Ethel Da Costa

India's Award Winning Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist, Media Influencer-Media Entrepreneur

Lifestyle & Living

Did you know that India ranks 5th amongst the most vacation deprived countries?!!

Which means all that hard work, long hours, sacrificing family time and lost self love only to die early or broke?! Re-think that chain bound boss grind, and time to #HolidayDifferently. Re-invent a new bohemian you, me.

All travel is soul expansion. Yes, even hitting an Uber to make it all the way to South Mumbai’s traffic to the ITC Grand Central for an Indiblogger #IndiMeet re-launch new look of Sterling Holiday Resorts. As French novelist Marcel Proust says, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” So I did up my peepers in MAC, ready to meet my blogger travel tribe. What new story was there to tell, I couldn’t wait to see.

According to WTTC India 2016, Expedia Vacation Deprivation Report 2016, data does not lie. It’s fool-proof, driving home the reality that Indians really are a hard working population,  but not living it up enough. However, come 2017, the India travel story does a significant 360 degree turnaround, telling us — as per the Global Travel & Tourism Report 2017 –that approx 79% Indians are travelling in India on leisure, with travel and tourism revenue expected to increase to 12% by 2026. If this is time to call now for the bubbly, there’s more good news for the travel and tourism sector.  The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 edition by the World Economic Forum pegs international tourist arrivals to India at 8,027,133, with international tourism inbound receipts at US $21,012.7 million, breaking down an average traveler spending atleast US $2,617.7 per head. For India, it means pushing the T&T industry GDP to 2.0% i.e US $41,582.4 million, and significantly contributing to a total of 5.5% jobs generated in the country i.e 23,454,4000 jobs. I hope that this data now gets my travel schedules packed for invitational story telling across India 🙂 As I said, data does not lie!!

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) further states that India has improved 12 places up to reach the 40th position globally this 2017 (from earlier 52nd ranking in 2015), attributing India’s continued growth in international arrivals over the past 15 years reaching the 8 million mark (in 2015). “India continues to charm international tourists with its vast cultural and natural resources, and its price competitiveness advantage. With continued efforts to enrich its cultural resources,  protecting more cultural sites and intangible expressions through UNESCO World Heritage lists, a greater digital presence has led to its marked preferred ranking.” Certainly calls for bubbly.

“International openness through stronger visa policies implementing both visas on arrival and e-visas, has enabled India to rise through the ranks,” the report further comments, setting the perfect tone to change the fundamental  that work is worship, and instead seek that work-life balance everyone talks about (including yours truly), but never get down to implementing it. Now, there’s no excuse to smell the flowers,  and do so much good for your heart and hearth, thanks to Sterling Holiday Resorts.

A signature hospitality brand with 29 resorts across India, who was quick to do the math, sense a shift in trend and jump in to keep step with changing times and consumer holiday patterns. Armed with an intuitive knowledge to perceive, innovate and customise its holiday offerings with a `People-Experience-Places’ formula  —  The `PeP’ test – the`Big Switch’ says Team Sterling was an re-energised, re-looking at its own path of self innovation. After all, all discovery must begin with Self first.

Re-designing itself to speak this new millennial language of zest and vitality and amplify “from within to the outside,”  Mr Peshwa Acharya, Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited is poised to `walk the talk.’ Quoting a Kuoni SOTC Travel Report, Mr Archarya confirms that “34% to 50% Indians prefer multiple short getways. This is a new emerging holiday trend aimed towards reunions, family holidays and experiential food and beverage trails. With 29 resorts, 2200 + rooms (earlier 1100) across niche, culturally different, unique destinations, we are literally re-writing stories of travel,” he says. “The future is, of course, building on our legacy and taking our footprint across 50+ destinations to smaller towns, richer, diverse, cultural, nature, experiential and food narratives. It’s exciting times for us and travelers at large,” confides Mr Acharya.

Investing Rs 250 crores in refurbishing rooms, a new `customer obsessed service culture,’ curated with a mix and match of an “assurance of the expected and the joy of the unexpected,’  Mr Acharya states that the on-going focus for Sterling is to offer a wide choice of curated local experiences of food, adventure, culture, wildlife, nature, is in the spirit and in sync with the PeP advantage. So expect a localised integration of indigenous people, food, tradition and culture into your experiential holiday, be at at Ooty, Manali, Dindi, Goa, Darjeeling…”We simply urge you to #HolidayDifferently!! through a leisure mantra of self discovery, through a `discovery of experiences,’ he offers. I’m sold with the idea. It is savvy.

Meanwhile, if you are still reading this article, I compliment your good taste. Hopefully, you are not a dull Jack or a dud Jill, tied up to office benches and gossip, or saddled with mommy-daddy duties year round. Because there really IS no reason why you should be. Get out there, smell the mountains, re-connect with your spirit animal, re-discover your lost tunes, your jaded soul, and maybe show the Sterling team this article and implore a discount?!! Just saying. Live a little to love lots more. Happy feet y’all.

I simply loved this #HolidayDifferently experiential video, more so since I know Stuart Da Costa is a fantastic musician, and shares eloquently his Sterling Holidays Manali experience…

Watch and be inspired to take your next self discover holiday: https://www.youtube.com/user/sterlingholidays 

Book your holiday here:  http://www.sterlingholidays.com/

Ethel da Costa
Fashion & Lifestyle Journalist, Founder-CEO, Think Geek Media

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