Rural tourism is the new buzz in the Indian tourism industry. A number of startups are coming up in this segment as it has huge potential but not fully explored yet. They are working closely with the local communities for their growth by making them economically strong.
The Indian tourism industry has grown very fast in the recent years. The government policies, increased inflow of foreign tourists, economic growth of middle class and many other factors help to drive growth in this sector. Some great business tech and non tech ideas are also contributing to grow this industry fast. In this row, startups including – 1.Pahadi House, 2.Grassroutes, 3.Ecologin, 4.Travel Another India, 5.India Untravelled and many more are working closely with rural communities and promoting rural tourism. They are offering tourists the taste of real India which lies in small villages and farms and making their visits adventurous and eco-friendly. Tourists across the world trust these startups to experience incredible India and travelling those areas which were not visible on the tourist map. Most important, these startups are also promoting local communities by formulating some innovative business models.
Ever-increasing Demand for Rural Tourism
As per the data provided by Brand Equity Foundation, tourism sector is estimated to contribute approximately Rs 4.35 trillion to the total GDP of the country by 2024 with high growth rate per year. This concept is growing swiftly as urban travelers want to travel around unexplored remote and exotic areas for more adventure, enjoying nature, trekking, rock climbing, cooking, wildlife experience and rural life viewing etc. Here get to know about a few pioneering rural tourism startups which are pertaining to change the picture of rural communities.
Promoting Rural Tourism for Social Good
The rural tourism focused startups list is long with unique business models. One among them is Grassroutes India which is launched by Pinheiro in 2009 with an aim to empower rural India. Pinheiro shares, “Today we are working with more than 500 families in the states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. We have developed local communities everywhere which are managed by the local people. It offers them an opportunity to earn livelihood without living their families and villages. They help us in the delivery of hospitality, farming and other services so that urban tourists can enjoy the richness of rural India.” He adds, “Our business model is also bridging the rural and urban gap and providing rural communities a chance to get connected with the modern world despite taking leave from villages lifestyle, customs and traditions etc..” Pinheiro dreams to work with more than 200 communities within next few years by expanding its network across the country. Travel Another India has also been working with the rural communities since 2009. It has multi projects in the states including Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kernataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttrakhand. To implement its projects successfully, Gouthami, Founder, Travel Another India keep exploring about local communities for finding the potential opportunities. Afterward, it invests in for establishing a worthy set up in off-beat areas either with the help of local people or government. In this list next name is India Untravelled which began in 2012 to help tourists to discover hidden and untouched India that have not experienced earlier. Sifti Dhillon, Owner, India Untravelled own love to travel led to start this company. It takes urban tourists away from regular hotels to the destinations with rural lifestyle. It is also encourage solo travelers who want to discover self powers in peaceful locations. Ecologin, a Chennai based startup arrange everything to make rural tourism more adventurous. It takes tourists near to forest to explore real wildlife with all safety arrangements.
Bridging the Gap by Taking Rural Lifestyle Nearby
The augmented demand for rural tourism and difficulties in penetration in remote areas motivated many startups to develop rural stays around the big cities. Pahadi House, crafted in the arms of Kanatal valley is an eco-friendly home stay resort. It has everything to rejuvenate ones emotionally and spiritually just keeping away from the hustle bustle of city life. Similarly, Pratapgarhfarms is another company that offers travelers a chance to experience the real rural India near Delhi. Sheilma Farm and many others operate business on same model and giving tourists experience of rural life and farming activities at its best nearby.
Challenges Faced By These Start Ups
Despite the fact that the industry has huge potential, it is still in a nascent stage. The startups companies are facing many challenges to keep the standard maintained and deliver quality experience to travelers. As the penetration is difficult in rural areas, development of infrastructure is also not an easy task. Pinheiro adds, “We face difficulties to manage rural communities and fulfill tourists’ expectation. Though rural people are very good in hospitality, but making them well trained about how to deliver services to the tourists is big challenge as there is language gap that make difficult to manage everything easily. To make villagers trained hosts requires extra efforts.” Finding new destinations and establishing communities is also a challenging task for these startups.