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India finds new stress buster in Adventure sports

The Indonesia team compete during the men's slalom open race at the World Rafting Championship 2015 at Citarik river in Sukabumi, Indonesia's West Java province December 5, 2015.   REUTERS/Beawiharta - RTX1XABY
The Indonesia team compete during the men's slalom open race at the World Rafting Championship 2015 at Citarik river in Sukabumi, Indonesia's West Java province December 5, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta - RTX1XABY

New Delhi, Dec. 5 : In a developing economy like India, where there is race among the employees to run past each other and contribute to the nation’s growth, the stress sometimes gets better of people.

In an effort to bust that stress, the ruling dispensation at the Centre is planning to equip more and more offices with in-built gyms and promote adventure sports.

26-year-old Nipun, who is an adventure sports enthusiast, left the comforts of his New Delhi home for his passion of adventure in Rishikesh.

“I think everybody should get into adventure sports. We are totally technology dependent right now. I think we should just move away from our phones and computers and naturally get back into nature and have some fun,” he said.

Nipun is one among the small number of travellers looking for a different type of experience.

After making the employees stretch and meditate on World Yoga Day in June, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-government is now considering promoting activities like mountaineering and rappelling – a move that could increase the pulse rate of the adventure travel and extreme sports industries.

Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Mahesh Sharma expressed his delight over the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister in order to promote extreme sports.

“Seeing tourist presence and investors interest, it seems adventure sports are the future of tourism in India. We honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to promote extreme sports. Our government as well as the state government is committed to develop this region as a serene and safe spot for adventure sports,” said Sharma.

But in reality, adventure tourism remains a relatively small market in India as compared to the West.

According to a survey by a trade body, the global market is pegged at USD 89 billion, while in India it’s estimated to be under USD 75 million.

But with India’s overall tourism sector set to grow at an average annual rate of 7.9 percent till 2023, there is plenty of potential to expand what is currently a niche of the industry.

And that’s where, observers believe that the government could play a pivotal role.

Shashank Pandey, Director, Aspen Adventures, believes that adventure sports sector is basically neglected because there is not much support from the people in India.

“It’s only three percent of the entire country that know what adventure sports can do and can bring a reform in their daily lives. And the government hasn’t been that supportive in this matter,” said Shashank.

“A lot of promotional activities not only at the state government-level but even at the Central Government-level should be done, making the people aware of how these activities really help them to reduce the stress they have in their daily lives,” he added.

The adventure travel industry might be minuscule, but analysts believe that it is on the upswing. And the growth in the tourism sector has the potential to take the extreme sports to dizzy heights.

A survey recently conducted by YouGov says that a large number of Indians want to see more extreme sports while many of them want skateboarding to be made an Olympic sport.

YouGov research studied the behaviour and attitude of more than 2,000 young men and women from 10 countries.

Based on results of this research, The Next Generation Events report was released in Dubai at the Host Cities 2015 Summit. This report has chalked out top 10 trends for the future. (ANI)