A dash of adrenaline, to boost the weekend
Weekend tourists drive adventure tourism in India
Rafting in the rapids of the Ganga at Rishikesh and ending the course with a leap of faith into swirling green waters from a 25-foot-high cliff face. For Rishabh Sharma, his birthday couldn't have been more exciting. And he is not an adventure freak. Usually, birthdays have involved partying with friends in a nearby discotheque. But this time, the 24-year-old software engineer took the road less travelled. "This was a fabulous experience. I had not thought I would enjoy so much," a visibly exhausted but cheery Sharma told IANS of his weekend getaway. "I used to think that adventure was only for people who had trained for years. But this was not so difficult. And so much fun," he added.
Noted adventurer and vice-president of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) Mandip Singh Soin said that both adventure tourism and the general acceptance for adventure sports are growing in the country, especially over the weekends. "Adventure sports facilities are mushrooming all over the country and in many adventure activities, like bungee, the tourist doesn't need any training or skills and can just enjoy as a passenger. This allows even a weekend traveller to get an adrenaline rush," Soin told IANS. According to Soin, while traditional adventure activities like trekking or mountaineering remain the bedrock of Indian adventure tourism, new, "passenger" activities are fueling growth in this sector. "Newer adventure activities such as hot-air ballooning, canyon swinging and ziplining cater to the larger section of unskilled adventure tourists, fuelling the rise of adventure tourism," he said.