Until a few hours before Goregaon resident Radhika Ajgaonkar, 32, boarded a flight for Cape Town, South Africa, in 2009, her father was sceptical about the trip. Though Ajgaonkar’s co-travellers for the vacation were all women, he felt better only after talking to two elderly women who were part of the group booked for the package tour.
The following year, the advertising professional visited Turkey and in 2011, she went to Morocco with the same all-women group. The concept of all-women vacations was introduced in India about five years ago and has gradually gained popularity, claim tour operators.
“My parents’ jobs make it difficult for them to travel. So, I found out a way to fulfill my travel dreams,” said Ajgaonkar.
Women on Wanderlust (WOW), a Delhi-based travel agency, which started all-women tours in 2005, now conducts 30 domestic and international holidays for women every year. “Our bookings have grown 100% on a year-on-year basis,” said Sumitra Senapathy, founder, WOW Club.
Earlier, most of their bookings came from metros, but with the advent and subsequent popularity of social networking websites, about 30% bookings now come from women living in Tier 2 cities, said Senapathy.
The tours are not limited to just single women. Vile Parle resident Aditi Verma, 28, will for the first time in June go on a holiday without her husband. “I hope it turns out to be a long all-girls’ party,” said the telecom professional, who will holiday in Ladakh for 10 days. Big tour operators have also witnessed the niche segment grow. “We come across many women, who usually wear sarees, slipping into jeans and bikinis on these vacations,” said Sandeepa Patil, director, Kesari Tours.