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Let’s go Globetrotting! A decade of strong growth has put more money in pockets of middle-class India

However many Indians chafe about cumbersome visa procedures, particularly for European countries where applying for the Schengen visa requires elaborate documentation

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South Africa. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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New Delhi, August 31, 2016: Indian tourist, Manasi Chadha, 35, spent ten days holidaying in Spain along with six family members this summer. It is the third year in a row that she took an overseas vacation – Portugal and Italy were the earlier stops.

“Travel kind of opens up your thinking as well. You see a lot more instances of people actually venturing out, they share their experiences, so you tend to travel and try them out,” said Chadha, a senior executive with consultancy Accenture in New Delhi.

Richer tourists

A decade of strong growth has put more money in the pockets of middle-class India while the growing numbers of working women like Chadha have added to disposable family incomes. And as budget airlines open up more routes from India, travel has become more affordable leading to a massive spurt in the number of Indians trawling the globe.

By 2020, the United Nations World Tourism Organization estimates the number of Indians heading overseas will grow to 50 million for both business and leisure travel.

To tap the potential of those numbers, foreign tourist boards are ramping up their presence in the country.

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Indian favorites

Spain for example witnessed a three-fold rise in the number of Indian visitors in the last five years, while travelers to Australia and New Zealand nearly doubled.

As it sets out to woo more travelers, the Director of Spain’s Tourism Office in India, Ignacio Ducasse Gutirrez said, “India is positioned as one of our top emerging markets globally.” The European country witnessed a surge of Indian visitors after a blockbuster Bollywood movie “Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara” was shot in the country showcasing its locales and festivals.

Bollywood has always had a strong influence on Indian travelers, prompting many countries such as Singapore, Ireland, and Australia to woo film producers to shoot films and television soaps in their countries.

Indian tourist tastes are changing

Travel industry professionals say that with higher incomes, travel preferences are also changing from group tours to more luxurious holidays. In New Zealand for example, experiences ranging from helicopter tours to lodge stays are now on the plate of Indian travelers, says Steven Dixon from South and South East Asia Tourism, New Zealand. That includes “adrenaline pumping activities such as jet boating and skydiving, or more luxurious activities such as scenic flights and cruises,” according to Dixon.

And although East Asia still remains a top favorite, time-tested destinations such as Singapore and Thailand or Britain and France in Europe have become passé, as Iîdians with higher incomes head out to more off-beat places. That includes places where few Indians visited earlier, such as Iceland, South America, Uzbekistan, and Croatia.

Wanting a different experience, Mumbai-based management consultant Ajai Mittal and a group of over 50 college alumni chose to go on a cruise of Baltic countries last summer. “It is not as predictable as going to the same places as Paris. There is enough written about them, enough heard about them, these are places which are small and relatively obscure,” said Mittal. He said he would like to explore more such destinations in the future.

However, many Indians chafe about cumbersome visa procedures, particularly for European countries where applying for the Schengen visa requires elaborate documentation. On the other hand, many East Asian countries have liberalized visa rules, allowing Indians to get a visa on arrival, which has helped boost tourism numbers.

Management consultant Ajai Mittal visits St. Petersburg during a cruise of Baltic countries along with more than 50 college alumni. Image source: VOP

Management consultant Ajai Mittal visits St. Petersburg during a cruise of Baltic countries along with more than 50 college alumni.

Indian women love to travel

Still, such woes are not curbing the enthusiasm of travelers, young or old. They include growing numbers of Indian women.

Sumitra Senapaty’s travel club “Women on Wanderlust” organizes all-women holidays to cater to women who want to strike out on their own. From just five trips a decade ago, she now organizes nearly 100 trips a year, with more than half headed overseas.

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She said Indian women travelers have become more evolved and travel for many of them is no longer just a matter of ticking off a destination on one’s passport or visiting the usual hot spots.

In November, she is taking a group of 18 women to Peru, Chile, Argentina and the Galapagos in South America for a holiday that will cost upwards of $12,000. “There is an excitement about it. They look at traveling as not just a holiday, and not just as having fun, but as a way of life. They want to explore new cultures, they want to learn about it,” said Senapaty.

Other travel professionals agree that the Indian middle class is on the move, helping fuel the global travel boom from Asia. (VOA)

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Why Not Everyone Can Travel the World

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

Many people desire to experience how life feels beyond their borders by traveling to as many countries as the possible, but just a few ever manage to realize their dream of traveling. Several factors may be responsible for this, considering that traveling is expensive and will require to have some time on your hand that you can afford you to spend for the travels.

However, most people don’t have either the money to take care of their traveling expenses or the time to travel. But for some people, they have both the time and the money, but still, they are unable to travel. In order to try and understand this group of people, here are some of the possible reasons why not everyone may be ready to travel the world-:

Traveling may be uncomfortable

Leaving the comfort of your home to explore lands you may have never set foot it may not be the easiest thing in the world. It requires you to be tough mentally and physically so that you are well prepped and ready to deal with both the physical and mental challenges you are likely to face.

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When some people think about the prospects of going through these experiences, they find it easy to take the easy decision.

Once you leave the comfort and the certainty you have at home, you are exposed to all kinds of experiences, including dealing with randy roommates, rude people in public spaces, sleeping in crappy hostels, eating foods you have never eaten before, and a whole horde of new experiences. When some people think about the prospects of going through these experiences, they find it easy to take the easy decision which is to stick to the places they already know and never bother to travel the world.

Travelling will take you out of your comfort zone

The possibility of having to do and experience things you have never done before or which you don’t know how to do is another turn of that make some people to not bother about traveling. The human mind is designed to keep the body safe from any harm, both real and perceived. When it comes to traveling, there are so many unknowns that come into play and the natural way to react to this is to avoid any experience you might have not experience so that the body is not faced with any kind of harm. Consequently, the mind will find more comfort in remaining and doing the things it is used with instead of trying to venture out to find out new things happening in other parts of the world. In such a case, it holds true that better deal with the devil you know than the angel you don’t.

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Consequently, the mind will find more comfort in remaining and doing the things it is used with instead of trying to venture out.

Traveling turns you into a different person

Change is a constant factor of life, and when it comes to traveling, it becomes even more pronounced. This is because you will be moving from one place to another, sampling one experience after the other. You will also be meeting different kinds of people, some whom you will like and others who will completely piss you off.

If you are traveling alone, you learn to be independent very first and if before you the travel you didn’t like the prospects of doing things on your own and taking charge or your own life, you find that you will be a completely changed person. There are some people who are truly scared about the prospects of such change, and instead of having to go through such in the name of traveling, they would rather stick to what they knew and just be as they have always been.

Fear and anxiety

When you leave for a trip abroad, like visiting Canada, the moment you fill the Canada ETA form and you are granted permission to get into the country, it will immediately dawn on you that you are now on your own and you have all the responsibility for taking care of yourself. At such moments, you can’t help but feel anxious about the unknown. If it is a destination you have never visited and you have probably heard about some bad stuff about it, the fear grows even bigger and you start to wonder why you had to take the trip in the first place.

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If you are traveling alone, you learn to be independent very first.

It is this fear of the unknown that is stopping millions of people around the world from traveling, even though they have the time and the money to travel. Some people will be constantly worried about their relatives back at home, while some will get depressed over uncertainties such as falling sick while away and much more. To them, home is always the best and there is no need to bother self to try travel to see other places. You can check out this link if you need more information about entry requirements to Canada, now that we have mentioned it.

Misinformation about certain destinations

Some people are also afraid to travel to certain destinations about some myths or wrong information they got about such places. For example, most people are afraid of traveling to certain countries in African and South America due to conflicts and high crime rates respectively. If you have never been to Kenya and you had that though it has some of the best Safari packages in the world, there are constant fights among communities due to politics, you will not be heading to Kenya simply because you don’t want to be caught in the middle of the conflict. Or, if you were thinking about going to Brazil, but you hear about the rampant violence by gangs on the streets, I guess you will also be changing your mind about taking your trip there.

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It is also possible that some people may be afraid to travel to new places due to bad experiences

Bad experience from past travels

It is also possible that some people may be afraid to travel to new places due to bad experiences they might have received while traveling in the past. There are so many things that can go wrong during trips and all of them are potential turn-offs from future travels. For example, losing your flight multiple times during the same trip can be disheartening. Also getting sick, injured or robbed during a trip may make you decide to never go for another trip again.