India, having plenty of products at the hand but still remaining largely as an unexplored destination, is planning big to tap adventure tourism with many new initiatives. Apart from the Union Tourism Ministry, many states are also focussing on the potential in adventure tourism with new products.
India has 70 per cent of the Himalayas in its territory and around 7000 kms of coastline, besides being one of the three countries in the world with both hot and cold deserts. It ranks 10th in total area under forest cover and 6th in terms of number of recognised UNESCO Natural Heritage sites. Still adventure tourism is still to pick up.
According to market research, over one billion travellers experienced adventure tourism globally and India attracted just over 3.4m adventure tourist visits in 2015. Of this number, about 15 per cent are foreign adventure tourists.
With a view to explore the potential, India has opened 124 new peaks for tourism. Recently, the Siachin glacier also was opened, making a big bold step for promoting adventure.
Goa is one of the many States that now plans more for adventure tourists. Goa’s department of tourism and Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) in association with Jumpin Heights, the bungy people, launched India’s second bungy destination in North Goa at Mayem Lake.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has invited experts for identifying potential locations for adventure sports in the region to promote tourism. The will take the help of experts to identify the potential spots for adventure activities like paragliding, BASE jumping, parasailing and rafting. Ranjit Sagar Lake has been identified as a potential area for water adventure sports like speed boating, kayaking, canoeing and rafting.
According to industry estimates, adventure travel in India is estimated to be above Rs 2000 crores. Globally the adventure travel market is valued at US$ 683billion.
What prompts the Centre and the State to promote the sector is the trends in travel. The Gen “X” and the millennials are becoming the lead segment, with 15-20 per cent CAGR. The corporates are using adventure activities and trips big time for their offsites and training programs. The school and educational institutions have finally realised the great potential of being outdoors and the real time learning that a child inculcates from adventure and nature based travel,” Anand opines.
Some estimates say, 59 per cent of Gen Z travellers choose to travel to experience adventure sports and activities, 42 per cent of Gen X travellers also choose to explore adventure tourism with their families.