An Indian travel company, KVTours and Travels, based in Mumbai, recently launched "Divorce Tourism" packages, designed to get spouses who are considering divorce to reconsider.
The tour operator wants warring couples to hold off consulting lawyers and go on vacation instead - with a relationship counselor. "With divorce tourism, what we're trying to do is to bring together couples who are heading towards divorce to stop them," the company's chief executive Vijesh Thakker said. India, where marriage is still viewed as the bedrock of society, has traditionally had one of the world’s lowest divorce rates.
Only about one in 100 marriages fail, compared with one in two in the United States. But the divorce rate is rising, particularly in India's big cities. Reasons for the rise include the greater empowerment of women in urban India through better education and employment, also interference from in-laws, many of whom live with married couples in the joint family structure, or imported ideas of "love marriages", as opposed to ones arranged by families along social, religious or caste lines.
There are various Divorce Tourism packages available, from week-long stays in hill station resorts costing about $860 US dollars to more expensive foreign destinations. "We're trying to send them where they have not been before, where there are not many people - and no relatives," said Thakker. Experienced marriage counselors, whose costs are paid through deals made with hoteliers and travel agents, will accompany the married couples, encouraging them to patch up their differences and make a fresh start.
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