Holiday Travel in India has changed and How!

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.

How Holiday travel has evolved over time

Changing Holiday Pattterns

Holiday travel has now extended beyond social visits and also beyond seeing only the popular tourist attractions in many ways.

  • People now take multiple short getaways.
  • For many new age travellers, holiday travel is more about garnering new experiences and making individual discoveries.
  • Besides travelling with family, people also travel with friends or even with social media groups on special occasions.
  • Instead of staying at some relatives place, groups generally assemble at some resort in a common destination to explore new and even lesser known places.
  • The idea of holiday travel is to get a hang of the place in its totality and discover interesting facets of the local culture, cuisine, art, wildlife, nature and adventure.
  • Finally, the pictures must be Instagramable since a holiday is not complete till you have shared the pictures.

 

#HolidayDifferently Blogger Meet in Mumbai

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.

Sterling Holidays Blogger Meet


SterlingHolidaysLogo
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.

Discover with Sterling’s new discovery mascot, ‘Raja Rex’

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.’

 

But what does it mean 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.

Goa in Monsoon
Goa in Monsoon
Portuguese-Church-in-Goa
Old Portuguese church in Anjuna, 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.

Gond Wall Art
Gond Wall Art

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.

Feel-yourself-russian
Feel Yourself Russian Folklore show

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.

 

Holiday Differently at Sterling Holiday Resorts

Holidays have changed

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.

Stargazing at Corbett
Stargazing at Sterling Corbett

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!

Darjeeling-Tea-Trail
Darjeeling Tea Trail

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?

Dindi
Dindi

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.

Btw, did you know that India as one of the most vacation-deprived countries in the world?

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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    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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Somali K Chakrabarti

Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle - from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

comments
  • A delightful post.

  • Travel culture has evolved greatly in the past few years, and for the better. Great read, Somali. 🙂

    Do take a look at my latest: expressinglife.in/2017/12/whats-in-a-name-essays-on-jodhpur.html

  • Very true Somali. We too went on a Europe holiday which was very different. We planned on the destination not much travelled. We visited their schools, architectural monuments, did a home stay, tasted their cuisine, cooked Indian food for them, camping, trekking, kayaking…..it was one of the best holidays we had!

    • Thank you Radhika. I too find it much more enjoyable to get a hang of the place where I am travelling to. Home stay , observing the landscape and architectural details , getting involved in activities are some of the most immersive experiences.

  • The vast improvement in Infrastructure…. beautiful roads….. cheap flights and increasing income has exploded the travel bug in human beings…..

    nice post……

  • I think I would also prefer to visit Goa in the monsoon season. That is just my personal preference, of course!

  • Nice post. Travel culture is evolving in India. Bengalis mysteriously have a travelling culture among Indians since long and now it’s spreading across the country. Even domestic tourism can boost the tourism industry besides job creation. Some chains of resorts and hotels are doing a good job in India.

    • Thank you, sir. Yes, Bengalis are always to be found at all tourist spots in India. We met a Bengali group in Kathmandu too. 🙂 Good to have such travel packages in India too where they show the unique aspects of a place. With Thomas Cook taking over many of these domestic companies, we may see a better a more standardized and professional approach to the travel services,

  • That was amazing you got invited to the blogger meet hosted by Sterling holidays! Can definitely see you there in the crowd paying attention 😀 Must have met quite a few other bloggers in India too. Very cool. Certainly holiday and travel is so different compared to a few decades ago, and these days with the internet and social media, sharing our experiences is becoming so normal.

    Shorter trips usually means more time to travel to different places. From your recent travel experiences, it seems this is the case for you. It did seem you went to see a mix of tourist attractions and places off the beaten track, a bit further out and quieter – like tea picking in Darjeerling. Usually I like to avoid the touristy areas because of crowds, but sometimes I still like visiting them because the attraction itself interest me…and really when you travel, anything that you do is pretty much a once in a lifetime experience 🙂

    • Thank you Mabel for your kind words.
      There were around 25 bloggers in the meet, so it was a manageable number. And yes, got to meet some of the bloggers, whom I have followed but haven’t met, So it was great.
      The point that you have made about sharing the experiences on social media reminds me to add it to the post along with the fact that pictures should be Instagramable too. 🙂
      I like to go to the tourist attractions but I do not enjoy seeing those in a touch and go manner. I would rather spend time exploring a place, assimilating the characteristics and clicking pictures. I enjoy the off beat places too but I do not like to spend much time i the shopping malls at different places. 🙂

      • That is so cool to meet bloggers you’ve been following. Must be like meeting friends whom you know for a while 🙂 It is never always a bad thing sharing on social media – it’s a way to get to know each other and maybe even inspire ourselves to get out there 🙂

        ‘I do not enjoy seeing those in a touch and go manner’ This is so me too. I’d much rather visit a couple of places in a day than five if it means spending more time in each 🙂 As for shopping malls, I’d frequent them on holiday when I feel tired and just want a comfortable walk – or if I really want to buy something 😛

        • Yes, Mabel, it was great to meet fellow bloggers. You are right that social sharing sometimes motivates us to get out there. Like you, I also like going to malls only when I have to buy something or to see a movie, 🙂
          Thank you, Mabel. Hope you are having a wonderful week.

  • As Indian travelers mature they want to do away with cliche stuff and experience something new. After all, its the memories that count!

    • True, Arv. I remember a couple of years back at Mount Abu there was a huge group of travellers who were rushing towards the sunset point. We decided to move away in the opposite direction to a quieter place. 🙂 So yes, as people travel more they would want t do away with the cliche stuff. Thank you for stopping by.

  • Travel culture is spreading rapidly and it has changed a lot. Earlier, travelling was confined to the country, but now we are travelling abroad and that too just for the love of travelling. Bengalis traditionally, love to travel. I think that’s the reason you’ll find a Bengali restaurant in every popular tourist spot 😀

    Sterling is working effectively to make a difference in the tourism industry. The Raja Rex is so very cute! Thanks to IB and Sterling for catering the relevant information.

  • You have portrayed the true essence of holiday travel through this post! This definitely reflects how travel culture is evolving in India. 🙂

  • Nice write up Somali! Loved the fact how you used your personal experiential holiday experience to relate to what Sterling is up to.. Keep it up..

  • Nice post. True people are changing so are the ways they look at holidays. Increasing exposure to foreign travels, foreifgners and access to funds have increased options. Gone are the days, when people will pack a holdall and wrap a comforter and move from Bengal to Delhi, Agra etc. Bengali people are still avid travellers, but their way of travelling is changing. Many go for trekking, scuba diving, bunjee jumping, white water rafting etc as part of holiday package.

  • You’re such a world traveler and explorer, Somali! And now, you’re rubbing elbows with the blogger elites — impressive 🙂 I see that most of the audience consisted of women bloggers. Was this intentional, do you know?

    • Thank you, dear Rose. Such meets are generally helpful to understand the ethos and values of the brand. Yes, women were more in attendance but I don’t think it was intentional, as there might be more women bloggers here than men.
      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you and are enjoying the last days of the year. 😀 Thank you so much for visiting.

  • Somali, what a lovely way of sharing such a wonderful aspects of traveling. Indeed new age travelling has undergone a sea change then what used to be during our childhood days. Yes, still remember those school summer holidays, bit nostalgic and a trip to our village or relative place was what defined our vacation. Abroad was a dream and never was in our agenda. There was so much in the family and within the relatives, and sharing and caring was an integral part of vacation, and we used to love it. Things have indeed changed, world is small village and the scope and scale of travelling has extended beyond the boundaries and beyond the family members and relatives.

    The combination of new age travel is fascinating, solo traveler to travelling with virtual friends like bloggers only to only wives to only husband to only office friends and the list goes on… and the quest for experimentation is high on the chart. With rising disposal income and the new generation being more adventurous, and with exciting travel package custom designed by the smart marketing agencies (like Sterling Holidays) the world seems to be small place. No more it happens at the end of the year, weekend travel to short trips every few months and combining business with leisure has made holidaying all more encompassing and everything is in the present and now is what matters, unlike the earlier days we have to first complete our work during the year and then only at the end of the year plan to take a much deserved vacation, we were straitjacketed in our thoughts. Travel is a discovery and life needs that more frequent than what was confined or perceived earlier…

    Somali, I am sure you must have had a great interaction with the team at the venue along with the select gathering, that’s the advantage when we have limited invitees. This also qualifies the fact that blogger have become an influencing group, you have always been and our role in expanding the brand can no more be undermined. Definitely, it is signifying the increase contribution of digital technology in spreading the wings of products and services. Yes, it is the experience that differentiate then just a mere visit to an exotic place, and even in small unknown place is truly making a huge difference to the travelers experience. Travelers are looking for exploring the unexplored to trying that they have no done earlier to immersing in local cultures and engaging with nature…exactly what you have done in your visit to Goa to Kanha National Park to St. Petersburg, and it was wonderful reading your experience.

    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    😀

  • Thank you Nihar. Yes, memories of vacations during the childhood are nostalgic. Back then, going abroad that too on a holiday was unthinkable. The world has changed and so have our ways and also our holidays.
    Travel is a discovery and life needs that more frequent than what was confined or perceived earlier… How wonderfully you have articulated this! I find that immersing in the local culture of a place makes the travel much more enjoyable as well as it broadens the perspective of the travellers.
    You’re right that the quality of discussions with limited invitees is generally better. Such meets do signify the increasing contribution of digital technology and digital influencers in content marketing.
    Hope you are enjoying the last week of the year. 🙂

  • I have stayed with Sterling only once. Even though I owned a sterling timeshare but I sold it off owning to financial troubles of the company, years ago. i recently heard that a new person has taken over and changing things at Sterling. he reviews I read about Goa properties on tripadvisor is amazing. Thanks for this informative post.

  • A nice, informative post. It’s good to see that the travel boggers present in the meet were women. Isn’t that holiday differently? 😉 Yes, there is a paradigm shift in the tourism sector too.

  • Goa is beautiful and I love India , sadly this year I couldn’t travel because I lost my passport. And Love the post so much , love reading how you have described it. Keep it up 💕
    Also Please check out my latest post on How to travel Like a Pro –
    https://sunainadasblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/travel-like-a-pro-delsey-luggage/

    Hope you will like it ❤️
    Xoxo,
    Sunaina

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