‘How India’s travel and tourism industry can retaliate the impact of COVID-19’

Dilip Modi, Founder of Travel Union, pens down his thoughts on how the travel and tourism industry is retaliating against the Covid impact

The outbreak of the pandemic brought the entire world to a complete stand-still and created major disruptions in the lives of people globally. It also adversely affected the global economy resulting in large scale job losses. Out of all the industries that suffered, the travel and tourism industry was impacted the most owing to the lockdown and travel restrictions. As per a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTCC), COVID-19 has caused the tourism industry almost USD 22 billion and a loss of almost 50 million jobs worldwide. 

A large part of our population which resides in rural or semi urban areas has been a part of the travel sector in one way or another. According to government data, almost 21.5 million people have lost their jobs in the 9 month period from April - December, 2020. However, with massive vaccination drives across the country, the future of India’s travel and tourism industry looks bright. According to a report by market research firm RedCore, an arm of Bengaluru-based market research firm RedSeer, India's travel & tourism market is expected to grow to $125 billion by 2027, and has turned the spotlight on India’s 3 lakh + agents, who are expected to cater to over $65 billion of the overall market size. 

Restoring Confidence in Tourism

While the last two years have been a bumpy ride for the travel and tourism sector, with COVID restrictions being lifted, the sector has been witnessing a good traction with the onset of the festive season. A majority of travelers are embarking on pilgrimages, a trend which will see further boom in the post-COVID world, as people move faraway from short-haul city breaks towards fewer flights and longer trips with a way of purpose. After a long period of remote working, offices are now opening their doors for their fully vaccinated employees. This has given rise to business travel as more and more people are going back to their job locations. When it comes to the education sector, students are now going back to the physical classroom setup as colleges are starting to resume. 

Leveraging technology and applications for more convenient travel will help in further scaling up this traction. Wealready have adapted to cashless payments and ensured social distancing while transacting on a day-to-day basis. Bringing in additionalsuch ideas to action may restore traveler confidence considerably. Technologically superior technology players can enter the market and offer customised solutions to the people involved in the travel and tourism industry. Firms with resources can help create a unified platform for travel requirements of agents, as well as end consumers. They can offer competitive margins for the people acting as intermediaries and also reasonable prices to customers. When a person wishes to travel, there are various aspects that they need to factor in; from ticket booking to hotel bookings, other travel & transport bookings. 

With the country getting a hold over the virus, travel will see an uptrend, as people are tired of being stuck in their homes, many without any jobs for months on end and need to travel to sustain their families. There is a rather interesting term being passed around - ‘revenge travelling,’ which simply means, after being holed up inside our houses for months, people will now travel even more, and would be away from their homes more often. Considering the above facts and trends, it won’t be wrong to say that this is certainly the beginning of a bullish period for our travel industry and its related businesses. Not to discount the fact that there’s a possibility of a third wave, but with the majority of our people  being vaccinated, and aware of necessary precautions, travelers and the travel industry will most certainly make hay while the sun shines.

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