Retelling the Indian Travel Experience – Vinay Parameswarappa

“Everybody loves a good story, and they would love it even more if they can relate it to what is happening back at home” Vinay Parameswarappa

‘Amazingly different!’ That’s how the majority of travelers describe India as a destination.  The diversity of the people, the culture, and the famous cuisines provide interesting experiences to travelers who visit this country with a rich history spanning over 5000 years back.  However, this destination can be overwhelming to travelers considering its numerous sites and available activities one can get involved in. Our guest today, Vinay Parameswarappa, is an experienced travel operator who understands the complexity of India as a destination and insists on the importance of having expert guidance when visiting India.

Vinay Parameswarappa is the founder of Gully Tours, one of India’s first experiential tour companies specializing in immersive travel. They offer walking tours, cycle tours, food tours, and bespoke tours in Bangalore, Mysore, Coorg, and Kochi in South India. Since 2009 he has hosted more than 30,000 people from 70+ countries around the world. His guests include Mr Kofi Annan, Bollywood celebrities and CXOs of Global Corporations. He has been featured in Netflix, The Guardian, National Geographic Magazine and CondeNast Traveler. He was selected as one of the Leaders of Tomorrow in the Tourism space by the Indian Media House – ET NOW. He is an Engineer & an MBA from the University of Oxford.

Listen in!

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  • I travelled across South East Asia, and it was fascinating to see how well the whole travel ecosystems had developed [3:25]
  • What struck me is Singapore, as a city-country, gets more tourists than the whole of India, while Singapore is much smaller than Bangla[3:30]
  • I felt that what was missing in India is packaging the whole thing better, market it better and be better at telling your own story [4:00]
  • So much of the experiences I had in India growing up while travelling was just trophy hunting, but the experience was different when I had a chance walking in Singapore [4:50]
  • The experience, together with reading a book on the founding of the world’s most famous travel companies, motivated me to quit my job in Singapore and move back to India to start a travel venture[5:31]
  • Everybody loves a good story, and they would love it even more if they can relate it to what is happening back at home [7:54]
  • I love travelling and taking walking tours. It is such a great way of knowing destinations with the help of an expert who facilitates and helps you navigate your way around [9:08]
  • One of the experiences we offer is a tour where you go to a market and shop for what you need and go to the home of a local family and you cook a meal in their kitchen [12:20]
  • I like the quote by the former Indian prime minister, “the antidote to terrorism and tourism”. The more you go out and see other people, the more you realize it is the same everywhere [13:02]
  • Commercial Break [13:20]
  • If you are coming to India, it is not about the destination you pick but how you look at the country. [14:15]
  • There are many guests who come to India with western yardsticks, which will definitely disappoint you. [14:20]
  • The first step is having an open mind when coming to India, hoping to explore and learn something new. [14:45]
  • The South of India has many diverse experiences to offer, including temple architecture, palaces, spices, lovely beaches and great food. [15:15]
  • People now have the option of taking virtual tours to ‘test drive’ the destinations before they visit [17:22]


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