Tuesday, 3 April 2018

DESTINATION BRANDING



FROM TELEVISION HOSTING TO DESTINATION BRANDING

The Jalpaiguri headquartered My Jungle Trip which is based on a fully digitized platform has been into a range of activities such as Destination Branding & Marketing, Rural Home-stay Ventures, Tea Tourism Projects, Travel Technology and Online Travel for quite some time. It is now putting the spotlight on quaint destinations of the country for even the best destinations may not see the light of the day unless someone props it up for others to see and relish.

Man by birth is a traveler and he always hunts for new places. The new generation is even keener to identify and experience unexplored destinations.

For former NDTV employee Debasish Das, these were the two reasons that added fuel to the idea that had blossomed in his mind during his stint in Africa. Actually while working in Africa & Middle East Countries, Debasish came in touch with a tourism promotion agency and he was impressed by the promotions executed by the agency to promote some lesser known places like Tanzania, West Africa so as to bring them to the fore.

After bidding adieu to his corporate job, Debasish returned to India and joined the family tea business in Jalpaiguri. This was to open another innings later but for the time being the idea that he had accumulated abroad led to the formation of a travel portal - My Jungle Trip. Built on a fully digitized platform, the portal incorporated almost every aspect of travel and tourism right from online booking of Homestay and hotels to awesome tours to rural home-stays to outstation taxi bookings and so on.


What Debasish actually wanted to do to his hometown Jalpaiguri or his home state West Bengal was something different. But it was My Jungle Trip which gave him the inkling and it came forth through the rural tourism venture initiated under the portal. It was during a visit to a small town like Alipurduar in West Bengal to solicit cooperation from rural home-stay owners that realization dawned on him.

The place had immense scope for rural and tea tourism and there are similar places scattered around the state but sadly they are yet to find any mention on the global tourism map. And each of these lesser known destinations had communities raring to network with the greater worldwide community, says Debasish.

That was when he decided to take up these places one by one and promote their USPs in the most authentic manner. Although Destination Branding and Online Travel Company My Jungle Trip  is relatively new, it is steadily making inroads in places like Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, DooarsKalimpong and Darjeeling, Gangtak by way of initiating rural and tea tourism projects with active cooperation from local communities, tea garden and home-stay owners and state government departments.



CHOICE OF NEW CULTURES/ NEW DESTINATIONS 
Latest surveys indicate that an increasing number of travelers prefer to explore new cultures and new destinations. These are the two most determining factors that motivate people to pack their traveling bags.

PROMOTING RURAL AND SEMI URBAN DESTINATIONS 
At the moment, Debasish through My Jungle Trip is focusing on home-stay and tea tourism projects in the rural and semi-urban destinations of West Bengal. Rural home-stay owners are being provided the necessary training to upload their property details on the web portal, solicit bookings from interested travelers and thus earn a sustainable living. On the other hand, tea estates having Heritage Bungalows are being encouraged to initiate tea tourism projects within the estate with technical assistance from the state government tourism department. The first such venture is taking shape at Saraswatipur Tea Estate in Jalpaiguri.

This is a small beginning and we hope to cover more areas gradually. All these small destinations have ample scope to ensure sustainable living to the communities which ultimately will lead to all round development of the area, Debasish adds.

COUNTERING BOTTLENECKS
Debasish feels that lack of tourism awareness amongst people is one of the main reasons that thwart the potential of small destinations. Moreover, the initial thrust required to get things going is also missing. However, with appropriate counseling and lot of detailed discussions, things finally start moving, he adds.


The government is well aware about the potential of such small destinations and also has a clear cut tourism policy but the concerned people have to approach and avail the schemes meant for their economic upliftment, he comments.


Truly speaking, at the end of the day the success of destination branding should benefit the people for it is they who have been the guardians of that place, Debasish signs off.  

WHAT NEXT 
My Jungle Trip has plans to promote and brand small destinations of East and Northeast India and get them highlighted on the global map. The endeavour will be to cover every aspect of the destination that needs attention. The overall objective is to empower both the destination and the community living there.




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