Guneet Puri, founding partner of Bohemian Adventures LLP, feels that being a woman in travel has comforted other women on their trips. She believes that in the next 5-10 years, there will be a significant increase in the number of women entrepreneurs and guides actively involved in the field of adventure tourism.
Guneet Puri, Founding Partner of Bohemian Adventures LLP, enjoys working in travel industry and feels it is both a passion and a career for her. Her interest in this segment led her to start an adventure sports company called Bohemian Adventures, along with Anusha Subramanian and Shashi Bahuguna. The core competence of all three partners is mountaineering and therefore their business focus is on mountain adventure activities. The activities they do include trekking, climbing, camping, skiing, mountaineering and cycling, including hiking and expeditions.
“What makes us truly unique is our focus on the inclusion of persons across age and gender lines as well as welcoming persons with disability on our outdoor experiences. We have led inclusive treks and tandem cycling trips in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra and in 2018 we also led India’s first inclusive climb to Mt Kilimanjaro. We have participated in inclusive trail runs as well as an inclusive Ultra Cycling Marathon in Ladakh,” shared Puri. In the era of male dominated travel industry, being a women adventure travel guide was challenging in the beginning she said. “We had to go out of our way to convince clients, other guides as well as travel colleagues that we were quite as capable as men at handling and leading groups. However, as the years have gone by and people have seen our work capabilities first hand, we no longer face this issue,” she added.
Puri feels being a woman in travel has comforted other women on their trips. “As much as we may deny it, we still live in a society where women are not permitted to travel alone let along engage in adventure related activities. Women and their families take comfort in and find it easier to trek with us.” She added, “Solo female travellers or female groups travel quite often. Over the past 9 years, since we started operations, we haven’t had a single trekking or climbing group that didn’t have women. This number has been constantly and consistently been increasing over the past decade.”
Puri shared that one of the things that makes them unique is their unflinching focus on safety in the mountains and how their 3:1 client to guide ratio and small groups translate to client-centric experiences in the mountains. They ensure that all their guides women and men are search and rescue trained, have a good working knowledge of first-aid as well as provide compulsory insurance for their clients and all their staff. “We further ensure safety by having pre-trek meetings with all our clients knowing well in advance their physical readiness for the level of the trek. We also inform our women clients about the specific medical issues they may face and carry with us manual bidets, toilet seat cover and seat sanitizers,” she said.
As part of the ATOAI Women’s Collective, Puri aims to empower women in adventure travel. She believes that in the next 5-10 years, they will see a significant increase in the number of women entrepreneurs and guides actively involved in the field of adventure tourism.