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Tapping the untapped

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
By Parth Khatau

Travel boutique No Footprints helps the curious explorer visit the underbelly of the city and bring out stories rich in Mumbai folkflore

Harshvardhan Tanwar and Eesha Singh entered the fray when a lot of individuals looked to have their own travel start-ups. "Back in 2013 when we looked to start No Footprints, I realised that besides the regular touristy things in our city, there was a lack of free walks," said Harshvardhan or Harsh as he is better know. "There were so many untold stories tucked away that nobody knew about and more importantly desrved to be brought to light."

With a degree in engineering and being a travel consultant today, Harsh has come a long way. "After studying engineering I did not wish to take up my job even after being placed," he said. "I studied advertising at the Xavier's Institute of Communications (XIC)."

Speaking about travel, Harsh said, "When you're traveling on your own it is very different, from traveling with your parents for example. One of the things lacking in Mumbai was creating Intellectual Properties (IP) with regards to tourism and so we started doing that with walks at 5:00 am called Mumbai By Dawn," he added.

Their first customer was a story in himself. "Before starting the company, I did not know what to do and was helping my dad with logistics in his business. When I had my first customer, I told him to pay me if he liked it (the walk) or else it was free. Going into the underbelly of the city, understanding how a fish auction takes place, seeing how the newspaper vendors work in the morning, are some of the things we bring out in the walk," said 31-year-old Tanwar.

Harsh's partner, Eesha Singh who co-founded 'No Footprints' with him said, "We do around 12 walking tours today and also do musicals on cruise ships that dock in Mumbai. These musicals could be about various things such as different eras of Bollywood and much more." "We want the tourist to go back feeling enriched," she added.

Speaking about Mumbaikars being a representation of the city, she added, "As philosophical and corny as it sounds, people like us (locals) represent the city for those who come from outside. The city is as good as the person who is showing you around."

'No Footprints' have worked with top international travel names across the spectrum such as Abercrombie & Kent, Thomas Cook, the Travel Corporation of India and many more.

The company has free walks for tourists and anyone else who would like to join every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday on a pay as you like basis."Historical facts are something that people forget but  but stories are something they keep and we make sure we bring out the latter," said Harsh.

The duo spend 8 months working and the other 4 months travelling the world, living their dream. They currently have a team of 6 people working full time and around 15-20 people at the ground level conducting various tours and events. They are constantly looking to expand.

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