the quality and safety standards of the operator. They would rather pay a high price and choose a trip offered by a certified operator than compromise on quality and safety, the survey finds out.
The silver lining to the ‘trust factor’ comes only in the form of a slight rise in the percentage of people (34.20%) preferring to participate in adventure or extreme sport activities with an element of risk (like bungee jumping) in India and operated by an Indian company. The figure stood at about 24% last year.
“This means that adventure tour operators in the country are going all out to take up the issue more seriously and to spread the message of safety among travellers,” said Ganju.
In terms of numbers, Indian travellers still prefer to go easy on the hardcore adventure activities. Up to 46% of the respondents indulged in birdwatching, followed by trekking/hiking (41%) and safaris (37%) in the past six months, the survey finds out. “Indians are more interested in ‘soft’ adventure activities like birdwatching. There is a combination of factors for this, like the involvement of a reasonable level of risks and higher costs in the ‘extreme’ sports, apart from travellers’ perception about Indian adventure tour operators.
This explains why, as per the survey, 63% respondents said they did not engage in any extreme sports while on a holiday in the last six months; the corresponding figure for travellers who do not want to do so even in the next six months is 30.86%.
About 58% respondents said high costs have forced them to change their mind or prevented them from undertaking certain extreme sports that require one to invest in specialised gear (like high-altitude trekking). Also, about 75% travellers interviewed by the travel portal claimed they never did any wasteful expenditure on purchasing equipment or clothing for an extreme sport that they did only once.
As far as destinations are concerned, old favourites like Goa and Rishikesh continue to occupy the top slots. “Places like Goa are versatile and offer a variety of activities at the same place, hence their popularity. Andaman Islands has moved to the third spot from last year’s fifth, which means that Indian travellers are also looking out for offbeat destinations,” says Ganju. Globally, the US, which ironically did not figure on last year’s list, has emerged the No. 1 choice for Indians.