Monthly Archives: July 2015

Govt to Launch 6 New Circuits to Boost Tourism in India

Government will soon launch six tourist circuits in a big way to provide a boost to the sector.


“Our aim is to create better infrastructure for facilitating tourists to visit more places,” Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said at a tourism investors’ meet organised by FICCI here today.

Government will soon launch six tourist circuits in a big way to provide a boost to the sector.

He said the government has finalised a blue print for growth of tourism and more tourist circuits will be added soon.


“We will be launching six tourist circuits soon. They are Ramayan Circuit, Desert Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit and Rural Circuit,” Sharma said.


Tourism Ministry has already been working on launching spiritual circuits across the country which include Buddhist Circuit, Jain Circuit and Sufi Circuit.


“Work on Ramayan Circuit is already on and soon we will come out with a detailed plan for other circuits as well,” he said.


The minister lamented that though India has picturesque beaches and mountain ranges, its tourists prefer to go abroad and suggested that tourism sector was losing because of “perception”.


beaches in Andaman and Nicobar
Beaches in Andaman and Nicobar

“Our beaches in Andaman and Nicobar are the best in the world. India’s share of Himalayas is also maximum. But Indian tourists go to foreign countries to see their beaches and mountains,” Sharma said and added, “It is because of the aggressive marketing approach of the hoteliers and airline operators of those countries.”


The Tourism Minister also admitted that medical tourism was lagging behind in the country despite the prevailing cheap treatment cost here. “Indian doctors are doing well in many foreign countries. Our treatment cost is very less in comparison to other countries. A bypass surgery is eight times cheaper here than abroad. But still we are unable to tap that market,” he pointed out.


Sharma also emphasised on developing the right perception, saying it is important for attracting tourists. “Let us propagate the brighter side of our destinations
than highlighting uglier side only,” he said.


Sharing his personal experience, he said that he was denied morning walk in Johannesburg for safety and security reasons. “I was politely told not to venture out of the hotel for my morning walk in Johannesburg as the place was not secured.
But there are so many international advisories on India which affect the tourism sector,” he said.


Assuring support, Sharma sought cooperation of private players to make Indian destinations popular.



Why You Should Cater to the Solo Traveller

The Solo Traveller is slowly and steadily becoming one of the key influencers in the Adventure Travel Industry. Is your company geared towards the solo traveller? We tell you why you should.


Solo travellers have trekked, sailed, biked and bussed their way across earth for centuries, exploring and discovering.


Statistics show that about 20% of travellers take holidays on their own, for a variety of reasons. Many are not married or partnered, some prefer to travel alone, and others simply can’t find a friend who can take leave at the same time, or who wants to go to the same destination.


Solo travellers deserve better treatment than they have traditionally received. Most are happy to join group departures, while others prefer the freedom to go their own way. One of the most important considerations for solo travellers is safety. Whether it’s meeting new people in a group departure, sharing a room with a stranger to avoid the costly single supplement, or travelling alone somewhere exotic, solo travellers need to feel safe and secure.


As agents, it is our responsibility to ensure that all travellers have a safe and enjoyable holiday – especially solo travellers. Decent hotels, trustworthy drivers and guides, and empathetic office staff give confidence to prospective singleton travellers. Providing solo travellers with interesting itineraries and opportunities for meaningful interactions with locals and other travellers is good business.


Could you cater better to solo travellers?



The Difference Between an ATOAI Certified Company and an Average Adventure Travel Company

There are some essential differences between an ATOAI Certified Company and an average Adventure Travel Company. We tell you what they are. Put your safety first and always travel with a certified ATOAI Operator only.

There are almost endless possibilities for adventure travellers to enjoy their holidays, and seemingly an infinite amount of adventure travel operators. So how do you choose which one to book with? Membership of government recognised travel bodies, which require adherence to audited standards, is a great place to start. ATOAI monitors members annually, ensuring that standards are maintained.

Trips and activities offered by ATOAI members may appear, on the face of it, to be more expensive than trips from other operators, but you need to ask yourself these 5 important questions.


What safety standards does this operator have?

What experience do they have?

What sort of guide, accommodation and food will I get?

What if something goes wrong?

Will you get what you paid for?


Is it really worth risking your health, safety and the enjoyment of your long anticipated trip, for the sake of what may be only a few hundred rupees a day?

If you are considering a trip which is offered by an operator who is not part of ATOAI, perhaps you should ask yourself why they aren’t a member. And then book with an ATOAI member – you’ll find it’s money well spent.


5 Things You Must Try When Travelling in India

India’s palette has a lot to offer. Many interesting sounds, smells and sights come along the road you travel here. While you see the best of India don’t miss out on the best of experiences you can get at bare minimal prices. We bring to you the FIVE must try outs when travelling in India. This is not a ‘travel guide’ or ‘tips to travel’ blog, these are just few things you shouldn’t be missing out on. To live and feel like the locals try some of these desi things every Indian does almost as part of their daily routine. No matter where you are in India or which road you are travelling, you can try your hands on these things very easily.

Paan Corner in India
1. Eat a Paan – Paan has been a favorite mouth freshener available at the local Paanwaala shops located around every corner or street in India. It’s a burst of flavours wrapped in an edible betel leaf. Oozing liquid fills up your mouth leaving your tongue red and longing for more. Paan has been a part of Indian tradition and customs since time immemorial with many famous variations of it. But today’s Paan has been experimented with many ingredients to give it a modern twist. Fused with strawberry, chocolate, crushed ice, mint and other relishing ingredients has changed the way Paan is eaten today. To avoid any health issues try it at a known or branded shop like Panchayat and Prince Paan in Delhi . ‘Meetha(sweet) Paan is our recommendation if this is your first time.

wedding in India

2. Attend an Indian Wedding – Weddings in India are not less than a circus or a Bollywood movie. There is dance, drama, emotions, lights, camera and action. We love all this and so will you. Go ahead and ask a local friend or your agent to help you get an upclose experience of an Indian wedding. We are sure you will enjoy it thoroughly. Two things to look out for in an Indian wedding are crazy dancers on the dance floor doing the funny ‘cobra dance’ and some mischievous kids in the wedding trying to hide or find the groom’s shoes (an Indian tradition). Rest of the fervor comes along.

barber shops in India
3. Visit the local Barber – Just like our street food and paanwaalas, our barbers have hundreds of tiny outlets which are simply dirt cheap. A visit to the local non-branded shop/barber is an unusual and thrilling experience of all. Barbers in India can be found sitting under a tree with just a table, a mirror and some simple instruments that they carry back home every evening. The mirror and the chair is left on the road tied up without any guarantee of finding it there the next day. We recommend you to get a the special head massage done, and if you want a shave too, try to carry your own blade/ razor to avoid any infections.

panipuri stall
4. Relish over Golgappas – The ever favourite ‘Dilli (delhi) ka golgappa’; Mumbai ki paanipuri or Kolkata’s puckas. So many names for this one bursting bomb found in every market or street. So in the evening if you see a small stall swarmed by a group of ladies saying out ‘Bhaiya ek aur de do’ (brother give one more) that’s the stall with the yummiest ‘Golgappa’ of the town. There is no end to the street foods of India so we can’t list all of them but this is ‘IT’. If you have a weak stomach please visit the branded ‘Chat Corners or restaurants’ and if you are really desi at heart you have to go to Old Delhi or Mumbai’s Chowpati because there is lot’s more to explore..

Rickshaw ride in old Delhi
Rickshaw ride in old Delhi

5. Tricycle Ride – ‘Trin trin’ – it’s riding time. A rickshaw is a tricycle used as a local mode of transport in India. A quided rickshaw ride of Old Delhi or the rickshaw pullers of Kolkata are one of the best experience to sink in the frenzy of colors, vivacity and irresistible charm of India. It’s arguably better to explore the city on a rickshaw than on a walking tour as you are much higher so you have a better vision and you will have less chances of being stalled by beggars.

Top 5 Adventure Travel Destinations in India


Here are some of our favourite destinations if you’re after some serious adventure travel.

Assam: Underrated and not nearly as appreciated as it should be Assam is one of our favourite offbeat destinations for adventure travel in India. The mighty Brahmaputra that flows through the state will let you raft his playful rapids and camp on his river banks under starry skies and by gurgling waters. Majuli Island, the world’s largest river island, will let you explore her cultural and natural secrets and the friendly faces of the Assamese people will leave you with warmth in your heart and wanting to come back for more to this state of many charms.

Sign Up for the Chadar Trek and hike across frozen lakes
Kashmir: Fancy hiking over frozen lakes, rafting the mighty Zanskar river and skiing down massive snow white mountains? Be it summer or winter, Kashmir is a year round adventure travel destination. In the summer you can hike through its alpine meadows and go on weeklong rafting expeditions whereas the winter brings with it some excellent snowboarding, skiing and the right out of a fairy tale hike across a frozen lake. Kashmir is a truly welcoming and friendly state that has just not been given due credit across all these years.
Hiking in Himachal brings views like this
Himachal Pradesh: If you can think of it, they offer it. That to us basically seems to be the Himachal Pradesh motto. This mountainous state offers not only some of the best trekking in the country but also some excellent skiing, ice-skating, fishing, golfing, paragliding, rafting, mountain biking and more. One of the best ways to explore Himachal is to make sure you have at least a week in hand along with a sturdy Jeep or 4WD to traverse the state. For avid hikers who are looking for something a bit more long term there are several courses that the Indian Insitute of Mountaineering offers.
Rafting in Uttrakhand is guaranteed to get that adrenalin pumping
Uttarakhand: Love the outdoor life and are some of your best days the ones spent camping and exploring national parks? If yes, then Uttarakhand might be the state for you. There is excellent white water rafting and kayaking in Uttarakhand as well as some seriously adrenalin pumping activities like Bungee Jumping and the Flying Fox. Easily accessible from New Delhi, this is the probably the best destination if you’re craving some adventure travel and yet are pressed for time.
Andaman and Nicobar Explore the world beneath the prisine blue waters surrounding Havelock Islands
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Another offbeat destination Andaman and Nicobar is slowly starting to become very popular especially with domestic travelers. Known for its excellent diving the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to a lot of secrets and destinations that are gradually starting to be unraveled. The underwater world here is spectacular and if you’re lucky you can spot anything from massive Manta Rays to friendly Dolphins to the brightest coloured sea horses. These islands are one of the best diving spots in India and should sinking meters deep underwater not be your thing, simply grab a snorkel and explore the life below the ocean from the surface.