Luxury is not just a word, it’s a way of living. With the current evolution and changing consumer behaviour, luxury is not just limited to the upper class but has become an essential part of the middle class as well. Luxury not only means innovation and class, rather it also enhances the historical element, that of a unique experience.
ICONIC 2017 focussed on the topic “trending luxury” and raised an important question, “Does trending luxury culminate into the growth of aviation, tourism and hospitality?”
Credited with programmes like Make in India, Incredible India and Atithi Devo Bhavah, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant called himself a proletariat with the growing bourgeoisie, Suhel Seth, while delivering his keynote address. Kant shared his journey of becoming the CEO of Niti Aayog from being a Secretary in Tourism, Government of Kerala and how it changed his perception towards luxury. He said, “During my days in Kerala, I realised how tourism impacts on a country’s cultural values which further shifted the focus on the high-value tourists and the appropriate means to provide luxury in the form of hospitality.”
For Kant, sticking to one’s root is the essence of luxury. He proved it by bringing back the ancient culture of Kerala with respect to its martial art, food, cuisine, architecture and house boats. “We wanted to create the anti-thesis of what luxury means to the Western countries. Luxury is not about aping the West, it’s about believing and nurturing our own culture.”
Suhel Seth, being thorough with the term luxury, believes that the first thing about it is its detailing. Sadly, we Indians are not focussing on it. Luxury is also about being experiential. Seth questioned the position Indians take with respect to luxury. “We are doing a disservice to ourselves by absorbing our culture only in terms of art and craft while ignoring the luxury aspect. Consumers never know what they want, if they knew then there might have been no evolution in the market.
People are looking for delights and most importantly for memories. All hotels welcome you with a great abundance of hospitality but very few welcome you at the airport.”
Seth highlighted the loopholes luxury is facing in India. “The concept of branding nowadays is based on transaction and not relational, making monetary benefits as the main aim and sidelining the new lifestyle experiences,” he added. We being the country of Maharajas don’t need hippies to come and exploit our natural resources, he felt. In London, luxury means introducing a visitor to the historical element of various spaces where great artists, poets or authors lived. But in India we restrict ourselves to visiting monuments without realising their historical importance. Thus, one needs to revaluate their civilisation, culture and historical background.
Learn more in our Global Ready India Seminars
Article: Daily Pioneer