Offbeat locales for experiential travel

The search for exclusive experiences has led travel-hungry Indians to unconventional destinations like Bulgaria, Prague, Croatia, Iceland, Kenya, Zambia etc., reveal travel connoisseurs.

AHANA GURUNG

Sushil Shamlal Wadhwa, Founder and CMD, Platinum World Group
Among the emerging destinations, Russia is going to be a big player since there are innumerable unique activities like driving a tank or flying a fighter jet. Iceland is going to be a strong market where one can go whale watching, or indulge in an arctic truck safari, or even fly over a volcano. A lot of East European countries like Croatia are gaining popularity and so are African countries that are big on safaris. In my opinion, countries like Chile and Argentina are going to catch up as well. The world is going to become a smaller place.

Nagsri Prasad Sashidhar, Senior Consultant – Leisure, Mercury Travels
The young travellers are more into adventure like sky diving, water rafting, while the middle-aged group prefer experiences like chateaus or castles or a gourmet tour or sightseeing. The older segment prefers to go to a fabulous resort, relax and take in the ambience and the food. In terms of destinations, the lesser-known ones are fast catching up. Iceland, Bulgaria, Holland, Romania, Russia, and Croatia, basically central Europe is catching up and is bringing about exciting times for us.

Mahindra Vakharia, Managing Director, Pathfinders
Gone are the days when people travelled only for sightseeing; now they want more experiences like a cooking class, or learn scuba diving. Clients are becoming more mature and are asking for unique activities that are exclusive to the destinations. Experiences like Northern Lights in Canada and Iceland are pushing through while youngsters are travelling for music festivals all over the world. For us, the demand for Vietnam has become dramatically high, combined with Cambodia and has fared very well. Japan is another destination that has caught the interest of Indian travellers.

Kaushal Bhuva, Managing Director, World of Vacations
Safaris have been popular lately so we have been selling a lot of Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia. Those are some of our speciality products for which we also combine a lot of adventure activities as well. The upcoming markets would be Ras Al Khaimah and Oman, which are options we are interested in exploring. The central eastern European markets are gaining demand as well. The demand for places like Prague, Budapest, places like Slovenia and Croatia are particularly increasing.

Amit Kalsi, Founder and CEO, Experiential Travel Journeys, India Travel Award winner

Polar regions like the Arctic and Antarctic are some of the new entrants for luxury travel. Indians have become increasingly open to more diverse experiences and want to explore new destinations like Belize, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile or Bolivia in Central and South America. We see more Indians visiting Asian countries such as Vietnam and Laos while in Europe, the eastern and the Baltic regions have emerged as popular destinations since it showcases a newer side of Europe. More mature safari activities like gorilla trekking in Africa are seeing more takers which reaffirms the fact that Indians are evolving as travellers and want the luxury of experiencing a destination in its truest sense.

Ketaki Kapur Pantle Founder Serendipity and Beyond
A majority of the demand is for Central & Eastern Europe. There have been many takers for Croatia and the enquiries keep increasing. We’ve got a solid demand for Iceland as well where travellers want to visit the Blue Lagoon or take a tour of a volcano crater. Oman has become quite a popular choice as well and so is Canada for the aurora borealis or Northern Lights where travellers often camp out to witness the breathtaking phenomenon. In my opinion, next year is going to be just as good as this year since Indians are only getting more and more fascinated with travelling.

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