A rendezvous with travel gurus? Check. Yummy food. Check. Virtual travel to exciting locales? Check. The second edition of the Gypsy Travel Festival 2018, held recently at The High Street Phoenix, Mumbai, ticked all the boxes for a wholesome travel and entertainment show.

India’s only curated Business-to-Consumer travel event, it represented a rich congregation of the biggest destination experts as well as brand and opinion leaders in the experiential travel sector.

Hosted by The Gypsy Travel Network, it allowed potential travellers to interact directly with industry specialists to plan, customise and even book their holidays all under one roof.

Big-ticket partners like Luxury Escapes, GlobusCosmos (international luxury travel and tour operators), Rare India, Blueberry Trails, Toe-Hold Photography, Active Holiday Company, Jack and Hill Adventures, Luxetrot and Countryside Adventures interacted with eager travellers directly.

A plethora of industry experts gave first-hand information on off-beat and new destinations, travel dynamics, tips to economise one’s holiday, fast tracking visa processes and more.

The atmospheric show also hosted a slew of influential bloggers and travel personalities, who held interactive sessions and panel discussions on an exponentially-growing industry.

Virtual Reality tours allowed the audience to experience scenic destinations of Fiji, Israel and Malaysia in a completely new avatar. In keeping with the event’s international theme, a plethora of street food dishes from all around the world (Israeli sabih, anyone?) lured the foodies.

With over 3,000 unique travel itineraries to choose from, there was a lot on offer. A Trans- Siberian sojourn? Or perhaps you’d like to plump for an Antarctic expedition? All were showcased at the event.

Considering there is a clear disconnect between the traveller and the destination due to lack of proper information and intermediaries, such travel events are clearly a welcome addition to the burgeoning.

This disconnect affects the perception of any potential traveller in terms of accessibility, desirability and the notability value of a destination. The TGTF2018 hopes to take the first steps necessary towards commercially bringing about change in how Indians perceive travel.

As Nelson Noronha, co-founder of Gypsy Travel Network, summed it up, “The unique participants and businesses represented at the Gypsy Travel Festival 2018 all share the same vision ~ to innovate and bring about change in Indian travel habits.

Despite the limitations of the Indian passport, we have travelled the length and breadth of the planet and wanted other fellow Indian travel enthusiasts to be able to experience the same. A new generation of travel enthusiasts should be able to have unique personal travel experiences themselves.” Let’s say Amen to that.