Haven’t we all wondered about who we are? Where we come from? What our history is and who our ancestors were? Well, this new travel trend is taking these very questions and turning them into a complete mind, body and soul travel story.
Heritage travel, or ancestry travel, is a trend where tourists who travel to the land of their ancestors to reconnect with their past and “walk in the footsteps of their forefathers”. Also known as genealogy travel, this trend involves travellers making trips to their forefather’s towns to help understand their family history and research further into their family roots.
Being widely popular in places with large emigration population like Europe and US, travel companies like Airbnb are picking up on this new trend and offering specialized authentic packages for those on the quest for answers about who they are. Often referred to as “root” trips, travellers are clubbing the best of both leisure travel and heritage travel worlds for the ultimate experience.
For example, Asher Charles Wesley, a 31-year-old man who hails from Coimbatore set out to find more about his paternal grandfather which led him in an authentic and real-life experience to Sri Lanka. His experience connected him to his grandfather beyond what papers or reports could give, it created a sense of bond that was unique that was life-changing.
Naturally with heritage travelling there is this sense of belonging that has taken over the industry which is generally coupled with a feel-good factor enabling the need for a new catering pool of genealogical travel trends. However, heritage travelling takes dedication and a meticulous amount of time and research. One needs to be ready to invest time and money to find their roots so they can plan their journey to reconnect with their heritage.
So, we classified heritage tours into roughly three categories.
Customised travel tours, religious heritage tours and self-exploratory tours.
Customized travel tours are among the most popular choice in genealogy travel trends. This particular category of heritage tours is curated to accommodate and allow one to stay in local hideaways while indulging in crafts and activities similar to that of their lineage. These tours even offer access to a genealogy expert and tour guides to help dig deeper into the roots of ones’ family tree.
However, for those who are more concerned about religion, limited travel agencies, like the Jewish Travel agency, provide what are called religious heritage tours. These tours are most popular with Jewish clients whose roots trace back to Europe and the Middle East. The agency usually sets up tours handcrafted to enable them time to connect with people and places that are vital to the story on their family heritage. They explore areas where once their ancestors lived or were persecuted.
And finally, the last category is self-exploratory tours, which as the name states is based on individuals exploring their family’s history by themself. Such travel tours are often found popular in areas such as Europe, Scotland, Ireland and Iceland. This type of self-exploratory heritage travel is possible when one gets pretty far in their ancestry research. Most people use their last names to help find lost cousins or even family friends in faraway lands.
However, with genealogy tourism becoming popular in the western travel markets, there is still scope of it coming through to the Indian travel market. Especially when India has become a pathway to re-discover heritage for many younger Asians abroad.
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