Divorce lawyers in Pasadena have seen many a couple that, in the midst of an epic never-ending divorce, look like they could really use a vacation. In India, one man has taken the need for healing and relaxation and turned it into a tourism package for couples on the verge of breaking up.
Vijesh Thakkar is the owner of KV Tours, a travel company in Mumbai. Thakkar created a new travel package, Divorce Tourism, after watching the painful break-up of his best friend's marriage. Thakkar believes his company can help married couples whose relationships are in trouble. He also undoubtedly noticed that divorce in India has been on the rise for the last two years. Experts cite urbanization, women's newfound economic independence and increasingly western attitudes toward marriage as some of the reasons for the rise in divorce.
The idea behind the Divorce Tourism packages is simple: Thakkar had seen what a difference a relaxing vacation had made in the lives of non-divorcing couples and knew it could work for couples with marital woes, as well. To insure peace and harmony, Thakkar added the option of a tour guide to the packages. The tour guide, in reality, is a marital counselor who helps the couples with communication problems for the duration of the tour.
India, however, has not thoroughly embraced the idea of psychotherapy, and divorce, although on the rise, still carries a lot of shame for many Indians. Therefore, many times the vacation, the tour guide and the trip's true purpose are carefully veiled for the participants. Thakkar's business is booming and his happy couples have raved about his unique service.
Would such an idea work here in the United States? It's hard to say. But, as Massachusetts attorney and mediator Laurie Israel says, "Most marriages are killed by a litany of petty unresolved arguments, unrealistic expectations and overemphasis on unimportant disputes. For these spouses, 'Divorce Tourism' may be a fruitful alternative to a visit to a divorce attorney's office."