An Indian rocket scientist turns travel entrepreneur. Here’s how he sells holiday packages

Life offers choices, and more often than not, those choices come with a deadline. When the decision is delayed, the opportunity is gone forever. But 39-year-old Yuvraj Harsha Sreedhar, a rocket scientist, made sure that he seized every opportunity that came his way.

Sreedhar, who took a break from scientific research due to poor funding and lack of good positions, combined his math and analytical skills with his love for travel to start Trip Alfresco, a theme-based travel company that goes beyond sights and structures and focuses on cultural, social, ecological and historical concepts of a region.

“I wanted to create a start-up that is different and innovative. I studied the travel and tourism industry for some time and the way the business of traveling and tour packages are offered. From my own travel experience, I felt there is a lack of information and ideas which many travelers seek. Generally, many foreigners come to India seeking cultural, social, traditional and historical education. However, their tour packages offer mostly information on various sights, buildings, palaces rather than elaborating on traditions and cultures. While most of the cultures, heritage, and social information is conveyed through classical arts, music, dance, traditional attires, cuisines, festivals, etc, our travel packages do not showcase these features,” he said.

Targeting this inadequacy, Sreedhar started Trip Alfresco in 2016. Today, the company offers well-researched unique theme tours motivated by various cultural, social, ecological, historical and lifestyle-related topics.

“With an intense amount of research and thorough analysis behind every theme to offer verified facts, we blend with qualitative and comforting tourism from different regions to create interesting and unique tour packages for tourists,” he said.

Trip Alfresco enables travelers to explore the off-beaten path to experience the moments of awe, whereas basic packages traversing through the well-paved roads and comforts miss out on such incidents.

“As an Indian, having known some of our ancient customs, traditions, and history, we initiated tours in India and now we are panning beyond India too. Connecting with the experts, premier institutes and schools and agencies for our various themes, our tours associate with Yoga, Ayurveda, Indian classical music, Indian classical dance, spice, Indian cuisine, battles, kingdoms, organic farming, ancient Indian architecture, spirituality, fashion and many more spanning across India (and even beyond) introducing facts, and showing interesting aspects and places unlike other mundane tours. We are also coming up with many new and unique theme tours, like, Sanskrit, Vedic studies, ancient Indian wells (bāori), and many more,” he explained.

Sreedhar’s unique idea has its own set of challenges. The company’s initial funding was small, hindering promotions and marketing on a large and global scale. “If we are funded, our number of theme tours can increase, along with more staff working for this. By doing so, we can reach out and cater such tours to many individuals, corporates, organizations, institutions and universities for business collaborations. To curb this challenge, we are offering basic tours too for leisure, business and corporate MICE programs. This supports our growth slightly,” he said.

Despite limited financial resources, Trip Alfresco is attempting to reach out to more people through travel and tourism exhibitions, conferences, meetings, and roadshows. The company also has collaborations with various destination management companies, travel organizers, B2B travel partners, NGOs, guides, and theme-related organizations, and is looking for more partnerships.

Most tour packages today offer information on various sights, buildings, and palaces rather than elaborating on traditions and cultures.

Despite the fact that Trip Alfresco is made of a small team of people, who are not from the travel industry, they are progressing in small steps. In 2019, the company plans to set up an office in Austria and is looking to craft more theme-based tours.

Access the print version of this article here.

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