Adventure Tourism-The Budding Avenue for Indian Marketers
By Gargi Sarma, Assistant Professor in the Department of M.Com at K C Das Commerce College, Guwahati
India’s Tourism & Hospitality Sector has won the precariousness of the growing dynamism and settled for an impressive growth since 2015. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report (Courtesy-World Economic Forum) flaunts the score hike achieved by the sector within 2017-2019 thereby, crowning India the ‘Major Tourist Destination’. This exponential hike was the result of an apt marketing strategy i.e. ‘Introducing the tourists to a number of exciting chapters of tourism and presenting travel ideas to the prospects with captivating advertising campaigns.’
However, this hike was jiggled with the arrival of the Pandemic. The scenario demanded new marketing strategies to maintain the momentum of Tourism & Hospitality Sector. In order to revise the existing strategy, it became important to focus on the changed interests of prospects. The travel restrictions imposed in the first quarter of the Pandemic conveyed an important piece of information to the sector. It goes like this-‘Travel interests changes but the passion for travel remains the same’. It implies: New interests will unbolt marketing avenues and people’s perpetual passion for travel will assure good scores from these avenues.
Bowing down to the travel restrictions, people have started discovering new travel interests. The travel cravings led them walk ahead and stop by to applaud the charisma of Nature. This can be marked as the doorway of Adventure Tourism. Time presumes this segment to be a money maker for tomorrow. Adventure Tourism is not a brand new segment of Tourism & Hospitality Sector but it has grown popular as people have chosen to change their preferences. Lockdown days have compelled people to understand the worth of soft adventures. It gained repute in the perceptions’ because of two chief reasons-1) A need to celebrate Nature and 2) A need to be Healthy.
The new perception is forcing marketers shift their focus to this potential segment. Every segment holds the potential of being a revenue generator only for a certain period. With the expiry of the period, the potential fades out as the prospects will switch to new segments. Therefore, it calls for a prompt action. A pinch of delay can make the sector miss the big catch.
Success lies on marketing strategy
India has been a dogged learner and has appropriately employed its learning in marking a grand success in the Tourism & Hospitality Sector. This credo has to be followed once again by the marketers to regain the fading glory.
The rich flora & fauna of India needs to be reconsidered by marketers while identifying places which can host Adventure Tourism. Most of the hyped destinations and its adjacent places in India are blessed with spots which allow space for both Soft & Hard adventures. Marketers firstly need to develop such places with the vital amenities for the adventure and proceed to design a campaign to lure people. It can be observed that Soft adventure holds more potential over hard adventure in the arena of Adventure Tourism and hence calls for a need to be earmarked before the final drafting of a marketing strategy. The reason backing it is the ease of relishing Soft adventures. The ease draws a major section of the populace thus pronouncing it a cash-rich zone for tomorrow. The zone however, has to be carefully tapped with a pertinent yet prompt marketing strategy which can succeed. The best way to conceive a superlative campaign for this segment is to firstly observe the adventure choices of people. People’s cult of exhibiting the places explored in social media platforms through their stories & posts can also be of great help for the marketers to understand the catalogue. They can be employed for earning tactics on positioning as well. Mostly the choice of people will depend on two parameters viz. 1) The heritage of Flora & Fauna of a state and 2) Type of adventure the place can offer. Hence, they become the critical factors under consideration.
The ongoing pandemic period can be deemed as the best time for the marketers to reach out their prospects. Marketers have sufficient time to build places in the cognition of the target audience. For the purpose, traditional marketing can be twined with digital marketing techniques as well. This can thus initiate a notable inflow of tourists with the lifting up of travel restrictions.
A sector can win back scores only when a marketer considers challenges to be the instigator of new avenues.
Gargi Sarma is working as Assistant Professor in the Department of M.Com at K C Das Commerce College, Guwahati. Her academic and professional interests lie in Management and Marketing. She is an avid academic having completed her Masters in Commerce, Masters in Arts (Economics), M.Phil program and pursuing her Doctoral work in advertising. Sarma has presented over 20 research papers in National & International seminars and published 10 research papers in reputed journals.
The views expressed in the column are of the author, and may or may not be endorsed by the publication.