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Adventure Travel gaining momentum

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Adventure Travel gaining momentum

Talking to Travel Bulletin Middle East, Chaitali Costa, Co-founder, ‘I love Adventures’, waxes eloquent about the surge and growing appetite for adventure travel, a distinct and growing tourism niche that brings out the adrenaline-rush from committed enthusiasts and her efforts to bring themed, ingenious travel ideas to the Middle East.

Arijit Munshi, General Manager, Tune Protect, EMEIA, looks at the need for adequate cover for mitigating hazards and ensuring risk-protection for this special-sector travel through a prudent, dependable assurance plan.

 

How did ‘I love Adventures’ start? 

Chaitali Costa (CC): My business partner and I share an enthusiasm and passion for excitement, intrigue, sport and adventure travel. When on vacation, we like to engage in high-energy, high-octane activities rather than just do sightseeing. We enjoy getting involved in adventure related local escapades and explorations. It just adds so much fizz to a vacation.

Adventure-travel related ideas bring out the zeal and zest from adherents like no other. Buoyed on by the fun, enjoyment and the intensity these ‘roads less travelled’, thrilling and exhilarating activities bring to adventure travel pursuits, we decided to launch ‘I love Adventures’. This was the beginning of our venture. Like the elation experienced by a traveller, business has gushed upwards since the introduction of this special-interest endeavour.

Recently we resolved to bring this concept to the Middle East. We examined various itineraries and available options and found best-fit solutions with some competent companies in the region. We are currently in discussions with three leading small-group adventure travel companies in the GCC for collaboration and possible partnership.

What are the various adventure sports and activities you organise and where? 

CC: We now offer active small-group holiday packages to over 120 destinations worldwide. Adventure activities range from subtle exploring to challenging activities such as cycling, skiing, mountaineering, trekking, kayaking, paragliding, culture and wildlife exploration.

A small group, fixed departure designed arrangement allows people to join from anywhere in the world to intimately explore a destination and network. Also, the itineraries are designed to keep a group in smaller and manageable sizes and use local transport, businesses, knowledge and experience to involve local communities. No one is better acquainted and suited to serve tourists than locals and our vetted partners come with good credentials.

Is travel assurance mandatory for ‘I love Adventures’? What are the key items you look for with regards to benefits? 

CC: Whilst we leave the decision of opting for any adventure related travel assurance solely with the traveller, we strongly recommend it as a must-have for any adventure junkie. When a traveller embarks on an adventure rich travel journey, the traveller is exposed to risk, external factors and force-majeure eventuality.

An adventure traveller must carefully study the benefits and do the appropriate due-diligence before buying a travel insurance cover since the traveller needs to ensure that it does cover the risk of factors involved in his adventure. Most standard protection covers will exclude adventure associated activities. Adventure sports cover is often an add-on to standard travel insurance policies and while it is likely to add to the cost of a policy, it is certainly well worth it.

How and why did Tune Protect come up with a Travel Adventure Assurance plan?

Arijit Munshi: Tune Protect recognises the growing adventure travel segment from the region and the specific benefits an adventure-seeker is looking for when it comes to risk protection. Travel insurance is no longer limited only to flight delays and baggage loss.

In fact, a mandatory, indispensable adventure assurance cover will provide a range of benefits catering to the risks involved in various adventure and winter sport activities. Zip-lining, shark cage diving, white water rafting, bungee jumping, abseiling and rock climbing are good examples of high-risk adventure activities. For instance, high-altitude sickness is one of the most common risk a mountaineer will encounter and the only way to evacuate from high altitudes is by a helicopter.

To not have a travel protection which would cover this benefit will mean that the adventure seeker will have to look at damages of anywhere between USD $7,000 to USD $10,000 in adverse circumstances. As an example, ski equipment and third-party liabilities are some of the add-ons needed when on an adventure trail. We offer customers tailored assurance plans and cover for specific activities.