The tourism industry has seen a vast change due to the pandemic. To rebuild the Indian tourism industry, two members from the tourism fraternity — Dheleepan G V and Adamsonraj J — have started a campaign called Travel for Tourism. The duo is also attempting a Guinness World Record title, Longest Journey by Scheduled Public Transport in a Single Country. In the trip that covers 34,500 km, they will be travelling in 34 trains, 18 buses and 8 flights covering 23 states and four Union Territories in India in 70 days.
“We started our journey on February 7 from Puducherry and were supposed to complete the trip on April 7. But due to certain unforeseen circumstances, we had to take a three-week break in between. Now, we are in Madurai and back on the road. According to the current plan, we will be completing the trip on May 7 at Rameswaram. The reason for starting the Travel for Tourism campaign is to revive the badly-hit tourism industry. This initiative is supported by Tamil Nadu Tourism, India Tourism, Pondicherry University, Indian Coast Guard, Youth Hostels Association of India, BRICS Generation and Dairiyam Explorers Group by Prakruthi,” says Dheleepan, who is doing his doctorate in tourism. Adamsonraj has completed his MBA in Tourism and is working in the tourism industry.
The mission of the Travel for Tourism campaign is to encourage people’s interest and boost their confidence to travel post COVID-19. “As members of the tourism fraternity, the responsibility of rebuilding tourism remains with us. We strongly abide by the saying ‘practice what you preach’. We believe travelling and showing ‘travelling is safe and interesting’ is much stronger than verbally advocating ‘it is safe to travel’. There are four objectives in this campaign. Firstly, we are addressing the fear of using public transport through the Guinness World Record attempt and encourage people to use public transport by flashing its benefits. A few benefits of using public transport is it reduces pollution and brings down traffic congestion on the road. The second objective is to highlight the safety and hygiene practices adopted by the travel/tourism industry. The third aim is to showcase the positive aspects of tourism — employment generation, poverty alleviation, etc. During this journey, we are interacting with the local community and getting to know how tourism has impacted the lives of people. Our fourth objective is to underscore the point that tourism is not always an expensive affair. We are creating small videos and documentaries and will be sharing them with India Tourism and Tamil Nadu Tourism,” adds the youngster.
He adds that the experience so far has been interesting more than they had imagined. Speaking about one of their memorable moments, Dheleepan recollects, “We visited a place called Namphake located in Dibrugarh district of Assam and spend two nights at the Namphake Buddhist Monastery. Tai Phake, a very less known tribe from Assam, lives there. Tai Phake people were believed to have migrated from the Shan kingdom Moung Mao (Muang Mao), Myanmar in the 18th century. We got to see their tradition and culture up close and it was a different experience to live in the monastery. We have some more days to complete our journey and are looking forward to engaging experiences,” he sums up.