With education and a strong sense of independence proliferating among women, a large percentage of them have developed a strong desire to travel and explore places worldwide. Several surveys claim that most women want to travel in a group, but there is no shortage who want to explore the world alone.
Over the past years, India has been considered as one of the unsafe destinations for solo women travellers, owing to the growing number of crime incidents against them. Safety has been a big concern, with women feeling reluctant and insecure in travelling alone. To meet the demands of solo travel with full safety, a Delhi based women-centric startup called "Wovoyage' was started.
Wovoyage, a women travel aggregator platform, was founded in 2016. It currently operates in India and Japan and provides risk-free and safe tours for female foreign travellers by providing them with female tour guides and designing their tours with real India experiences. It offers group departures, including concept tours like photography, rejuvenation, yoga, trekking, cycling, etc. The platform aims at providing a more consciousness-raising, stimulating travel experience to any women travel or a group by booking for their voyage in India.
"I did my research into foreigners travelling to India, especially females by conducting a few tours as a freelancer. I found that foreign female travellers want to travel to India but they feel insecure and are reluctant to travel to the most incredible country of the world," Rashmi Chadha, Founder, Wovoyage told The Logical Indian.
Chadha felt that if she could reduce the risk and provide them with a fully secure tour, there would be a business opportunity with loads of potential to be explored.
The tech-enabled ecosystem at Wovoyage includes booking services, search and planning platforms, on-demand travel, and recommendation sites. Wovoyage promotes incredible India, Women Empowerment and Women Employability.
"We have a huge database of verified properties all across the country and abroad and when a traveller looks for a place to stay, the system recommends her what are the safest options to book. It also gives recommendations for nearby attractions, restaurants and must visit places," Chadha said.
Wovoyage is an excellent platform for women from India, out of India to explore the innate desire to be a carefree wanderlust. Well researched approach and travel prowess make this platform enjoyable to streamline travel itineraries. The team has been working on various new developments to make this platform more dynamic and robust, and create a safe space for women travellers since its inception.
Being women travel aggregator platform, Wovoyage has collaborated with many local women in tier II and tier III cities who run this business to support , encourage, build a solid and safe community for everyone. "We have trained women partnered with us which includes group tour leaders, women cab services, even if we hire male driver, it is verified cautiously. We have a coordinator available 24*7 who coordinates with all the services with everyone to provide hassle-free experience," Chadha explained.
The same is empowering women to come forward and contribute to the travel and tourism industry and creating employment opportunities for women. "We have a lot of women content creators who are now joining us to take this journey and encourage too many other women," she added.
"There are a lot of travel companies across India but none of them offers a female-friendly travel centre and all-female travel staff to accompany them in their next big tour across India. We customise packages for solo travellers, groups, and senior women, irrespective of their location. We are proud of it and we are going to change the perception of travel companies in India," Chadha said.
The startup provides budget tours in which they arrange hostels and cheap accommodation and also cater to luxury tours.
The entrepreneur claims that the platform is risk-free and ensures safe travel for females, all across India with female-friendly super guides.
"When foreigners/expats travel to India they want the tour to be conducted by a genuine company rather than 3rd party travel agencies who will sell of their business for a commission. Women travellers feel comfortable with women guides. So we create women-friendly customised packages, assign them expert women guides," she pointed.
"For example, a German lady wants to shop in Delhi, we assign them girl who knows German and is an expert in shopping. Making it safe and fearless travel for foreigners, we prefer hiring female staff which suits the business model. We call them 'Super Guides'," she added.
Chadha believes every industry took a back seat during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the travel industry, but with things recovering at a good pace, the future is bright for the travel industry in India.
"Since travelling is almost back but with precautions and all the COVID appropriate behaviour, we see quite a smooth sail from here," she concluded.