Uttarakhand, Himachal and Maharashtra Emerging as Adventure Hotspots in India: MoT Study
In a recent Ministry of Tourism study, it was found that three states, namely, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra have emerged as top adventure destinations in India. The study revealed that over 31 lakh tourists, both Indians as well as foreigners participated in adventure activities in India in 2015, of which 10 lakh visited Uttarakhand, 5 lakh went to Himachal Pradesh and 2.5 lakh chose Maharashtra. Approximately 4.58 lakh foreigners frequented these three states along with Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan for adventure sports and activities.
The study also revealed that the top land-based adventure activities chosen by tourists in India were wildlife and jeep safaris in the national parks, followed by trekking and camping. Among water-based activities, river rafting which was followed by boat safaris and houseboat stay were the preference of the visitors. Paragliding and parasailing were found to be the top two air-based adventure activities opted by adventure junkies.
In 2015, India earned a revenue of Rs 1,815 crore from domestic and international adventure tourist visits. The states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh earned the highest revenue of about Rs 400 crore and Maharashtra earned over 90 crore.
As per Swadesh Kumar, President of the Adventure Tours Operators Association of India, Maharashtra adventure tourism has flourished mainly because of the numerous corporates and software professionals who undertake adventure activities to de-stress themselves. It is to be noted that Maharashtra has over 350 forts that are ideal for hiking; while Rishikesh in Uttarakhand is perfect for river rafting; and the positive government policies in Himachal Pradesh towards adventure tourism along with a range of mountains are found to be the reasons that make these states popular adventure tourist destinations in India.
The executive director of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Gour Kanjilal spoke on the preference of Indian and International adventure tourists. As per him, the foreign tourists prefer high altitude trekking in places like Shimla, Kufri in Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir and Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Whereas, the Indian tourists prefer soft trekking and watersports in places like Manali in Himachal, Tadoba and Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra, and Goa.
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