Alternative tourism opens new revenue streams

Hashers make their way along a train in China.  -
Hashers make their way along a train in China. -

NIKI BORDE

At a time when the world is more interconnected than ever, where you can explore the world on your phone, people are eagerly looking for new adventures. In the past, genres such as sports tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and cruise line tourism have created their space in the global industry, bringing in revenue streams to those who got involved. Tourism has evolved with the aim of developing new forms of sustainable tourism that integrate local populations and both natural and human environments of host countries.

Alternative tourism accommodates those who in their continual quest for excitement. create outlets for fun, finding them at all corners of the earth such as Amazon wave surfing, wingsuit flying, Zorbing, trekking, canyoning, caving and other less extreme outdoor activities such as hashing. While some of those mentioned above are suited to the more radical individual, hashing accommodates all ages and fitness levels.

Hashing is an evolution of hiking, trail running, walking and jogging, created by British soldiers 80 years ago while stationed in Kuala Lumpur during World War 2. Opting to make their exercises a bit more interesting, they designed false trails, trail markings and fun rules that have continued to evolve across the globe today, as the sport takes on a life of its own. Recognised by the Olympic committee as the largest non competitive sport in the world, hashing can be found in over 120 countries.

Runners, hashers or hounds of all ages, follow trails set by hares through varying terrains, which can differ from marshes, rivers, rocky outlets, deserts, forests, and country paths to city streets. Hashing offers the participant not only physical challenges but has also created a very strong social niche, which has expanded with the use of social media, bringing communities around the world into a very close-knit fraternity.

Growing exponentially, clubs number over 2,000 across the world with over 500,000 active members. What started as a club event, morphed in to national, regional hashes and 42 years ago, the first World International Hash was staged, bringing together thousands of hashers from across the world.

Always on the lookout for unique events, Plan It Productions travelled with members of the hashing community to Fiji to submit a bid to host the World Interhash here in 2020, beating big contenders from Goa in India, Dubai, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

A Taiwanese hasher runs a trail in China. -

Primarily hosted in the southern hemisphere, the World Interhash would be coming to this hemisphere for the first time in 42 years. Participants from 82 countries will touch down in TT in April, bringing with them potential revenue of US$10 million to the islands and US $5 million to the region, as they go on to explore the neighbouring islands. The event opens up new markets in Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East, putting TT on the front burner in regions not usually in the target market.

TT is well poised to host an event of this kind with a variety of challenging and beautiful terrains, healthy entertainment industry and a wealth of cultural experiences to offer. Hashing brings participants in close contact with communities across the host nation, opening doors to hotels, guest houses, taxis, service providers, bars, restaurants, members of the entertainment industry, tour operators, sponsors and other stakeholders across the islands, adding to revenue of the country.

The promoters and the local interhash committee are hard at work with local and international hashers, the Lions clubs, volunteers, sponsors and other stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago, to make sure the World Interhash 2020 raises the bar and presents the best the country has to offer. It would be another 12 years before TT can bid for a chance to host another World Interhash event and the hosts are determined to leave a lasting impression on their international guests.

If you want to get involved you can contact the team at interhashtrinidad2020@gmail.com or register at Trinirego.interhashtrinidad2020.com.

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"Alternative tourism opens new revenue streams"

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