Rural Tourism – Myths and Reality

In the last one year that we have been working in Rural Tourism, we have come across many questions from our travelers that makes me understand the need to answer them on a public forum. Rural Tourism is still a new concept in India, and, as expected there are many questions around it. Here are answers to come common questions or rather myths –

1. Rural tourism is unsafe: If someone was destined to get mugged, it can happen in a flashy metropolitan as well. Over the last two years since I have been traveling to villages, I have found them safer than the cities. I have grown up in Delhi and can clearly see the difference in safety, hospitality, warmth and a sense of community in a city and in a village. We have had solo female travelers, couples, children and families who have felt safer in villages.

It also depends on the organization you are traveling with and the amount of ground work they have done with locals before sending you. Usually, it takes months if not years to train locals in tourism and its aspects.

Tip: Check the authenticity and professionalism of the organization you are traveling with. Look for their sustainability and training practices.

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

jungle-walks-rural-travelIndians also prefer it in large numbers and find it safe

2. Rural tourism = Discomfort: Rural does not always mean a dilapidated shack where you will have to sleep on the floor under the light of an oil lamp. In the last point I spoke about training. A responsible organization will always train locals on sanitation. Emphasis will be given on clean beds and washrooms. Rural tourism is a great way to give sustainable living to locals. And cleanliness is one of the basic requirements that any responsible Rural Travel company will take into account.

Tip: Check the facilities and photographs and ask your questions freely

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

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I find such places more peaceful and clean to stay at rather than a hotel

3. Rural tourism costs nothing, so why charge for it: What I mentioned in last point about sustaining local communities brings me to the next point on charging. Most of the Rural population is currently being trained under western education system on learning computers and English and moving to cities. As a result cities are over burdened and villages are getting empty. Rural tourism is not different from any other form of tourism where you pay. The only difference is, your money goes directly to a local family and immediate community. A responsible community based tourism initiative will always give entrepreneurial opportunities to locals so that they do not have to migrate to cities. As a result, many art forms, languages, music, dances, and cultures are preserved. Rural tourism has the power to make these aspects an asset rather than a burden.

4. World is moving towards urbanization, why villages?: We are not against urbanization. It is just that we see the impacts of it in the form of cut-throat competition which leads to increasing crime, struggle for limited resources, degrading levels of cleanliness, impacts on our health and stress levels and a constant question in everyone’s mind as to who they really are. After having lost connection to our roots, we are neither completely western nor Indian. Moreover, we are loosing warmth and sensitivity towards our people, trust, love and responsibility towards our environment. Mahatma Gandhi once said – “The future of India lies in its villages”. This does not mean we remain backward, uneducated or poor. Everyone has the right to live a beautiful life. But only till the time that lifestyle does not begin to take a toll on those very humans it was meant for.

Rural Tourism is a tool to create a balance between urbanization and Rural lifestyle. This is very important for us to sustain.

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

5. The food and water will be below standard and unhygienic: Really? These days we are putting water purifiers in our homes and depending on mineral water because our rivers are too dirty to supply clean drinking water. Fruits and vegetables supplied in market are rubbed with oil to make them shine and injected with artificial colors to make them look beautiful. Our children are getting dependent of medications at an early age. Cancer has become as common as headache. The air we breathe in cities is so poisonous that many species of birds that once thrived have now either migrated or become extinct. Our children fall ill if they are left to play on a street. With each passing day, they are getting dependent on air-conditioned homes only.

On the other hand, I have seen 60 year old women climb a mountain daily and still manage to stay fit without any medicine. They do not need cosmetics to look beautiful or to prevent their skin from sagging. I don’t suggest that we should leave our homes and all migrate to villages. The point is, we are living in a myth. I have had some of the best organic food in villages cooked in homemade spices and butter. I have drank water from rivers and waterfalls and have never fallen ill. And I have played in mud and it only increased my immunity.

Rural Tourism is a way to bridge this gap. We do not want you to leave cities. We want you to become sensitive towards environment, our impacts on it and on how we can become responsible.

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Intercultural interaction between students from Dublin and local community in Kumaon

6. What is the difference between you and a Travel Agent: No difference except that – we give our heart and soul in making this country a better place to live using travel as a medium. We design training for villagers to enable them to earn a living from their own skill. For us, building relationships is more important than just getting a cheque from a customer. And that most of us left our plush corporate jobs to do this work.

Author: GAURAV BATNAGAR  

Reblogged from: THE FOLK TALES

 

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Kia Motors to finalize it’s plant location in India by this August

Hyundai’s sister company Kia Motors to zero in on it’s plant location in India by August. Production to start in 2019 with initial capacity of 3 lac vehicles.

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According to Reuters, South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp is expected to pick a site next month for its first factory in India, stepping up plans to start making cars in one of the world’s fast-growing auto markets, two people familiar with the matter said.

The move would enable Kia to leverage the existing supplier base of its affiliate Hyundai Motor Co, India’s second-biggest automaker by sales. The proposed factory would start production in 2019 and eventually have capacity to make 300,000 Kia vehicles a year, one of the people told a major bet for a firm that sold 3.05 million vehicles last year.

The Korean pair, jointly the world’s No.5 carmaker, are chasing new business after missing annual targets in 2015 for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis. Their combined sales fell 2 percent in first-half 2016, hit by weakness in markets like China, Russia and Brazil.

India is likely to become the world’s third-largest car market by 2020, according to IHS, up from fifth place now, with annual sales nearly doubling to about 5 million vehicles from 2.7 million in 2015.

The size of Kia’s investment has yet to be decided, one of the people said, declining to identify which models will be produced at the factory. Kia is best known as a maker of relatively inexpensive cars, like the Rio sub-compact.

Three sites are under consideration for the plant, and Kia may announce the plan in September after deciding on a location in August, the second person said.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the project was confidential.

The states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have all been wooing Kia, according to two other people with knowledge of the matter. One of the two, an official with the Andhra Pradesh administration, said the state – which neighbors Tamil Nadu, home of Hyundai’s existing plants near Chennai – is the frontrunner.

Kia said in a statement to Reuters on Thursday that it was “continually evaluating potential locations for overseas manufacturing facilities, including India, to secure additional engines for future growth. However, as of now no concrete plans have been finalised.”

MARUTI CHALLENGE?

Hyundai started India production nearly two decades ago and has two factories in India that make cars for the domestic market and for export to Europe and elsewhere.

The firm trails only Maruti Suzuki India Ltd in sales in India, and has an extensive service and dealer network that gives it an advantage over global rivals that have struggled to build market share including General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen.

Kia’s South Korea factories accounted for 57 percent of its sales last year. It also has plants in China, the United States and Slovakia, and its first Mexico factory began production earlier this year.

For the time being most cars sold in India are small. Hyundai sells several low-priced vehicles in the country, which could present a challenge in terms of market positioning for Kia, which would not want to cannibalise Hyundai sales.

Hyundai shares parts and vehicle underpinnings with Kia, which Hyundai bought at the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1998. Differentiating their brands has been a challenge, as they compete in similar segments and markets.

via: Reuters

Traffic Management to become a Multi-Billion-Dollar Opportunity: says TechSci Research

Where there is problem, there is an opportunity. With technological advancements comes new problems and new opportunities. With ever increasing traffic on Roadways, Railways, Airways and Waterways demand for real-time traffic monitoring systems is on rise. According to a report by TechSci Research market for Global Traffic Management is projected to surpass $ 22 billion by 2021.

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According to TechSci Research report, Global Traffic Management Market By Transportation Mode, By System Type, By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011-2021″, the global market for traffic management is projected to surpass $ 22 billion by 2021, due to rising demand for traffic management in roadways, railways and airways; increasing demand for real-time traffic monitoring for traffic control planning, incident detection, vehicle location, route planning, journey time measurement, etc. Over the past two years, consumer preferences have shifted towards air travel majorly due to reduction in air fares. This is driving growth in sales of aircrafts by air companies across regions. Various recent deals in aviation industry, such as purchase deal of 250 Airbus planes by Indigo in 2015, purchase of 100 planes from Boeing by Iran Civil Aviation Organization in 2016, etc. would fuel air traffic congestion and air traffic management market in the near future, worldwide. With growth in air-passenger traffic, it is projected that Asia-Pacific would emerge as the fastest growing region in the air-traffic management market, globally during 2016-21.

In 2015, 89.68 million unit sales of new vehicles were registered. According to International Road Transportation Union, traffic congestion increases fuel consumption, leading to increase in carbon emissions by 300%. Growth in number of road accidents, increasing demand for parking space management, rising government initiatives to reduce carbon emission, etc. are some of the major factors driving the growth of the road traffic management market. It is projected that due to robust growth in road solutions, parking space and toll management would emerge as the fastest growing road traffic management solutions, worldwide during 2016-21. Growth in alternative transportation mode for daily commuters, such as metro by government of various countries’ along with modernization of traditional railway system has propelled demand for railway traffic management system, worldwide. Siemens, Thales, Hitachi, Alstom, Bombardier, Cubic, Kapsch TrafficCom, Iteris, and so on are few of the leading players in the global traffic management market.

“Growth in tourism industry, ease of traveling with reduced time and air-fares has propelled growth in number of aircrafts in the air. With growth in consumer disposable income and shift in preference towards air travel, air traffic management is set to pose robust growth in the coming years. Further, rising concerns towards reduction of carbon emissions due to negative impacts over the environment and country’s economy along with growth in number of road accidents has propelled demand for inter-modal transportation planning, predictive traffic modeling, etc. Rising demand for reducing traffic congestion across transportation modes would propel growth of global traffic management during the forecast period, worldwide.”, said Ms. Neha Tayal, Research Manager with TechSci Research.

The Research Report has evaluated the future growth potential of global traffic management market and provides statistics and information on market structure, size, share and future growth of global traffic management market. The report is intended to provide cutting-edge market intelligence and help decision makers take sound investment evaluation. Besides, the report also identifies and analyzes emerging trends along with essential drivers, challenges and opportunities in the global traffic management market.

  • Global Traffic Management market to surpass $ 22 billion by 2021.
  • Shifting consumer preference towards towards air travel due to reduced air fares is driving growth in Airplane sales and hence the air traffic.
  • 89.68 million new vehicles were registered in 2015 according to International Road Transportation union.
  • Asia-Pacific to become the fastest growing air traffic management market by 2021.

via: TechSci Research

 

Haryana govt. bans old petrol & diesel vehicles in NCR cities

The Haryana government has banned petrol vehicles that are more than 15 years old, and diesel vehicles more than 10 years old, in all cities that are a part of the National Capital Region (NCR). Currently, this jurisdiction is applicable in four cities of Haryana: Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonepat and Jhajjar.

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The State government claims that this step has been taken to curb air pollution in a way that it does not affect the National Capital. This ban comes a few days after the National Green Tribunal issued a similar order on diesel vehicles that are more than 10 years old and are registered with the Delhi RTO.

The four cities affected by the said order (Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonepat and Jhajjar) cumulatively house around 20 lakh registered vehicles. It remains to be seen whether or not the Haryana government follows NGT’s steps and prohibits the old vehicles from reselling anywhere in India.

These recent efforts to curb pollution levels have intensified after Delhi was named as the 11th most polluted city of the world.

Source: Times of India

Video: BMW G310R alongside KTM Duke 390, Yamaha MT-03

 The video below, shot in Russia by HM Channel, shows the BMW G310R alongside the KTM Duke 390 and the Yamaha MT-03, two of the key rivals of the G310R. The video allows for an enthusiast to listen to the G310R’s exhaust, and watch its acceleration in comparison to its rivals.

According to a recent report, the BMW G310R will not launch in India this calendar year, rather towards the end of this financial year (February-March 2017). However, TVS Motor, the joint venture partner responsible for manufacturing the motorcycle, will begin exports of the G310R from its plant in Hosur, Tamil Nadu this year. Initial markets include European countries including BMW Motorrad’s home market in Germany.

Among the lot, the BMW G310R sports the smallest engine: a 313 cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled unit that develops 34 PS at 9,500 and a peak torque of 28 Nm at 7,500 rpm. The KTM relies on a 375 cc single-cylinder unit while the Yamaha is powered by a 321 cc parallel-twin.

The BMW G310R is equipped with a 6-speed gearbox, as is the competition. The G310R also gets disc brakes at both ends and ABS as standard. According to the company, the naked street-fighter has a top-speed of 143 km/h with a kerb weight of 158.5 kg.

via Indian Autos Blog

Gesture control systems by Visteon

Visteon Arms Drivers with Gestures to Control Nearly Everything OnboardBy Oliver Kirsch, Innovation Project ManagerWhen a new technology is introduced in a vehicle cockpit, it usually requires a new set of controls. That means drivers must divert their attention from the road to manage yet another touch screen option or group of buttons. However, a…

via — Visteon

Tesla Motors Master Plan in Elon Musk’s own words

“However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture, so that they would seem less random. The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That’s what “sustainable” means. It’s not some silly, hippy thing — it matters for everyone.” – ELON MUSK

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Here’s what Elon Musk want to say about his Master Plan 

The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn’t all that complicated and basically consisted of:

  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car
    And…
  4. Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.

The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal. I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn’t want to risk anyone’s funds in the beginning but my own. The list of successful car company startups is short. As of 2016, the number of American car companies that haven’t gone bankrupt is a grand total of two: Ford and Tesla. Starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared.

Also, a low volume car means a much smaller, simpler factory, albeit with most things done by hand. Without economies of scale, anything we built would be expensive, whether it was an economy sedan or a sports car. While at least some people would be prepared to pay a high price for a sports car, no one was going to pay $100k for an electric Honda Civic, no matter how cool it looked.

Part of the reason I wrote the first master plan was to defend against the inevitable attacks Tesla would face accusing us of just caring about making cars for rich people, implying that we felt there was a shortage of sports car companies or some other bizarre rationale. Unfortunately, the blog didn’t stop countless attack articles on exactly these grounds, so it pretty much completely failed that objective.

However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture, so that they would seem less random. The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That’s what “sustainable” means. It’s not some silly, hippy thing — it matters for everyone.

By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.

Here is what we plan to do to make that day come sooner:

Integrate Energy Generation and Storage
Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.

We can’t do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. That they are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history. Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.

Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport
Today, Tesla addresses two relatively small segments of premium sedans and SUVs. With the Model 3, a future compact SUV and a new kind of pickup truck, we plan to address most of the consumer market. A lower cost vehicle than the Model 3 is unlikely to be necessary, because of the third part of the plan described below.

What really matters to accelerate a sustainable future is being able to scale up production volume as quickly as possible. That is why Tesla engineering has transitioned to focus heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine — turning the factory itself into a product. A first principles physics analysis of automotive production suggests that somewhere between a 5 to 10 fold improvement is achievable by version 3 on a roughly 2 year iteration cycle. The first Model 3 factory machine should be thought of as version 0.5, with version 1.0 probably in 2018.

In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.

With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don’t have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.

Autonomy
As the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability, meaning that any given system in the car could break and your car will still drive itself safely. It is important to emphasize that refinement and validation of the software will take much longer than putting in place the cameras, radar, sonar and computing hardware.

Even once the software is highly refined and far better than the average human driver, there will still be a significant time gap, varying widely by jurisdiction, before true self-driving is approved by regulators. We expect that worldwide regulatory approval will require something on the order of 6 billion miles (10 billion km). Current fleet learning is happening at just over 3 million miles (5 million km) per day.

I should add a note here to explain why Tesla is deploying partial autonomy now, rather than waiting until some point in the future. The most important reason is that, when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.

According to the recently released 2015 NHTSA report, automotive fatalities increased by 8% to one death every 89 million miles. Autopilot miles will soon exceed twice that number and the system gets better every day. It would no more make sense to disable Tesla’s Autopilot, as some have called for, than it would to disable autopilot in aircraft, after which our system is named.

It is also important to explain why we refer to Autopilot as “beta”. This is not beta software in any normal sense of the word. Every release goes through extensive internal validation before it reaches any customers. It is called beta in order to decrease complacency and indicate that it will continue to improve (Autopilot is always off by default). Once we get to the point where Autopilot is approximately 10 times safer than the US vehicle average, the beta label will be removed.

Sharing
When true self-driving is approved by regulators, it will mean that you will be able to summon your Tesla from pretty much anywhere. Once it picks you up, you will be able to sleep, read or do anything else enroute to your destination.

You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost. This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.

In cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla will operate its own fleet, ensuring you can always hail a ride from us no matter where you are.

So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:

Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it

via: www.tesla.com