made available, which are a great way to discover traditional lifestyles and food of the area.
My take Abhinav Goel, founder, outjourneys.com
2012 was the time when the tourism industry was sluggish, but 2013 reinforced some energy into it and the year witnessed reasonable growth. We expect this optimistic situation to continue in 2014 with stable growth and consolidation of the travel industry.With the tourism segment in India opening up with better infrastructure, more people willing to spend money and more passion towards travelling, we see a robust trend of travelling, which is here to stay.
With mindsets taking a positive slant, and more progressive views coming forth, niche markets like LGBT tourism is also growing in India. Since the time we launched outjourneys.com and began to offer travel options to the LGBT community, we have experienced 100% growth every year, and we are sure that this will only increase in 2014.
We have experienced tremendous alterations in guides, travel agents, hotel staff, owners, etc. People are more open to the idea of pink tourism and are forthcoming. Also, we are hoping that with a favourable judgement on Article 377, things will become better for LGBT tourism in India and will attract more gay and lesbian couples to our country.
Overall, India is mainly considered a seasonal market, but we are hoping that more round the year travel is encouraged all across the country. For example, Kerala was long considered a winter vacation destination, but for a while now, its state tourism board is trying to position it also as a monsoon destination. Similarly, we wish to see travelling to different parts of the country, all year round, and not just in particular seasons.