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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

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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Here’s why Mind and Behavioural Coaching is Important for Indian Cricketers

This week had three significant moments with regard to Indian cricket.

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The Test matches are crucial for Indian cricket to garner points for the Test Championship. Wikimedia Commons

BY YAJURVINDRA SINGH

This week had three significant moments with regard to Indian cricket. The senior Indian team, having demolished New Zealand in the five-match T20I series were brought down to earth, lost 0-3 in the ODIs. The New Zealand side, that looked like a dazzled rabbit under a spot light after the T20Is, suddenly turned into hunters rather than one that was being hunted.

Although the ODIs did not have much importance at this stage, the failure of India’s three star performers — Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav — are a cause for concern. All of them looked till then infallible, but going into the important two-match Test series, New Zealand may feel that they have found a chink in India’s armour.

The Test matches are crucial for India to garner points for the Test Championship. The two top qualifiers will play for the first ever Test-match Trophy in the final to be held at Lords next year. The Test series, therefore, should be very interesting as New Zealand, especially at home, are a side that seem to flourish in their backyard. The red cherry or cricket ball is all that it takes to make cricket encounters between teams into a different ball game.

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Indian cricket at all levels seems to be swarmed with talented and skillful cricketers. Wikimedia Commons

The wonderful aspect of the New Zealand versus India battle has been the spirit in which both the teams have played the game. It is so inspiring to see players on both sides appreciating, acknowledging as well as admiring each other on and off the field.

On the other hand, the next significant moment for India was the U-19 World Cup final and the atrocious behaviour that one witnessed while watching it. India played Bangladesh and the match turned out to be an encounter that one should ensure never happens again on the cricket field. The umpires, I felt, should have sternly put a stop to it at the very beginning. It gradually escalated into an abusive and aggressive mayhem that marred the spirit of the game.

India, the more powerful side with the leading batsmen of the tournament in Yashasvi Jaiswal and the bowler Ravi Bishnoi in their fold, were the strong favourites. Although, both of them did come through with match winning performances, Bangladesh as a team and with an astute captain in Akbar Ali, romped home victorious.

The Indian defeat, if one analyses, was not because of the lack of any cricketing ability but solely on account of their immature and emotional outbursts. Bangladesh, who had nothing to lose, may have instigated the aggressive behaviour, but the Indian side, rather than focusing on their game fell a victim to it.

The talented Indian opening bowlers, rather than concentrating on their line and length went into a mode to showcase the fire power that they possessed and gave away those extra runs that proved detrimental at the end. This was a very bitter lesson that not only the coaching staff of the U-19 side learnt but one hopes that it will be an awakening for the young Indian cricketers in the future as well.

The U-19 Indian side had three of the coolest heads in Indian cricket preparing them for the tournament, in Rahul Dravid, Paras Mhambrey and Hrishikesh Kanitkar. All of them are known for their serious, unemotional attitude and ones who never lost their cool even in the most adverse conditions. One, as they say, lives and learns and one is sure that, hereafter, the U-19 and the India A players will be taken through an emotional and mental behaviour class in going forward.

Indian_cricket_team
The talented Indian opening bowlers, rather than concentrating on their line and length went into a mode to showcase the fire power that they possessed and gave away those extra runs that proved detrimental at the end. Wikimedia Commons

The third significant encounter was the tri-series final between Australia and the India women. India, did well to qualify ahead of England and had Australia in trouble. This T20I series is a warm-up to India’s T20 World Cup being held from February 21. Once again as in the past, India failed to close the match, with 40 runs to make with both their top players Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur at the crease.

The Indian women are getting themselves into a very good position but somehow fail to complete the task at hand. Once again this is all to do with mental preparation and the Indian coach, W.V. Raman, needs to address this very seriously.

India, has two of the most renowned finishers of the game in M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli. A talk with these two individuals before they commence their World Cup campaign would be just the pep talk needed to build their confidence. Cricketing wise the Indian women’s team is right at the top. A cool and collective mind is all they require to win the first big trophy for Indian women’s cricket.

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Indian cricket at all levels seems to be swarmed with talented and skillful cricketers. But the BCCI now has to make them mentally and behaviourally strong and coaching is the only way forward. One hopes they put a good curriculum in place soon. (IANS)