Women-only groups are targeted by both private and government players operating in the field of travel

Picture this. You want to take a break from work and head on a vacation but either your husband’s office work or your kid’s school exam doesn’t let you. And you, as a woman, are left hoping for an angelic familial figure who could accompany you on a vacation. But with the social constraints placed by the family on innumerable married women even today in India, such plans often end up in nothing. Here steps in Women on Wanderlust (WOW). An organisation which offers women-only travel services, it finds you good company to travel in. Sumitra Senapaty, a self-confessed wanderer at heart, started this unique travel club. “There was no women-specific travel service available earlier. There was a gap in the market and WOW from 2005 onwards, as a pioneer, has been addressing this,” says Senapaty, adding that this concept is fast catching on. Supporting her claim is her Facebook page with a following of more than 1,60,000 people. “The women in our groups are generally aged between 25 and 75 years and are mostly professionals. They are single, married or widowed, but more importantly they are independent women,” remarks Senapaty.

The online portal Makemytrip carried out a survey last year to identify the favourite destinations for women travellers. Mohit Gupta from Makemytrip says Spain and Thailand were found to be the most popular. “To cater to the adventurous women travellers in India we launched women’s special holiday packages for Ladakh and Bhutan,” adds Gupta.

It is not only a couple of private travel organisations that are eyeing the increase in the number of women tourists, as there are there some Government initiatives too.

Chhattisgarh Tourism Board is taking some steps in this direction. “Currently 25 per cent of the tourists visiting Chhattisgarh are women. We have special offers and facilities to increase that figure. Besides providing women guides to all women groups and special women staff, we also offer discounts to women tourists. Government agencies have an advantage over the private players as it enjoys credibility and offers most cost-effective packages,” says Pallavi Shimpley, a Tourist Officer for Chhattisgarh Tourism Board.

Clearly, the idea of providing services to a niche group is becoming more popular. “There are doctors’ groups, teachers’ groups, students’ groups and now women’s groups. The logic behind it is that people of the same group share the same interests,” notes adds Shimpley.