Electric Mobility-as-a-Service: The Catalyst for Immersive Tourism in Indian Cities

Divay Pranav, Director – Policy and Partnerships

An image of two tourists riding e-Scooters through a green area of an Indian city

In the post-Covid world, the rise of ‘revenge travel’ has left tourist hotspots teeming with visitors, often to the detriment of everyone’s overall experience. But there’s a bright side to it as well. The sharp rise in travel has begun to create a newfound appreciation and taste among travellers for slower, and more immersive, travel experiences. That’s where micro-mobility services like Yulu play an important role.

Shared electric micro-mobility services like Yulu help break the tourist trap. These services typically offer smaller, quieter, and non-polluting vehicles that are apt for exploring the bylanes and hidden gems of a city without adding to its air pollution, noise pollution and traffic burden. They also do not require refueling and can be easily dropped off and picked up at different points of the city as per the tourists’ convenience. By taking travellers onto roads less travelled, micro-mobility EVs also support higher incomes for local businesses.

Thus electric micro-mobility is a win for all concerned, which is why the tourism industry and city authorities must work together to make electric vehicles the norm, rather than the exception, for tourist mobility.

Why Micro-Mobility Services Are Great for Both Tourists and Businesses

Slow living as a movement has found many takers. But how about slow travel? We’re talking about a gentler kind of exploration that takes in sights and sounds in sips, not gulps.

Can you ever explore a majestic city like Varanasi through a rushed taxi ride? History and culture are spread across narrow lanes and alleys in the city and are often not found through internet searches. Thousands of temples, havelis (mansions), and old chaat shops are better explored on foot or on low-speed electric vehicles.

Likewise, Agra is much more than just the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. How about crafting a tour of city bazaars — Kinari Bazaar (Footwear and Ethnic Clothing), Subhash Bazaar (Silk Products and Silk Sarees), Sev ka Bazaar (local snacks), Luhar Gali (formerly called Lahori Gali) and Sadar Bazaar (Handicrafts, along with marble, glassware, rugs)?

Some benefits of micro-mobility travel options for tourists are:

Distinctiveness and flexibility: The ability to explore the city at your own pace and discover something new every time encourages repeat visits. It is a common wisdom that for any business, repeat customers improve toplines and result in better profit margins. Why not apply this logic to the use of micro-mobility in tourism?

Responsible tourism: This can have many manifestations, including how travellers move in the city. Electric micro-mobility services reduce tourism’s carbon footprint and control noise pollution. This proposition is particularly attractive for tech-savvy and environmentally-conscious millennial and Gen Z travelers.

Inclusive and diverse experiences: Every tourist is different. A business traveller is eager to explore the city’s nightlife post work. (A guided restaurant, music or theatre trail fits the bill.) A nature enthusiast, meanwhile, may want to explore the city when the morning dew is still fresh, seeking out natural attractions and scenic spots.

Such services become tourist attractions themselves: Exploring the city on an electric micro-mobility vehicle is very experiential and immersive and helps create unique memories. Yulu’s operations in Central Delhi, for example, are a crowd puller. Thousands of people visit Connaught Place every evening just to experience a Yulu Miracle ride. These riders thereafter visited local restaurants, bars and retail outlets in this trip; increasing the net income of the entire ecosystem in Connaught Place and India Gate area in Delhi.

How Yulu’s Micro-Mobility Solution Is Creating a New Dimension for Tourism in Delhi

Let’s continue with the example of Delhi. India’s capital attracts the highest number of foreign tourists (with a 40-45% share in national foreign tourist arrivals) and a large share of domestic travellers. Popular itineraries in Delhi suggest Red Fort, Akshardham Temple, Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar, Connaught Place, Chandi Chowk, India Gate as must visits. However, micro-mobility options can unlock rich and unseen layers of a city’s culture or geography that remain hidden in the shadows of the mainstream tourism narrative such as Lutyen’s Delhi ‘s rich floral heritage.

Here’s an example of a guided tour route that helps you explore the flora of Lutyens’ Delhi (illustrated below):

Micro-mobility services are not just good for travellers; they’re also great for local businesses. In April 2023, on an average, 1,020 people per day used Yulu Miracles in Central Delhi. If every user spent Rs500 on food, beverage and shopping, Yulu itself generated an additional daily revenue of Rs5 lakh for other businesses in Connaught Place. Think of the multiplier effect this can have if every tourist city in India has its own fleet of Yulu’s.

Shared micro-mobility options (e-scooters, e-bikes, pedal cycles) can offer a major experiential upgrade to the tourism ecosystem across Indian cities. Tourism departments of different states can launch micro-mobility services and popularise them among the tourists. Yulu is also keen to partner with entrepreneurs, hotel and resorts, tourism enthusiasts, and state tourism departments through its Yulu Business Programme to facilitate this upgrade.

Interested in partnering us? Become a Yulupreneur today!

This article was originally published by Yulu.


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