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Antecedents Of Heritage Walks & Tourism

Discover India differently, slowly and responsibly with inspiring and insightful stories on heritage walks.

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‘Walks’ are a part of an evolution of human race, depicted by a journey of life for humans to keep walking. Divinity is seen as a higher invisible and invincible power, instrumental in paving roads for humans for exploring the planet circumventing interest-based on IQ and EQ tolerance. For future travelers the quality of familiarities desired will make everlasting trails for exploration, which will suit purpose for generations. This pandemic has brought an unfortunate outcome of a bad experiment, which has locked our blue planet. The reason of pandemic can be seen from a point of view that as creatures we are not ready to grow but to seize. Therefore, it is important to understand that travel sector has many coatings and one of them actually is exploration, which has converted into transaction; lost its momentum towards sustainability for the tourism segment.
The co-construction in tourism has led to engineered concepts that are basically liaising for others. Tourism is all about self-growth and awareness and the traveler is the consumer, who brings socio-economic progress by purchasing travel ancillaries. Travel on land, water, air, space has several variants including walking. The walks are theme based providing local experiential discovery in a self-paced schedule spread over hourly, as multi-hours, multi-days based on availability & convenience. The ‘walks’ thereby transited to ‘tours’ and advanced into ‘experiences’, broadly culminating into satisfaction and the wow effect.

Experience discussed commonly in management parlance, is one of the most misused terms in marketing for positioning the best in travel trade. The walks, tours are encounters, which once consumed take a shape of an experience of the traveler treading the path. The walks are slow paced sightseeing, or an activity intertwined with stories of human past linked to tangible-intangible assets witnessed in a specific situation. The upbringing, education and legacy draws in an authentic flavor specially in delivering heritage walks, which cannot be converted into a cookie cutter approach, desired by the businesses in travel & aggregation. The traveler mentioning his interest means construction of an itinerary, which keeps the relevance intact with an exceptional delivery in restricted hours and best story narration. By combining travel and sightseeing with a certain benchmark envisioned for a traveler’s happiness, including a heritage walk to form a local connection, is the new tourism experience. The travelers are adapting to technologies which provides opportunities for situated learning before taking explorations and further personalize the experiences aspect.

Heritage walks are safe experiences for tourists and enhance community’s visibility. Integration with distribution channels brings contributions to social well-being for the travelers and facilitators. In present times, the meaning of travel is defined through transformation or awakening leading to self-discovery and not so much entertainment. The learnings gained through walking, access to assets, stories and interactions enhances ways to live and thrive on this planet. The theme of the walking tour may change but the aspirations matchmaking is a must to do exercise aligning to history, culture and marketing collaterals on leisure. Heritage walk as a product is just a name and with the substantial service delivery having measurable impact, can provide experiential benefits to both seller and the consumer. ‘Past’ is difficult to comprehend and the storyteller is the one that makes it easier for the travelers, by connecting the dots of essential components from place, region or nation.The designing the heritage walks is linked to the curator life goals as without being original the walk is just a tour commodified by visuals and social selling. This implies to develop a clear understanding of the subject either through passion or study. Here, passion will require a heightened example, which one cannot find in a study material, the stories have to bring life with unmatched research. The distinction in both is not the economic activity but the notion of authenticity, which can meet traveler’s discovery. The guides and facilitators are recruited based on appropriate levels of knowledge, and physical fitness for sightseeing activities. The selling of the heritage walks can be done through digital means or active sales in travel trade however, the content should make sense with consumption practices to position the walk as a tourism product. Technology has evolved and so does the social networking, which can bring early understanding of tourism experiences and precise evaluations. The cultural integrity is maintained by travellers and engagement is created to value destinations’ historic past.

Heritage walks as a product is important for any destination brand to seize the ‘experience’ economy opportunity. This is directly related to showcase the destination authenticity and more so having consumers as co-producers. The government, residents and administrative stakeholders always desire to have more listed products and heritage walks is one such unique product, which can be sold to masses and classes. The strategy is integration of natural environment, built legacy, food and culture centric events which expands the likelihood that sightseers will influence new customers with their stories while supporting in increased revenues. The post COVID-19 scenarios will demand more skilled individuals and fewer immersive products representing a destination with an authentic representation by skilled resources.  The destination voices have to be united with #vocalforlocal mantra so that consumption can be managed by residents, who can also become economically aligned to the benefits of increased revenue brought by the traveler.
Some of our flagships are dedicated to all kinds of walking tours for residents and travelers. The walks have to be themed for information provision which are managed under city brands such Delhi Walks®, Agra Walks™, Jaipur Walks™, Hyderabad Walks™ and ownership is managed through unique model of India City Walks™ and India With Locals™ to find authenticity with on ground enablement. The intrapreneurial opportunities are offered through our brands ‘India Heritage Walks®’ and ‘India Heritage Partners®’. The theme-based classification with safety ratings are managed by us for a destination to roll out heritage walks as a tourism product with sharing of benefits and impact. Heritage walks, as a genre, has become an experiential ecosystem of tourism products with growth of local jobs and economies.

The multifaceted idea of genuineness is a deciding factor in purchasing a heritage walk. The perception of the tourism product through its visual display create visions for suitability, sustainability, poverty alleviation, climate impact and supporting local communities. The traveler emotions are generally scarred by misrepresented information which can assault senses. Heritage walks refresh ideologies and make direct contacts with local inhabitants. The walking tours are informal way of luxuriating in the surrounding. The genuineness of a heritage walk has to be measured before creating it as a product. The walking tours as a product offering is also the easiest form of data collection based on qualitative methodologies and can provide feedback to destination stakeholders to analyze traveler experience and mindset. Tourism broadens the destination responsibilities and heritage walks provides the indulgence of traveler at the destination.

The new traveler in the new world will carry an enterprising attitude towards tourism and will take calculative assessments. The enticement through visuals will demean their travel goals. The excitement will be developed based on benefits to society and contribution to local communities. This idea will further get dissected at various levels, judging the travel spending as a fundamental supplier to the economy, social structure, healthier places and distinctive welfare. Building destination branding by creating heritage walks in India and alongside developing opportunities by addressing gaps through stories could attract a new audience who will appreciate local connections and encourage experiential consumption.

Storytelling creates impact and for centuries have been a way to connect with places. The power of stories on heritage walks makes a difference and creates an emotional connection encouraging communities, cultures, and environments to share their past. This connection involves travelers into discovery of human past with sincere attitudes. The slow or fast walking tours can be boring if disseminated information is not triggering memories of the travelers. Karl Lagerfeld (fashion designer) mentions that recession is an indication of time that is directed for a moral and physical cleaning and requires dramatic moments. Similarly, the present life changing times injected by COVID-19 virus, humans are evolving digitally based on symbolic and experiential dimensions. The city sightseeing experiences have to be re-imagined with a strategic combination of insights, on data and technology for helping the clients to immerse locally, getting closer to real life. The tour guides and tourism facilitators need to put the authentic information first and not rumors to advance sales for competitive advantage.

The new traveler’s consumption trends will have a direct impact on the destination discovery, and it is a product like heritage walks, which can stimulate and maintain originality and advocate the strength of tourism management. Discover India differently, slowly and responsibly with inspiring and insightful stories on heritage walks.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Dr Sachin Bansal

The author is the Founder and Chief Explorer® of ‘City Explorers Private Limited, India’ and with two decades of experience, he has multiple flagships functional in the arena of community impact and destination product creation within tourism industry. As a destination branding specialist, he has coined the conceptual acronyms and led the co-creation through ‘Experiential Delivery in Tourism (EDiT)™’ and ‘Resonating Experiential Delivery Outcome (REDO)™’. For IP related enquiry or for more information can reach Dr. Sachin Bansal on [email protected]

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