Revenge Tourism Brings Back Adventure Enthusiasts to Jumpin Heights, Says Niharika Nigam

 - Sakshi Post

People were used to the ‘new normal’ after the Covid-19 induced lockdowns and restrictions and now they wish to break free from the mundane everyday routines. This urge to go out and explore the world has given rise to the new phenomenon called, “revenge tourism”. And, what could be more fun than the adventure sports. Mohammed Rayees ur Rahim of Sakshi Post had a conversation with Niharika Nigam, Director, Business Development of Jumpin Heights to know more about India’s first Extreme Adventure zone and what has been the response of ‘revenge tourism’ for adrenaline-pumping activities. 

First let’s begin with the Jumpin Heights journey so far?

We started Jumpin Heights in 2010 with the goal of introducing extreme adventure sports to adventure enthusiasts and bringing the most thrilling global experiences to India on a commercial basis while adhering to international safety standards.  That’s how Jumpin Heights was started as the first Extreme Adventure Zone in India. We house India’s highest Bungy Jump, Asia’s Longest Flying Fox, and India’s most extreme Giant Swing in Rishikesh, and after completing 1,00,000 successful  jumps in Rishikesh now we have also recently opened our second location in North Goa, over Mayem Lake. This is Goa’s only fixed platform bungy and is in association with Goa Tourism.

Were there any initial hiccups during the set up?

There are always hiccups in pioneering something new. It took 4 years to seek sanctions from various departments within the Govt. and getting approvals. A lot of people weren’t aware about what bungy jumping even is. Those who were aware of it would rather spend in dollars abroad but not inIndia, so little was their faith on safety systems in India. And for good reason as there had never been any official regulations in place in India for extreme adventure. We wanted to change this perception,  so we not only started by adopting the Australian & New Zealand safety Standards for Bungy Jumping, but also had them incorporated to form the Indian standards for commercial operations of Bungy.

Who doesn’t like adventure? Is there any age criteria for taking the plunge?

The age limit for the jump is 12 to 45 years. Weight limit is 40-110 kgs. There is also a list of medical conditions that one must take note of. If someone has suffered a recent fracture, or has spondylitis for example, they are prohibited from taking the plunge. 

Bungy Jumping Sports is not a new phenomenon for India. Why has there been no Indian standards for this extreme sport?

In terms of safety, there were obviously no official regulations in place because Bungy had never been practiced on a formal scale before, and Jumpin Heights went on to formalize the regulations, which are now considered the official safety standards for Bungy jumping in India, based on New Zealand safety standards.

What are the emergency plans Jumpin Heights provides if something goes wrong?

In our over 1 lakh jumps, nothing ever has because our safety is impeccable. Our sites are managed by ex-Army officers to ensure disciplined checks. We use a body harness in addition to the ankle harness, the maximum safety gear used globally. Our jump masters have been trained extensively by experts from New Zealand and have operated over 1 lakh jumps, a record for adventure tourism for India. Our staff is trained in first aid, we have a doctor on call at all times just in case. 

How do the jump masters evaluate the enthusiast’s health profile?

The jumper is briefed on the procedure and shown the list of medical conditions that are prohibited. They are then made to sign a declaration if they claim to not suffer from any of those.Their weight is checked twice too. If beyond this, they still visually seem unfit on any account, the final discretion rests with our experienced Jump Masters. This is of course, for their highest safety. 

Like other industries, did the extreme sports sector take a hit during the Covid19 pandemic period?

The coronavirus outbreak, as unfortunate as it was, has now inversely boosted tourism. This phenomenon is being called revenge tourism.During the lockdowns everyone has suffered tremendously, but those who’ve managed to survive are now seeing unprecedented numbers. 

What should one expect from bungy jumping?

Adventure sports like bungy jumping provide unrivaled levels of thrill and a once-in-a-lifetime experience that people will remember for the rest of their lives. But safety is the most important criteria. Never confuse thrill for danger. Ensure to research about the company one is trusting with these experiences and never purchase them on an impulse or for cheap prices for discounts. Safety is worth the expense! Make sure there are enough safety precautions in place.

Are there any plans to take Jumpin Heights to other parts of the country?

We are looking at expansion but its too nascent yet to talk about.

What is the most thrilling testimonial you received from the adventure enthusiasts?

Its usually when they celebrate our safety. One had said he’d only ever do sky diving in India if it was a Jumpin Heights venture!

What is the gender ratio of adventure enthusiasts who love to live on the edge?

It is 70:30  (Male to female). 

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