The rise of the solo female traveller
By Pinkerala News Desk | Oct 10, 2018
Next, to the iconic Trivandrum Central Railway Station, work is ongoing at the KSRTC Central Bus Terminal to usher in a new era of travellers. And the second floor of the bus terminal is where these changing trends are going to be accommodated.
As part of their efforts to make travel safer and more comfortable for the emerging single-lady traveller demographic, Kerala Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC) is opening India’s first public sector hotel run entirely by women, for women. Named “Hostess”, the bold new initiative will comprise 22 air-conditioned rooms and 2 dormitories spread across 5000 sq.ft. Featuring a range of modern facilities including automated security services, and technology-based check-in and check-out systems, besides amenities like laundry services, a fitness centre, and complimentary breakfast, and with easy access to public transportation nearby, the hotel makes perfect sense for women travellers on a short stay.
Rise of the solo-woman traveller
So why the emphasis on single-lady travellers? Well, according to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s 2016 report on Key Indicators of Domestic Tourism in India, over 40% of all single-member overnight trips in India were done by women. And this trend is further on the rise, with recent data showing a reported 75% increase in such journeys. And as per a TripAdvisor India survey, 47% of these women travelled for a sense of freedom, 39% for a challenge, and 28% because their friends or family weren’t available at the time. Safety, reliability, and comfort feature as a priority for them, and unsurprisingly, Kochi and Trivandrum figure in their top domestic leisure destinations.
Internationally too, women-only trips have seen a sharp rise, with Google revealing that 10 million women searched for solo trips on the search engine last year, while Pinterest saw a 350% increase in the search category. Catering to this trend, many hotels have developed women-only floors, with amenities and activities that focus on them.
Sisterhood of travelling pants
Meanwhile, not far from the location of Hostess, another revolution in this segment has been taking shape, and at the forefront of it is a collective that has changed the outlook of society to women-only trips and made them more accessible for women from all walks of life, by solving problems like the safety and security concerns, which have traditionally held budding female travelers back from pursuing their wanderlust.
Aptly named Appooppanthaadi in recognition of their dream to travel wherever wanderlust takes them, just like the milkweed that is their namesake, which goes where the wind takes it, the community was founded by Sajna Ali, a seasoned traveler herself, in April 2016 as a way to enable women who had been following her solo-travel updates online to join her on new trips. Recollecting her own maiden solo trip, which happened as a result of her friends backing out at the last moment from their planned Orissa trip, the former IT employee who now works with Appooppanthaadi full-time understands both the challenges that keep women from travelling alone, and the liberating experience it could reward them with, and therefore takes pains to carefully design each trip to ensure they are accessible to all women. And their diverse participants, ranging from young children accompanying their mothers to senior citizens, and the 106 trips they’ve completed to date across India shows that their efforts are seeing result.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent in office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain,” said the American novelist Jack Kerouac. And we agree. So ladies, find your travelling pants, kiss your love goodbye, and discover the world.
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