More Indian women, especially millennials, are opting for extreme adventure trips and finding them liberating, a study has found. There was a 32 per cent year-on-year increase in women travellers opting for adventure across soft, medium and extreme activities, according to an international travel company which studied booking and enquiry trends of about 2,000 women travellers in India.
The study also found a nine per cent increase in women solo travellers as compared to 2017 and suggests women find such experiences "liberating" as they merge nature, adrenaline and exploration.
Driving the growth, the women largely comprises millennials or Gen Y, typically born between 1980s and 1990s. About 70 per cent of them come from metro cities while the rest from the tier-2, the study found.
It also found that most women seeking adventure trips were financially independent, comprising of professionals such as lawyers, doctors, corporate managers, designers, writers and heads of different organisations.
"While women are travelling with their friends and other women's groups, there is also a trend of mothers travelling with their daughters," said Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings, which carried out the study.
"Adventure has become an enjoyable activity for families to bond. Today women are up for extreme adventure trips and find it liberating as it merges nature, adrenaline and exploration. It also empowers women in several ways and helps curb any inhibitions," Anand said in a statement.
Diving and trekking have emerged to be the two most liked adventure activities by Indian women adventure travellers, according to the study. While Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Ladakh and Nepal top the trekking bucket-list for the women, Andaman Islands, Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia, Red Sea - Egypt, Bali, Gili Islands, Great Barrier Reef and Mauritius comprise the list of diving destinations.
Walking, cycling, biking, rafting and sailing are other activities that Indian women travellers opt for. Commenting on the study, Shahzad Aslam-Sales Head, Leisure Hotels group, said that half of the travellers who visited their hotels in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand last year were women.
He said more number of women, especially solo travellers, go for adventure trips like diving, rafting and trekking, in addition to activities such as nature walks and cycling. "The preferred trips by woman travellers who call our property in Kasauli are soft adventures like short treks, hiking, local sightseeing etc.
"They are also opting for activities like nature walks and forest experiences, depending on whether they are travelling with family or are solo travellers," Aslam said.
The research also found that a mix of social media influence and word-of-mouth is fuelling the growth in solo travel. Safety remains a crucial aspect though, that women research about before stepping out, the study noted.
Female travellers on social media are also to be credited for the growth in interests as their women-point-of-view content has been considerably helping women make travel decisions, the study shows.
Researchers found that there has also been a marginal increase in women's participation in extreme adventures including Kilimanjaro expedition, Stok Kangri expedition and Ice-climbing in Iceland and Manali.
Destinations that are most sought-after for multi-adventure for Indian women are Hampi, Pondicherry, Ladakh, Spiti, Rishikesh, Gokarna, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand in India and Nepal, Bhutan, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, Maldives, Iceland, Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Bali internationally.