Sharing our passion for all things India
All Things India Travel (previously known as iSpice Tours) is a proudly owned and operated family tour business conceptualised and based in NZ. Launched in 2013 by Shani and Joji, it is the vehicle through which we can share our deep-rooted passion for all things India.
All Things India Travel offers personally hand-crafted tours which enable guests to enjoy authentic grass-roots experiences of the real India.
Since childhood, Joji Jacob has travelled extensively throughout India. He loves sharing the knowledge he has gathered over the years with the guests who come from all over the world. He acts as a catalyst connecting guests with the locals prompting interactions and conversations. “The more we communicate from our heart,” Joji says, “then the more we will understand about each other and the greater the opportunity there will be to have an immersive travel experience despite language barriers. Moreover, this will dispel any initial concerns we may have had before embarking on what will certainly be a journey of discovery.”
With his vast networks in India and his language skills, Joji sources excellent professional local guides and subject experts to share, en route, the history, stories and key facts with guests.
Joji is intuitive to the people’s needs. He is adept at managing/juggling the interests and experiences of individuals and those of the group; so guests can, and do, relax to enjoy a unique and memorable travel experience.
Joji and his wife, Shani, started All Things India Travel in 2013 to support various community and environmental development initiatives in India, about which they are passionate. During a tour, guests get the opportunities to participate in some of these activities.
When he is not travelling, Joji organise and manage private tours to India for individuals or groups. He also runs his small IT consultancy firm supporting small to medium businesses in Wellington. Joji loves cooking and he has expanded his knowledge of countries, their culture, and customs through their cuisines.
With hospitality in our DNA and fired by our love of Indian cuisine, we started hosting private culinary evenings in our home in 2008. In this way we could share our passion and knowledge of Indian cuisine, culture, customs, traditions and ayurvedic practices. During these very social and scrumptious interactive sessions, our guests were not only shown how the dishes were cooked but were also provided with an explanation of the various spices, their uses and their ayurvedic function. Guests enjoyed a demonstration of traditional cooking tools and utensils and viewed short tourism documentaries of the Indian regions that the dishes originated from, thus providing a cultural context to the cuisine.
Our guests’ thorough enjoyment of these informative, interactive and intimate culinary events often led to them expressing a desire to tag along with us on our next trip to India. How wonderful it would be to take like-minded people with us as guests so that they too could experience and enjoy India as we do! The seed of a tourism venture was sown!
We were so excited! Our subsequent visits to India were used to shape this dream into a reality. We travelled around even more and explored both ‘must see’ destinations and fascinating places off the beaten track, with the aim of weaving itineraries which would provide enriching experiences of the fabric of India. We fell even more in love with the people we met along the way – they did not have much but they were always warm and friendly and gave so generously of themselves. We loved these local communities and they loved us! They were moved by the respect we gave them, our warmth towards them and our ability to communicate with them in their local language, even though we were from overseas. We wanted to support these wonderful communities and help them to retain their livelihood and sustain their way of life. This spurred us on even more. We actively sought and established important connections within key tourism boards and potential service providers who shared our philosophy and ethos. These strategic connections, together with our established network of family and friends across India, provided us with a strong framework for building a tourism venture with a heart.
iSpice Tours was launched in 2013 with the aim of sharing our passion and knowledge of South India, through hand-crafted tours that are unique, authentic, personal and memorable for our guests, and are also socially responsible giving something back to the local communities that we touch.
It is all about “Realising dreams” – our guests realising their dream holiday, the local communities realising their dream of sustaining their traditional livelihood, culture and heritage and us realising our dream of sharing and caring for our guests while supporting the local communities during our travels.
Over the years we have expanded our network and it now includes national and regional tourism boards of India, and NGOs that are keen to support our responsible tourism ventures. Through this strong network, we are now able to source and provide unique and rich experiences across the whole of India and neighbouring countries like Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
Thus in 2015 we rebranded to ‘All Things India Travel’ to reflect our expanding portfolio of tour offerings to the Indian sub-continent.