Indian travelers are increasingly looking for experiences that allow them to connect with local cultures, discover new learnings and create lasting memories.
Moving away from mundane heritage walks, Eesha Singh, co-founder of No footprintbrings a new vision of storytelling through touring experiences.
With 35 experiences in Mumbai and Delhi, No Footprints aims to shed light on overlooked conversations about culture, people and communities.
“Instead of making the story boring, we wanted to use humor when we started our journey in tourism. We wanted to look at storytelling through a stand-up comedy lens and ensure that a city is well understood within hours,” Singh told Skift Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia in the last episode of the show. India Skift Travel Podcast.
Launched with the ‘Mumbai by Dawn’ tour in 2014, the company later developed community tours around the Parsis, East India and the city’s indigenous Koli fishing community.
Some of his important tours are:
- Mumbai at dawn: Starting at 5 a.m., these tours explore the inner workings of the city, from delivering newspapers and milk to fishing, and distributing fruit and vegetables. “Mumbai is best discovered at dawn, just before chaos sets in,” Singh said.
- Queer Day: Usually led by a queer activist, this tour traces the journey of the country’s queer history. “When we started this tour, people were confusing queer tours with gay-friendly tours,” Singh said. “So we needed people to understand queer narratives, queer history and queer subculture. »
- Refugee Food Tour: These tours help travelers understand how international communities reclaim their identity through food. Singh explained how celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor went on a full tour with them in Delhi to understand the capital’s refugee community.
Earlier in April, No Footprints hosted celebrities and organized tours for actors Tom Holland and Zendaya, model Gigi Hadid and chef Nigella Lawson when they visited Mumbai.
New habits of the Indian traveler
Indian travelers are now more keen on experiences than just ticking off items on a to-do list.
“When we launched our experiential tours, we didn’t know if domestic travelers would accept them. But we’ve seen an increased interest in them seeking experiences beyond food and drink in a city,” Singh said.
The company recently held a foraging workshop and worked with the Bombay Natural History Society to understand wildlife conservation.
Prior to the pandemic, No Footprints catered to the inbound market.
“We were lucky to be in the right place at the right time. As local audiences didn’t have access to travel outside of their city, we started doing a lot of local tourism, which encouraged people to become tourists in their own backyard, exploring and reconnecting with places very close to home,” Singh said.
Additionally, the company has begun offering immersive workshop-led tours during weekends for domestic travelers and has also engaged with schools to incorporate courses into the curriculum for students to learn more. on their city.
“In a way, the shifting travel preferences of domestic travelers aligned perfectly with our post-Covid offering,” she said.