Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. – Miriam Beard
The concept of holiday travel has undergone a drastic change in the last two to three decades. During my growing up days, holiday travel mostly meant paying social visits to relatives living in different cities. During such visits, together the guests and the hosts would go to the popular tourist attractions. This has changed over time with the changes in lifestyle.
Holiday travel has now extended beyond social visits and also beyond seeing only the popular tourist attractions in many ways.
Last week, I was invited to a blogger meet hosted by Sterling Holidays with IndiBlogger at the ITC Grand Central Hotel in Parel. Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited is an independently managed subsidiary of Thomas Cook (India) Limited (TCIL). It has twenty-nine resorts located all over India. The theme of the meeting was how people are now looking forward to different “holiday experiences.” I was curious to know how Sterling Holidays is making it possible for people to holiday differently.
At the meeting, their Chief Marketing Officer Mr Peshwa Acharya explained how they have come up with a collection of curated experiences in different destinations. The logo of Sterling Holidays has a swirl that represents movement and dynamism. The warm colours of purple, red and yellow represent rich experiences, discoveries and passion of people and the energy of diverse places. A point to be noted is that Sterling Holidays is the first company in India to offer door to door holiday insurance.
Sterling’s new discovery mascot, ‘Raja Rex’ is modelled upon the Rajasaurus dinosaur, which was found on the banks of the river Narmada. Cute, naughty and inquisitive, Raja Rex is ever ready to help travellers discover new activities and experiences.
By inspiring people to discover something new in every destination they visit, Sterling Holidays is fuelling the joy of discovery and making it possible for people to ‘holiday differently.’
Let me explain by sharing some examples from my travel experiences in the recent past.
For most people, a trip to Goa means flocking to the beaches and shacks, enjoying parties or going shopping. We had gone to Goa in the Monsoon, which is considered offseason for tourists. Since it was raining, we couldn’t spend much time on the beaches. But then, Goa has a lot more to offer than beaches. We went around seeing the old churches, enjoyed the lush greenery and admired the Old Portuguese bungalows. We got introduced to a variety of spices and herbs at a spice garden and also got a taste of the Goan cuisine, cooked with homegrown spices.
The trip was different than the commonly perceived idea of a trip to Goa, but it turned out to be enjoyable as we discovered different aspects of Goa.
During my Trip to Kanha National Park, besides taking the forest safari, we also went to a quaint village on the outskirts of the National Park. The striking cleanliness on the streets of the village had us totally impressed. We discovered the indigenous Gond art form of Madhya Pradesh when a resident of the village escorted us to the house of an artist. Beautiful Gond paintings were drawn on the walls.
On the Trip to Russia with my college classmates on the occasion of our silver jubilee reunion, we made it a point to see a folk show called ‘Feel Yourself Russian,’ at the Nikolaevsky Palace in St. Petersburg. This was a unique opportunity for us to get acquainted with the history and cultural traditions of Russia.
Such immersive experiences have broadened my perspective and given me new ways of seeing things. These have helped me to better appreciate the diversity of people and culture of the different places.
Sterling Holidays seems to understand this need for experiential travel of the New Age travellers to the hilt. By adding the flavour of experiential travel, the brand endeavours to create unique off-beat holiday experiences for travellers.
Travelling in the interiors of the country has its own novelty and charm for people living in cities, with little or no idea about life in the different suburban and rural areas of India.
Imagine yourself stargazing and having dinner under the clear sky at Corbett or going on a trip to a tea estate at Darjeeling and enjoying a tea tasting session at the resort lounge. How beautiful the experience would be!
Have you been to a weaver’s village, where you see the villagers weave exquisite handloom? That is exactly what you would do in Sterling’s Dindi culture trail. Dindi is a village in East Godavari district at the intersection of the Godavari River with the Bay of Bengal. Besides treating yourselves to a local sweet delicacy, Pootharekulu (paper-sweet), you can also learn how it is made. Interesting! Isn’t it?
In the Sterling Oooty heritage trail, travellers get to know about the rural lifestyle of the Thoda tribe through a demonstration of their traditional dressmaking, the unique hairstyles and a visit to their temples. Travellers can also experience the Thoda culture by living in a traditional hut and learn to cook the Thoda cuisine.
These would be a one-off experience for most city dwellers. Needless to say that such ‘holiday experiences’, resonate on a deeper, emotional level.
Expedia, an online travel company had ranked India as one of the most vacation-deprived countries in the world. Hopefully, such up and close experiences will encourage people to travel to take vacations, go out and explore the world and in the process discover themselves. I will close on the note that a world of discovery awaits you at Sterling Holidays.
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. – Henry Miller
**This post is written in collaboration with Sterling Holidays and IndiBlogger. Some images have been taken from pictures shared by IndiBlogger and from Sterling Holidays Media Kit.
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