29 Dec 2019 | 05:08am IST
The art of presenting heritage
The times are a changing! Tourism is hitting high key notes of experiential travel, with cultural heritage increasingly being viewed as an economic asset for geographic areas. An interest in local history and heritage tourism is ushering in an era of new and eager tourists, seeking an escapade from the conventional vacations
Travellers today are increasingly
interested in interacting with local
communities, partaking in their festivals, trying local cuisine and learning
about their culture and history. Tourism is hitting high key notes of
experiential travel, with cultural heritage increasingly being viewed as an
economic asset for geographic areas. Capitalisation of this new wave brings
with itself vast array of opportunities for locals, environmentalists,
influencers and eager experiential travel organisers.
‘Experience’ now stands as the third largest segment within the
tourism industry! The desire to experience an event has become more powerful
than owning something materialistic. The bets have shifted tables. Luxurious
travel is being outshined by travel that leaves an indelible mark in the memory
of enthusiastic seekers, the emphasis being on ‘seeking what appeals’ vis-à-vis
‘checking the to-do list’.
Museums, exhibits and exhibitions have their own charm with a
staged, planned and structured display of heritage while Walking Tours bring an
opportunity to enjoy heritage in naturally existent cultural spaces. This
‘real-time’ experience is a strong motivator for creating emotional ties with
the place, crucial for understanding the meaning and values associated with the
Endless opportunities come with being part of a Walking tour.
These could be curated to include closed spaces or monument complex, museums
and galleries or the work culture and lifestyle of a community. They could be
in open spaces such as a bazaar, a river front, a lake, a village or a
historical part of town.
Heritage Walks connect travellers to local communities, by creating
trust and being emotionally engaging. The Fontainhas Heritage Walk in Goa
curated by Make It Happen concludes at the home of a renowned local musician,
Chico Fonseca, who serenades in Latin, Konkani and the soulful Fado (a
Portuguese style of music). An experience like this is unique, special and
beautiful in its entirety. It brings travellers to the very doorstep of local
talent, one which goes beyond the very horizon of routine travel.
Heritage Walks when undertaken, also bring to the surface the challenges
present towards conserving heritage in an era of fast globalisation and
modernisation. It encourages travellers to question their lifestyle choices and
thus encourage involvement with their surroundings and understand the threat of
over consumeristic societies.
On a curated trial to Divar island in Goa, travellers experience
authentic village lifestyles where traditional fishing methods are still
practised, and bread is still baked in a traditional wood-fired oven. Such
experiences connect travellers to the old-world charm of a splendid village
Curating Experiential Travel requires a careful balance of
knowledge, responsibility and the delicate art of storytelling. The narrative
must be carefully crafted to give a positive message while nurturing
progressive outlook, by showcasing inspiring works, embracing evolving and
inclusive culture that eliminates harmful ideologies like casteism, regionalism
and gender biases. For instance, highlight alternate lifestyles, unique art
forms showcasing the indigenous people of the land when interacting with tribal
communities, in a way where one could learn from them, and not view them as
socially backward communities.
travel industry is paving the path for youth and there is thriving talent in
our streets. Success of experiential travel comes from the presenters who
relate to the land, monuments and history through more than what books and
pamphlets can teach. This knowledge comes from a deep sense of belonging, a
passion for storytelling and cross-cultural understanding. This paves way for
prospective work opportunities that are not mere means to an end, but in fact a
collection of inspired young minds putting their native and contemporary
knowledge and eager minds to the best that there is.