Thiruvananthapuram: Housewives and women professionals looking to get away from their domestic routine or mundane office schedules without depending on men can now bank on an all-women travel company to travel to leisure spots.
Bangalore-based 'Beautiful Journey Pvt Ltd', which claims to be the first all-women travel group in the country, is providing a platform for women to take a break without worrying.
The company, launched in August 2013, has been organising group tours solely for women.
If women techies of the IT city have been the major takers of the tour packages in the initial days, the company now claims that it is flooded with enquiries from women of all walks of life.
Whether it is a leisurely vacation to the shores of a picturesque backwater resort or for a high altitude hiking trip, the "Beautiful Journey" crew is ready with all necessary arrangements.
Company CEO Jyothi Nair, a licensed pilot from Kerala who quit her plush IT job to set up the travel company, said many an eyebrow was raised when she decided to start the firm.
"As the security of women has been an all-time serious issue in our country, many could not digest my idea. But, I was clear about what I want. My parents also stood with me," Jyothi told PTI.
Within months, the company has organised 24 journeys ranging from tiny vacation trips to mega foreign tours. Around 200 women have seen places out of the packages it offered, she said.
"Women in India are educationally qualified. Naturally, they desire to travel to their favourite destinations. Though they may plan short distance trips, majority of them avoid long travel plans due to security concerns," Jyothi said.
She said ‘Beautiful Journey’ is the result of her personal struggle to travel.
"After quitting my IT career in 2012, I wanted to do three things. Read, meditate and travel. The first two were very easy. But travel was very difficult to take off. Friends had their busy lives. My family is not much in to travel and like many other women, travelling alone is not much fun for me," she said.
Her longing to travel ended up in opening of an informal travel group of women who organised a trip in January last year. The success of the venture gave her confidence to go commercial with the travel group concept, Jyothi said.
"This gave me courage to look at going commercial with the concept of an all-women travel group– now that the proof of concept is roughly validated," she said.
The first commercial trip arranged by the company was to Kerala. The participants stayed in a houseboat, watched the boat race and spent a day in Kerala Kalamandalam, the famous deemed university of performing arts on the banks of the Bharathapuzha.
"Helping women to dream about journeys and helping them to experience the beauties and adventures of the world outside is another form of empowerment. Yes, we are trying to empower women by giving them confidence to travel alone," Jyothi said.
"Nothing opens your horizon like travel. It emboldens you and liberates you like none other, and the fact that you now can travel on your own, without your friends or family accompanying you is wonderful," she said.
However, Jyothi said the journey was not smooth for the company during the initial days.
"Any startup journey has its own challenges – from finding the right talent to join us to creating the right supplier network or even making people believe in your business card. All the more so if you are a first time entrepreneur. My journey is not different," she said.
The company has its own plans and policies in arranging tours and ensuring security of its customers, she said.
"We are very particular about few aspects. We don’t create trips unless the destination is familiar to us – either one of us in the extended team should have gone up there or have travelled extensively through those places recently," she said.
If no one has travelled to the place, or have not been there in recent past, the company staff do an elaborate recce. "Like pilots, we also use extensive checklist for each trip to ensure that each minute detail is taken care of. Our safety check list is available online and is rigorously updated as we progress," the young entrepreneur said.