With the world moving forward, the landscape of the tourism industry has evolved only to make it more specialized and convenient for travellers.
Niche Tourism introduces how a specific tourism aspect can be tailored to meet the needs of a market segment, which is interested in something particular or distinct. The concept focuses on how experiences of tourists can be customized to meet the needs and be more personalized for the different types of audience in the market.
The idea can be perceived as a response to an increase in the number of more modern tourists demanding tailored tourism products. Under this setup, the destinations can direct their offerings to distinguish their tourism products and compete in an increasingly competitive and cluttered industry environment.
Different Segments of Niche Tourism:
Varying from Gastronomy to Leisure and Recreational, and Adventure to Heritage, it's nearly impossible for anyone to fit all the aspects of niche tourism in just one list.
The ever-evolving interest of the audience has resulted in a specialised corner of the tourism market, primarily developed around a tailor-made experience for the visitors.
Here are a few examples of some popular interests groups in Niche Tourism -
Heritage and Cultural Tourism: Essentially directed towards history and culture, this type of tourism is more traditional and occurs typically in urban areas with a distinct area of interest, such as museums and theatres. This aspect of tourism also brings in light the diverse traditions of native communities through witnessing their rituals, customs, and their values and way of living.
Owing to its diversity, India is symbolized by the plurality of its heritage value. All the captivating monuments and heritage sites in the country depict their story while keeping the visitors fascinated.
Sustainable Tourism: Not similar to eco-tourism or green tourism, which focuses on protection and environmental implications, Sustainable tourism, on the other hand, is a way of doing things to protect and ensure the future of the local tourism industry. This niche of tourism is mainly directed towards striving to make as profound an influence as possible on the environment and local culture while helping to generate income and employment for the local market.
Adventure Tourism: Travelling that involves exploration, and some amount of risk potentially come under Adventure Tourism. Under this segment, the audience is expected to possess specialized skills and the willingness to be under physical duress while undergoing, if not rigorous, at least the minimum required training to experience this multifaceted dimension of tourism.
Art Tourism: This niche of tourism can be observed when people travel to a destination to engage in activities related to art such as museums, special events related to art, dance and book festivals, etc. For some, art tourism is a subdivision under Cultural Tourism, but because of its growing vastness, it has become a niche aspect of travelling.
Wellness and Spiritual Tourism: Some tourists tend to select their destination to relax and indulge in reflexology and special massages. People visit destinations like Hawaii or Costa Rica for various reasons, but these countries owing to their islands or unique retreat centres, are the most preferred one for an unwinding getaway. For Spiritual Tourism, the travellers are looking to explore temples, meditation and yoga at different destinations, or some for pilgrimage. India, owing to its rich legacy and being the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism and home to thousands of monasteries and ancient temples, tops the list of such destinations.
Film Tourism: As a recently emerged niche in the tourism industry, Film Tourism is a thriving marvel worldwide. People have indeed started showing their interest in destinations which became famous due to their appearance in cinemas and television series.
Culinary Tourism: One of the most interesting and latest niches emerging in the tourism industry is around the gastronomical delights that the travellers are looking for.
For a "Foodie" to plan its journey, the culinary offerings have a considerable influence on their itinerary.
Apart from all the popular segments of niche tourism, there are a host of other categories that visitors like to experience. The visitors are definitely not limited to just one of the different forms of tourism, and the most memorable itinerary likely includes a mixture of adventure, sightseeing, culture and more.
The Role of Niche Tourism in Destination Development
With the rise of Niche tourism in the market, the concept of positioning is not entirely limited to brands but destinations as well. The positioning of a destination therefore involves categorizing the place in essence to the kind of experience it offers to the visitors - it is all unique and distinct for all the destinations. The destination image contains components that are holistic and based on attributes that help tourists identify them under segregated niches to plan accordingly.
This not only makes it easier for the tourist to find the right kind of place for them but also the destination to create a unique image for itself that attracts all the relevant visitors.
What does Niche Tourism have in store for India?
Owing to the rich culture with diverse topography and geopolitical heritage, India attracts tourists from various niches. Without any doubt, one can also predict that these niches can soon become the businesses of tomorrow, and many of them will be crucial for the growth of India's tourism industry.
Travel & Tourism sector plays a crucial role in the Indian Economic Development, and it has already been discovered that niche is where the money is. Visitors do not limit themselves to just one of the different forms of tourism in India, clubbing them all together results in the most memorable itinerary that's likely to include everything ranging from adventure to sightseeing, and culture to wildlife.
Keeping in mind the prospect of becoming a tourist hub for various niches and driving higher returns, it is imperative that the tourism industry is able to continuously evolve. While the authorities are working towards not just identifying new segments but also creating a ground-level infrastructure, the industry should utilize the systems to attract the right audience and better manage the burgeoning tourism.