There used to be a time when one used to think about travel, the whole idea used to revolve around nature, beaches, historical monuments etc. But over the time with the rise of ‘Generation Y’, which is more experimental by nature and wants more, there has been a trend shift in the tourism industry. This has given rise to the rapidly growing experiential travel in past few years.

Let’s take a step back and ask ourselves a question: why do people travel? There might be various answers for this like to see new places, meet new people, know about cultures/traditions across the world, to eat new things and so on. But if you delve down deeper, the simplest answer I think is to break the monotony of life and satisfying the basic curiosity.

Experiential travel consists of activity based and localized experiences, and there has been more than 250% growth in this sub-category of travel only in last 4 years. Travelers are now looking for more holistic experiences rather than just visiting destinations. Abraham Alapatt (Chief Innovation Officer and Marketing Head, Thomas Cook) puts it in the perfect way, “The Indian traveler is hungry for more than the vanilla holiday”.

This change in the taste of consumers of tourism is ascertained by the rapid rise of numerous small and big specialized travel agencies which has more to offer to the segment with their experiential travel offerings. WhileGrassroutes based in Mumbai is providing ‘Festival of Million Fireflies’ experience, IndiaUntravelled is offering ‘The Best Kept Secrets of Kerala’, The Folk Tales has “Rustic Charms of Bundi” among their bouquet of experiences and so on. Similarly the startups like SeekSherpa, Vayable, Thrilophillia etc. has been emerging and growing rapidly. This trend has also opened new avenues to the underrated destination e.g. states like Sikkim, Andaman, Assam etc. are mow seeing the rise in tourists in past few years, where few years back the regions with historic monuments, natural beauty, beaches etc were taking major share of the travelers.

While the travel and tourism industry is growing at a good pace due to in rise in disposable income in parallel to the increasing share of young working people among the total population, the providers who are offering unique and experiential experiences are gradually eating the market share of big players who has more of commodity like standard tour packages to offer.

Despite the concept of experiential travel relies on a bespoke, unique vacation; the travelers are now seeking for options in which they can live the destinations by exploring the the traditions, culture, lives, people, etc which makes them feel like a native instead of just a tourist. Thought the experiential tourism is a very small part of the the whole pie, this paradigm shift in the industry is making sure the growth of such options at rapid pace.

Please share your thoughts on this trend change in in the comments section.

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