In 2023, experience life king-size – Times of India

Chennai News

The coming year will witness a rise in social media-driven interactive tourism, experts say. Travellers are showing an interest in lesser-known destinations promoted by influencers on social media. This has led to travel and tour operators also designing tours to match these requirements.
“The way people travel has changed after the pandemic. They aren’t so bothered about the cost but want interactive experiences. People from Chennai are going to Leh and Ladakh, which was previously never a preference when they travelled to Jammu and Kashmir,” says Sriharan Balan of Madura Travels. “Similarly, Karnataka meant only Bengaluru, Mysuru and Coorg. But now they’re looking beyond these destinations. When it comes to Kerala, people are asking to stay near a place like Athirapally falls, instead of visiting Kochi. Resorts have mushroomed in these places too, to tap into the demand.” This trend can be seen across age-groups.
“As the new strain of coronavirus may bring back restrictions in international travel, domestic travel is set to boom in the first few months of the year,” says Sriharan.
Tourism departments of major states, including Tamil Nadu, are catching in on this trend, by promoting videos and photos of lesser-known places – including waterfalls, hills and camping sites.
If the Metaverse opened the space for music, gaming and augmented reality this year, 2023 is brimming with opportunities for independent productions that bring these worlds together outside of the virtual world too.
The end of this year saw the release of ‘Elsewhere in India’, a project combining game engine technology with AI-generated art alongside a genre-bending palate of Carnatic-electronic music, featuring digital human avatars of Indian audio-visual artists Murthovic (MSR Murthy) and Thiruda (Avinash Kumar).
“There is a big scope for ethno-techno, or indigenous rhythms making their way into electronic music,” says music and culture publicist Ruhi Batra. “Especially with groups like Daytimers Collective showcasing and celebrating South Asian artistry and increasing brown representation globally, classical, Punjabi and other musicians from India will find it easier to experiment, put their work out and gain acceptance in the country,” says Ruhi. Networks to give independent South Asian and Indian artists the resources to scale up and market themselves are also on the rise. It started with AR Rahman’s platform Maajja this year, and now smaller, independent collectives such as The Madras Commune (TMC) are also planning to organise these networking and training sessions, says TMC founder Ashwin Kashyap Raghuraman.
Book your rooms online, get a location map before you arrive, check in on your ride on an iPad, have a humanoid concierge take you to your room, use your mobile for keyless entry, and use a tab to open your curtains and switch on the AC – that’s what travellers can expect in 2023.
“Post pandemic, digital transfor mation has accelerated. What would have happened 10 years later is happening now,” says Vikram Cotah, CEO, GRT Hotels and Resorts. “Hospitality has become more experiential; narratives and stories are what are selling. And hotels are using technology to tell these stories.”
At Radisson Blu GRT Chennai, it is Nanbi, a h u m a n o i d concierge who greets you in the lobby. “If you are coming for the second time, there will be face recognition. All information about the hotel and Chennai has been fed into it. We are also planning to feed in flight schedules,” says Cotah. You can use a tablet or your mobile phone for in-room automation, and will have chat bots assisting you. AI and VR are what’s trending. “When you order a seafood platter, for instance, you can wear VR goggles and see how the chef made it for you,” says Cotah.
Art, from being an independent sector, is gradually beginning to diversify with multidisciplinary collaborations – particularly in traditional gallery shows. Celebrating India’s 75th year of independence, in August this year, the Abheraj Baldota Foundation and Gaurang Shah initiated a conversation between artists, art forms and contemporary society, bringing them closer to the idea of India as a cultural nation, in an exhibition called Sutr Santati. Hosted at the National Museum of Delhi, it showcased around 100 textile art pieces, most of which were commissioned in local variety yarns of Kandu and Kala cotton and mulberry and wild silks, and dyes obtained from natural sources
“The atelier of Jean Francoise Lessage, the creative head of Vastrakala, created a contemporary rendition of the charkha for Sutr Santati,” says curator and gallerist Sharan Apparao. “The fine line between artists and artisans is blurring, and the appreciation as well as willingness to spend on fine craftsmanship is growing as much as for fine art,” she adds.
On the other hand, hundreds of emerging digital artists who found a new platform through NFTs, will now see their wide digital exposure trickle over to physical shows. “Despite the recent crypto crash, I have three exhibition shows lined up in the coming year,” says visual artist Amrit Pal Singh. The New Year will also see the famous immersive Vincent van Gogh experience coming to Mumbai after a successful stint in the US, Europe and Canada.
What does it mean to have survived an unprecedented worldwide pandemic? A hunger for knowledge to a cultivate better health, slow living and reprioritizing.
If 2022 saw a rise in plantbased diets, different forms of yoga and app-driven fitness and mindfulness routines, 2023 will see a rise in specific wellness trends. Experts at Round Glass wellness say soundscapes, including binaural beats and 3-D spatial audio, mind-body therapies like float tanks and cold-immersion, and wellness routines including sound baths and sleep-enabling technology will see a rise.
With the risk of Coronavirus making a comeback, home gyms are likely to see a spike across the country. There will also be an increased curiosity for AI-science and advances wearable fitness technologies.