Niharika Nigam, Director-Business Development, Jumpin Heights, talks about the status of adventure tourism in India as well as his company Jumpin Heights
How do you see the Indian adventure tourism market shaping up?
India is one of the best locations for adventure sports. Adventure sports have experienced a surge in popularity over the past ten or so years. People are preferring experiential travel to spend their money on, and we see them justify experiences over things for their travel expenses. Extreme sports are emerging as a great way to experience a local landscape, by truly cherishing its land, air, and water by indulging in activities that provide thrilling, adrenaline-fueled encounters with them. These activities could be bungy jumping, skydiving, scuba diving, surfing, rock climbing, and paragliding, among others, and are the sports of choice among thrill-seekers. As more tourists choose adventure activities, adventure tourism is quickly becoming one of India’s fastest-growing industries and 7th largest in the world.
What is the market size of adventure tourism in India?
As per a report by Allied Market Research, the adventure tourism market was valued at $112,227 million in 2020 and is projected to reach the market value of $1,169,095 million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 20.1% from 2021 to 2028.
The growth of the travel industry is currently being driven by the tourism sector. People were compelled to stay inside because of the pandemic-induced lockdown and societal segregation practices. As a result of being cooped up from the pleasures of nature, there is now what is being called ‘revenge tourism’, causing all experiences to be sold out. People are naturally eager to travel now that things are settling down, and adventure sports are at the top of the list as a therapeutic escape from an otherwise routine life. Because of this, experts in the field predict a boom in interest in adventure sports in the near future.
Despite India having great potential for adventure tourism, the country is yet to come on the global tourism map? What is your take in this?
Things are changing. We just hit a global record of having operated over 1 lakh jumps in Rishikesh, a landmark for adventure tourism in India. In general, it is because of a lack of awareness among the people. People are afraid of doing adventure activities in India because they don’t trust safety practices. We are changing that norm, and our safety practices and quality is at par with the best globally. We have been behind on the global tourism map because we are not paying attention to national safety standards. We need to have higher standards, strict initiatives for safety regulations of adventure tourism, which will encourage people to indulge in adventure activities.
You launched the first bungee jumping in 2010 in Rishikesh and the 2nd in Goa almost after a decade. Why is so?
Permissions take time. We do things the proper way, with the right certifications and procedures. This takes time.
How has the response been from the market?
Unprecedented. When we started 12 years ago, we weren’t sure how it would be, but a decade later, there’s no looking back. We’ve operated over 1 lakh jumps in Rishikesh and have started a second location in Goa now. Unparalleled levels of thrill and a once-in-a-lifetime experience are offered by adventure sports, which people genuinely cherish forever! The section paused when it encountered the coronavirus. But now that it’s reset, it’s ready to go!
As people are bored of staying at homes due to corona, they want thrill and excitement in their life which helped the adventure tourism industry to boom.
Are you planning to expand bungee at other Indian destinations?
Yes, but it’s too nascent to talk about it.
How closely do you work with b2b agents/operators?
Very closely. We invite b2b tie ups and have a huge clientelle from online tour operators (OTA’s) as well. We also work well with corporate organisations for their offsites.
By Gayatri Anand