Thrillophilia: Journey of Adventure tourism in India | Optionable

March 6, 2022 by Vandana S · 7 min read


A company created for fun and Adventure tourism is a dream come true for all the youngsters who love exploring. Thrillophilia- a company where the business model revolves around fun.

A company that provides a platform that provides wildlife explorations, scuba diving, camel safari, paragliding, biking, caving, 2-day trip, 5-day trip, and long trips. They have a blog, Twitter handles Instagram handles, and a booming website.  

Thrillophilia have over more than 8000 activities offered by more than 3500 operators across 200 plus cities spread over more than 15 countries in Asia.

A company is not driven for mere profits alone, but special personalized touch for each trip is done. Every trip is curated specially for the needs of the individual.


History of Indian Adventure Tourism

Adventure tourism means indulging in activities like trekking, rafting, wilderness camping, safaris, cycling, and so on. India is a country that can contribute to Adventure tourism. The rich topography and multiple terrains make it a hotspot for all these adventures. 

 Starting from deep-sea diving in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, trekking the Sahyadri Mountain ranges, Himalayan mountain ranges, Safari Rides in the forest, camel Safari in Rajasthan, rafting in Manali, Boating in Kerala, Skiing opportunity in Manali, Staying in Boathouses in Kashmir are few of the popular Adventure sports that are currently offered in India.

The rafting was introduced in India in the year 1975 as a part of Indo- German Exploration.

 High altitude rafting was done and they set a world record. In the year 1990, the duo Akshay Kumar and Ajay did rafting down the Brahmaputra, which is termed as the “Last Great Adventure of Asia”. A total of 600 km was covered in this rafting adventure. 

 Trekking in India is at par with the global standards. From short treks to long and difficult treks, either offered by small companies or big companies alike, the popularity of the same is high in India.

 The terrains like meadows, snow-covered tracks, low altitude, high altitude, steep, and moderate steep treks are popular and are offered. 


Journey of Thrillophilia

Started by the dynamic duo Chitra Gurnani Daga and her husband Abhishek Daga, former techies and currently, successful entrepreneurs spread their passion and dream every day.

 In 2009, the duo often took breaks after their busy office day and traveled around Bangalore. One flaw to the perfect getaway was the lack of information resulting in a bad experience. Further, the operators who provided the trips did not deliver up to the expectations and standards.

 A business problem was present right in front of them. They co-founded Thrillophilia in 2009, a company made for adventure travels and operators whom one can trust to have a good experience. The office of 1BHK turned into a dynamic and energetic team within 7 months.

 Chitra Daga, the CEO of Thrillophilia, a graduate from the Indian School of Business (ISB), took a conscious call to quit his job while Abhishek continued to work in the IT sector. This way they kept the household running, while Chitra continued to expand her business.

 The initial funding was through an entrepreneurship contest conducted by TIE and ISB where they received a funding of 1 crore.

 What was the objective of choosing Adventure Tourism?

In 2009, Chitra and Abhishek Daga curated adventure activities from operators who provided the best services to the customer. For the first 2 years, they interacted with the operators and ensured they provided a good deal to the customers.

 After the first 2 years, they decided to interact with the customers and give a personal touch to the trips. They provided trips and asked their customers to share their experiences. Now not only the listing of trips and activities were present, but the experiential sharing was pivotal too.

 Thrillophilia generated huge funds through corporate trips. B2B gave them a lot of funds, but the experience capture was more in the B2C sector. Chitra realized that people not only want to do sightseeing in places, but also experience the place for its culture, cuisine, and hidden adventures.

 Trips as small as walking in a tea plantation or vineyard for half a day to going on long trips of 8 days. Thus, began the experiential trips.


Key lessons learned

 The lessons learned by the founders were to build a business that caters to the needs of travel. What are the do’s and don’ts’. The travel industry in India is very scattered and there are many players working to provide the service to its inbound (domestic) and outbound (Global) customers. 

 Thrillophilia aimed to provide a platform for all kinds of adventure travel and provided with deals and packages which are pocket friendly and have quality, It also provided content and information regarding adventure sports. Working on the SEO aspect and providing research-backed information boosted their presence. 

 The founder duo introduced adventure traveling in a fun way and provided job opportunities to multiple local people in the form of guides and restarting the sports activities in the location. They believe in the hustle and smart work. 

 Passion, hard work, not giving up on the mission were a few things the founders followed while building the company. The experience of ensuring a quality experience and adventure worth speaking about and comparing it with the book journey was their vision. Following the vision and mission made them grow their business to a profitable one within a few months. 

Future of Indian Adventure Tourism

The Indian Adventure Tourism was growing at 20% per annum domestically before the pandemic. The business in Adventure tourism is close to 2000 crores. 

 To ensure there is steady growth post the pandemic, it’s essential that the state governments follow the guidelines and policies of Adventure tourism.

 Few states have been very accepting of this guideline and have enforced them immediately. States like Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. In a few states, there are final discussions that have been put forth. 

 Around 124 peaks have been opened for international travelers to explore, giving a major boost in revenue for the government. 

The major drawback to the industry is the safety issues and ensuring quality equipment and materials are provided.

 Boosting the guides to improve on their communication model and speak English, Hindi to ensure that the customers have a good experience. Construction of infrastructure and providing the basic amenities in higher altitudes and ensuring the cleanliness of the natural environment needs to be maintained. This sometimes makes adventure travel a little expensive. 

 The growing prices of petrol and increase in the standard of living are making this industry a price competitive industry, thereby looking at the costs and the quality makes it a hard struggle for the industry to survive and thrive. 

 There are a lot of opportunities as well for this industry and many companies are putting their best foot forward to take Indian Adventure Tourism ahead and make it globally recognized. 


Takeaway: A young dynamic duo on the future of adventure tourism

 Chitra and Abhishek Daga, started their entrepreneurial journey when they were young. After a decade, they have become mature and experienced in the adventure industry.

 They are expanding their base throughout Asia. Investing in good operators and training the operators to be more customer-friendly and provide a good experience is their main objective.

Recently they have partnered with Corona (Beer Company) for Rediscover Paradise Initiative.- a program to boost local tourism.

 The pandemic has hit many small businesses, therefore the initiative is urging people to explore their local areas, stay in homestays and resorts within the city or nearby cities and towns. This is done to ensure the tourism in the countries doesn’t dry up.

 They have tied up with Go Pro India and have successfully collaborated with more than 50 plus brands within India and globally. Collaborations like Corona, KTM, different state travel boards, international travel boards the company is steadily aiming towards revolutionizing the travel industry. They have more than 15000 creators who have the Go pro passport and have created a community of travel and adventure. 

 Partnering with Bosch and KTM was to bridge the gap between automobile and tourism. KTM was focused on making the bikes provide the adventure ride of the customer’s life, while Bosch was focused on providing a better experience of adventure via their cars. 

 Trillophilia has led successful campaigns for both these companies and conducted multiple adventure trails and explorations. 390 plus adventure drive in KTM bikes and an app to connect people to the Mahindra XUV 700 experience. 

 Integrating technology, crypto, and the cutting edge changes, Thrillophila is aiming to build a brand that everyone opts for. Spending on R&D, strategic planning, collaborations are the resources they are building currently.