Do you fascinate travelling inside a cosy caravan but avoid making plans fearing high expenses? We’ve got some good news for y’all. Caravan tourism just got affordable as a company named Terrabot Ventures is preparing to launch India’s First Caravan Tourism Network. It not only aims to make caravan trips budget-friendly but will also create new employment and business opportunities in the travel sector. Here’s Vaneesh Mittal, founder of Terrabot Ventures, unveiling how caravans are going to transform the travel scenario in the near future.
Caravan Travel is not new to India, the earliest being people living off the bullock carts. Nomadic life has its own thrills and challenges. In modern times, the culture of caravans may have different versions to it. They can serve as Vanity Vans for stars (temporary accommodation) or can be personal luxury RVs as a status symbol (worth crores!!!). A caravan can serve as a home on wheels for the homeless (costs much lesser than a regular home). It can serve as an additional home on wheels (for frequent travellers). And it can be a good way of exploring remote locations or enjoying nature while travelling in a caravan on tour.
Post COVID lockdown in 2020, there has been a sudden spike in awareness and demand for caravans in India. Though most of the new entrants are not fully aware of the technicalities and are currently doing hits-and-trials, but definitely the market has warmed up to the idea. There is an absence of professionalism and quality product. People are spending money without knowing the implications. Moreover, caravan parks just don’t exist anywhere in India, so then where do they park for nighthalts? Roadsides, Petrol pumps… safe enough with ladies on board???
Private Ownership: For an individual it may be a dream come true. Fancy Instagram and FB social posts of “this is me, this is my caravan, and this is our PAWRI” may look enticing. The money spent (lakhs of rupees) would seem worth every rupee spent… but … is it really just that? There is a lot behind the curtains. The taxes, the maintenance, the depreciation, seasonal changes, wear and tear, and the boredom of travelling the same vehicle interiors does settle in slowly. On top of this, imagine how often someone can be travelling. 15 days a year, 30 days, 45 days??? Is the total cost of ownership and hassles justified for that? Inter-state permits and safe parking add to the woes.
So while it may be fun the first time of use or even the second time, but people need to think long-term. Are we made for Caravan Life? Can we leave the comfort of homes and hotels forever? If not and we still want to explore the caravan life for once, maybe twice, then do we have a solution in hand?
What if we could remove the hurdles and make it available to most of the aspirants? Well then, the joy of using a caravan for exploring this beautiful country is immense. People would love it. They will use it and not have to bother about the long-term implications of owning a caravan.
Currently, Terrabot Ventures is looking forward to associating with capable business investors and entrepreneurs who can be an asset to this ecosystem. We are inviting them to invest in their own respective fields of interest and complete this network. They can choose to own a campervan or a motorhome or even a caravan park. We are there to help them do it practically and with profitability. While others are trying to make their campervans or motorhomes and operate them individually, we intend to provide a blanket cover and more comprehensive commercial establishment. Hence, we are launching India’s 1st Caravan Tourism Network, which is a complete ecosystem and takes care of every concerned component.
We intend to launch our services in November 2021. However, this may be subject to change depending on government, departmental clearances, and COVID implications.
We aim to bring an affordable and high-quality organised caravan tourism ecosystem within the reach of experiential travellers. They will not have to spend lakhs of rupees to experience caravan travel. We do not intend to make our own caravans but will be instrumental in helping many new businesses to create caravans (campervans and motorhomes). It is not just about caravans, we are working out to create a network of caravan parks too! We shall be the platform and the binding cord to integrate the complete ecosystem.
Starting with one state, preferably Uttarakhand, as a pilot run and eventually covering most of India (subject to support extended by respective governments and financial viability). Travellers will be able to hire the caravan for their tours and also book the caravan parks for nighthalts. They can start and end the journey at the hub location of the region they are travelling in. All they need to carry is minimal baggage fit for experiential travel and basic self-preparation food items. The caravans will be equipped with all relevant equipment to enable a good caravan life experience. Considering the safety of all travellers and also adhering to the law, every caravan will be provided with a trained driver to manage the challenges of driving such a vehicle. All caravans will undergo routine deep cleaning and sanitisation after every trip.
A usual domestic holiday includes 5 basic costs:
Terrabot Ventures is offering an alternative to the Hotel and local transport costs. For a middle-class quality seeking traveller, we are planning to keep the costs within the range of existing budgets. And yes, the experiential part does deserve some premium! With the expansion of services and better penetration of markets, we may be able to offer even inter-state travel at least in major subdivisions of India, which will definitely further increase the cost efficiency over any other mode of travel.
We are developing a completely new ecosystem. This will mean a completely new set of businesses and related employment opportunities. New Caravan Parks, New Caravan Hubs, Caravans Manufacturing and Maintenance of these infrastructures are going to create a huge number of new opportunities. All that we need is an active support system from the government.
As told to Suchismita Pal.
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