Travel And Tour World – Tell us about your company, Countryside Adventure Holidays.
Milind Bhide: Founded in 1993, Countryside Adventure Holidays was born out of a deep love and passion for the outdoors. We evolved ourselves as the organizers of experiential, adventure and offbeat holidays; offering a wide choice of destinations, a variety of activities and of flexible duration.
Travel And Tour World: What kind of experience you offer to the travellers?
Milind Bhide: Our motto is “Outlive”. It defines and adds meaning to our lives so that the next moment we experience, we outlive it! We provide our clients with an experience free from the shackles of conventional travel and destinations. Our tours are designed to showcase exotic destinations to the intrepid and discerning traveller. Whether it is a leisurely holiday, or an action-packed one, filled with treks, hikes, rafting, camping and cycling, we have something for everyone. Our emphasis is on safety, comfort and a unique local experience for an authentic flavor of the destination.
Travel And Tour World: What do you think about the popularity of adventure travels?
Milind Bhide: Adventure travel is an ever growing segment. It is very challenging as there are number of adventurous activities with varying levels of difficulty. Adventure tourism earlier used to be just a small part of the overall tourism sector. But today it is gaining popularity which is marked as USD 260 billion global market (as per a UNTWO report) , due to increased awareness and exposure among global tourists.
Travel And Tour World: What are the market challenges in India you are facing?
Milind Bhide: The overall cost of all the adventurous services provided by Countryside Adventure Holidays is increasing due to GST. There are smaller service providers like guest house owners and horse/pony owners who are remotely located. But they do not have the resources to comply with GST norms. There is another important aspect is safety to the national and international tourists.
Since there is a growing demand of adventure travel, almost everyone wants to foray into it.
The price conscious consumer always opts for the cheapest deal with little or no consideration of safety and service standards. These are the biggest challenges we facing, to validate and justify our safety and service standards.
Travel And Tour World: What are the solutions of these problems, which are currently a major challenge in travel industry?
Milind Bhide: To overcome, the current taxation needs to be streamlined so that it can prove to be a major benefit for the tourism and hospitality industry. Now I am highlighting on security and safety. Safety is a dimension of utmost importance. We curate experiences in ways to ensure high safety standards are maintained.
Travel And Tour World: What are you future plans to increase more traveling opportunities from Countryside Adventure Holidays?
Milind Bhide: For the last 25 years, Countryside has been striving to provide people with adventure travel like never before.
We are trying to offer the experiences which are beyond the usual cookie-cutter holidays. We want people to actually immerse themselves in the destination and experience it as an avid explorer. We want to give them the best experiences and moments that they have always dreamt about. We offer our deals to the ever evolving travellers, where adventure is one of the primary aspects. Now the adventure tourism has widely grown over the years. We are currently working on expanding our product portfolio into a more diverse one.
Travel And Tour World: As there is a decline of diplomatic relation with China, do you think that it creates an impact on tourism?
Milind Bhide: We do not feel that the present relation that India and China share has affected tourism. There are lots of activities we see in leisure and business travels, both from India and China. And also when it comes to spiritual tourism, there are plenty of pilgrims who go to China to visit Kailash Manasarovar.
Travel And Tour World: Your views on India’s progressive attitude to boost adventure tourism in Kashmir Valley.
Milind Bhide: Kashmir Valley is filled with tourist attractions like Srinagar, Gulmarg and Pahalgam. These destinations are boosting tourism in Kashmir Valley. But what requires most is that the travellers will feel safer and comfortable in a more hospitable environment.
However, tourism in Kashmir has increased over the years, even though it isn’t the main source of economy. Yet, the tourism here provides employment to a large number of people. Hence, the conditions are not as bad as portrayed. However, considering the eagerness of adventure travelers wanting to visit Kashmir; adventure tourism is the ideal form to promote.
We all must come together to boost tourism and remove the fear from the tourists. Thus, it make to explore the beautiful destination in India without fear.