The excitement in his eyes was palpable. When most would scurry through scripts at the last moment before a big event, Rohan Prakash seemed at ease with himself, chatting up with cyclists, bikers and a motley group of journos about the niche adventure travel industry in India. “There are these things we have stopped doing. We want to rekindle that feeling. We are trying to take mainstream destinations and give it a spin, a different perspective,” says Prakash, who was in New Delhi recently to unveil travel service provider Cox and King’s new adventure travel product.
In a bid to organise and infuse creativity into the niche adventure travel sector in India, Travel services provider Cox and Kings recently launched ‘Trip 360 Degree’ with a sole aim to provide a holistic experience to consumers who crave adventure. Through this, the company hopes to consolidate India’s position as a global adventure travel destination. At the launch event, Prakash said: “There are so many people who have apprehensions about climbing, trekking, but they are not getting the answers to their questions. Most people say they don’t have time to go out in the open, that’s where people are stuck. We want to guide them.”
Trip 360 Degree has launched a website specifically to cater to adventure seekers giving them 200 itineraries to start with. Some itineraries include diving with sharks in Maldives, to skiing to the South Pole, cycling trips in Northeast India to some of the remotest corners of Laos. The company will soon launch new routes and trips to offbeat destinations such as Myanmar, Papua New Guinea etc.
Highlighting the presence of a trustworthy travel community in western countries, Prakash said they wanted to create a similar community of like-minded people with no boundations where people can share their thoughts and experience. “The central idea about Trip 360 Degree is to create a community that gives you the right information and something that you can trust. To do this we will get people to engage and build that authenticity,” said Prakash.
Meanwhile, Karan Anand, Head, Relationships at Cox and Kings spoke about the changing travel trends and how the company needs to tap that to build a new customer base. “We realise that travel kept changing through the years. We also realised that Trip 360 Degree wouldn’t be an off-shoot of our inbound division and we hope that this will be encouraging for domestic, young travellers who want to travel differently. There’s a growing young demographic that we need to cater to.”
Adventure travel in India is still a largely unorganised and niche space, without strict guidelines for safety and quality service. Through the new venture, the company plans to plug this gap. “Adventure travel in India is quite unorganised. There are niche suppliers who are operating in a cluttered market. So we are trying to bring certain guidelines where we can say you can trust a company,” added Prakash.
The company also seems to be focusing big time on sustainability and creating awareness about responsible adventure travel as they aim to think ‘local’ when bringing in services. “Sustainability has several aspects. One of our thrust areas is to use local services, and work with local tour leaders wherever we go to curate experiences. We are going to give it back to the economy,” said Prakash.
In essence, Trip 360 Degree will act as both an aggregator and a tour operator wherein they select local partners from a specified area or specialists in their respective fields with an in-depth knowledge of the region and the local environment. This they believe is crucial for fostering the idea of sustainability and conservation, some hallmarks of the company.
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