Published: 07th February 2018
The art of crafting unforgettable holidays could power your career
Tourism is slowly beginning to lean on sustainability and responsible travel in order to accomodate environmental changes
Tourism has evolved enormously in the last decade. Contrary to a popular misconception, it is not merely finding people a reasonably priced, clean and decent accomodation that matters — the most important element in the field is experience. Experiential and transformation holidays are here to stay and trends clearly show that discerning travellers are choosing those holidays that create positive impacts in the community that they are visiting.
This trend isn’t confined to rural experiences, but to any location for that matter, including urban experiences. Even an aggregator like Airbnb is adding experiences to match the stay. If that isn’t a major indicator of the way things are headed, I don’t know what is. That is the future of the travel and tourism sector.
It will take a conscious refocusing of the travel experience by adding importance not only to what one can offer to a location, but also to what the traveller can offer the location. The field will survive in the future as it centres itself around this idea. Working within the field will prove beneficial as this will open up a number of opportunities — which call on your creativity as well as a good deal of market savviness.
Traveller-in-chief: Gopinath Parayil is a pioneer in responsible tourism
If you look at the number of walks that are taking place in popular destinations across India and the number of such offers that come out every year, it is another indication of locals taking ownership for their destination. Their sense of association and pride and dignity is transformed into a component of a larger experiential holiday. This applies, fortunately, to both Indian and inbound travellers.
Many DMCs and tour operators are moving towards this very direction and this is the opportunity that one should explore if they hope to keep themselves many steps ahead of the others in the same field. It not only offers a competitive edge, but it also keeps one engaged in crafting new holiday options and keeping the evolving traveller happy.
It will take a conscious refocusing of the travel experience by adding importance not only to what one can offer to a location, but also to what the traveller can offer the location
Careers that revolve around experiential travel have risen in demand in recent years and will continue to do so as the concept of tourism extends beyond the more accessible areas and finds its way into places that have not received the same kind of attention. When this shift in interest occurs, travelling begins to become more oriented by the people and culture in the areas. And as tourism continues to evolve, ideas like Responsible Tourism will lead to the exploration of more themes and concepts. When travel becomes about more than just pleasure, the field of travel management will go only continue to gain significance. This is good for places that could use the attention and the spend.
Unfortunately, creating and facilitating such experiences is not something that schools and training institutes provide in a country like India. The best bet would be to get trained, in addition to a degree or diploma, by a major experiential travel provider within your area and go forward with that real time experience. The job is not only reserved for those who have specialised in that particular field, but it is also applicable for people who may be looking for a mid-career change. It is open for all those who are willing to anticipate the future and that future is upon us.
(The author is the Founder of the travel company The Blue Yonder. In 2004, he established the company to promote the unique river valley civilisation of Nila in Kerala. He is a founding board member of the Asian Ecotourism Network and was one of the judges for the prestigious National Geographic World Legacy Awards. Gopi co-founded the Responsible Tourism Networking to bring together like-minded people in the travel industry. He also represents The Blue Yonder in its capacity as official Sustainable Tourism partner at ITB Berlin and ITB Asia. A pioneer in Responsible Tourism, he identifies a number of ecologically important projects and destinations to work with and then transforms them into immersive travel experiences. With his untiring efforts, he has created such destinations across India, from Kerala to Rajasthan.)