On World Tourism Day, industry leaders share their views on this year's theme

This World Tourism Day brings forth immense promise of rethinking, integrated tourism planning and action as we discussed at the State Tourism Ministers’ Meet, keeping sustainability and responsibility at the core. This is important to bring out both the Indian tourism travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and the employees from the shadow of the pandemic.

- Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH

The theme for World Tourism Day 2022 has most appropriately been chosen as ‘Rethinking Tourism’. The pandemic, that is mostly behind us, has compelled us to think differently and it is for this very reason that Tourism across the globe is back with a vengeance. But let this not be a ‘flash in the pan’. Let us all work together and ensure that tourism continues to grow to unprecedented levels in the days ahead. Both the private sector and the governments who are already appreciative of the importance of tourism in a country’s economic success, need to push for a much larger contribution in ensuring far better facilities and infrastructure. This is the only way we can hope to grow domestic tourism and also attract a much larger international audience.

- Vineet Verma, Director, Brigade Hospitality

The tourism industry has faced its most challenging period in modern history and is now facing many new uncertainties driven by recent geo-political instability and the long-term effects of the pandemic. This new storm of uncertainty has forced the travel and tourism sector to rethink and revolutionise itself once again. This is where destinations in the GCC and Middle East are excelling, with one of the most dynamic tourism sectors globally. As one of the fastest growing and most diverse destinations in the region, Ras Al Khaimah has always maintained a forward-looking approach to everything we do.  By being agile, quick and decisive we have reimagined tourism in our Emirate to resonate with the needs of today’s travellers, including our bold approach to a sustainable future for the industry. Balanced Tourism is something we are firmly embracing as an Emirate, and it is our vision to become a leader in sustainable tourism by 2025, aligned with our identity as a nature destination with a desire to progress, grow and evolve.

- Raki Phillips, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

Several new travel patterns have emerged since the pandemic, pushing the industry to reimagine systems, processes and offerings. Safety and hygiene are key considerations today, leading to travellers increasingly opting for online, self-service tools for end-to-end transactions, and Vistara has been actively upgrading its technology infrastructure to support this shift. There has also been a notable preference for nonstop flights especially on long haul routes to avoid multiple touch points in an effort to reduce the risk of infection, and Vistara is well positioned to meet this demand operationally. 

- Deepak Rajawat, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara

Tourism is a major engine of economic growth across the globe holding immense potential. The sector has been expanding steadily and diversifying rapidly over the past several years, making it one of the fastest growing in the entire world. Besides, giving a boost to the economic development of the country, the tourism industry has great capacity to create large-scale employment of diverse kinds- from the most specialised to the unskilled. From local skilled workers/ artisans/ business owners to big hotel/ hostel industries/ airlines etc, tourism impacts almost every segment of the economy. There has been a huge impact, due to the pandemic, on big industries, especially the tourism and hospitality sector. I’m happy that UNWTO has taken this initiative in order to revitalise the global tourism sector, and to support economies, create jobs, and drive development outcomes that put people and their communities first. There have been shifts in the way consumers tend to see things now. They have become more responsible while travelling and also tend to contribute a small part towards an eco-friendly and sustainable environment. Herein, we should act responsibly and educate these people more towards building a resilient and sustainable economy - be it through reducing plastic wastes, or keeping the places where they travel clean.

- Pankaj Parwanda, Co-Founder, goSTOPS

We resonate with the theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’ not only at the responsible travel philosophy level but also in terms of how we imagine our trips. As our world becomes smaller and resources become rarer, it is prudent to take corrective action. Being a travel company, our tourism brand has far more purpose than simply going to a destination. We are excited to play a significant role in reducing the carbon footprint of all travellers with our initiative and pledge to offset all the CO2 emissions of the crew cars on the trips. We will also encourage our clients to offset their emissions. At Adventures Overland, we are also exploring options of organising tours with Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Norway and are hopeful that these tours will become a regular feature with us. We wish all passionate travellers a Happy World Tourism Day and look forward to having them join us in some of our forthcoming trips

- Tushar Agarwal, Co-Founder, Adventures Overland

The tourism sector contributes not only towards the growth and development of the country but also promotes cultural exchange between tourists and locals. Hit by the pandemic, the sector is all set to be reborn. Almost every country is planning and trying to offer innovative solutions to revive tourism as it will help in creating thousands of jobs in different sectors and encourage infrastructural development as well. In the post-Covid19 world, there is shift towards tourism which is being recognised as a crucial pillar for development. With this year’s World Tourism Day theme, Rethinking Tourism, it’s time we ask the question: ‘Where is tourism heading?’ and ‘Where do we want it to go?’ It’s time to encourage innovation and technological integration in tourism and hospitality sector. It’s time to acknowledge the rise of AI and data management in the industry and reaffirm the willingness in areas such as entrepreneurship, youth training and digital transformation for a better development of the tourism sector.

- Sanchit Gupta, Managing Director, Nest Jaipur

After nearly two years of paused travel, border closures and pandemic induced lockdowns, 2022 has witnessed the recovery of tourism with an unprecedented resurgence in travel. With international borders continuing to open up, people are seizing the opportunity to fulfil their deferred travel plans with a wider pool of destinations to choose from. Due to this appetite and pent-up demand for travel, travellers are also broadening their mindset and seeking experiences that go beyond traditional tourism, by opting for sustainable, experiential culture-focused experiences, etc. This growing demand is a promising and reassuring indicator of the optimistic future that we can anticipate for the travel and tourism industry. We welcome Indians to rediscover their love for travel in Australia, from the unmatched adrenalin of the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to deep cultural experiences with Aboriginal Australian tour guides, as we pave the way for a new era of travel."

- Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager- India & Gulf, Tourism Australia

As we ‘Rethink Tourism’ on World Tourism Day today, we need to recognise that this highly interconnected industry has the ability to influence many other markets and is a crucial pillar of global development. It can, therefore, be a powerful catalyst for the kind of transformation that protects resources, uplifts economies and benefits future generations.

- Shruti Shibulal, CEO & Director of Tamara Leisure Experiences

Tourism has been one of the sectors hit hardest by the Covid19 pandemic. Since then a series of initiatives have helped enhance our global competitiveness and attractiveness as a multifaceted destination. We have always followed a diversified approach for our international markets ensuring that Dubai continues to retain its position as the leading business and leisure destination. Our focus on strengthening the collaborative ecosystem and amplifying tourism volumes through global campaigns has showcased the city as the perfect getaway for travellers from all demographics and segments. As one of the first destinations in the world to close, then open and remain open, Dubai’s effective management of the pandemic and early initiative to lead global tourism recovery restored confidence among visitors and residents. We are now on a mission to be 10 years ahead and to make great strides in creating a community that seamlessly works together. Using global initiatives and rethinking efforts, we strive to shape the future of tourism 

- Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) theme – Rethinking Tourism for this year’s World Tourism Day could not have been more apt as it aims to inspire rethinking tourism for development, including through education and jobs and tourism’s impact on the planet and opportunities to grow more sustainably. The pandemic affected international travel for the major part but domestic tourism boomed right after the restrictions were lifted. While revenge travel was one of the reasons behind it, the Government’s ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ campaign aimed at promoting domestic tourism did a great job. The initiative encouraged domestic travellers to explore the country and has led to a definite spurt in domestic tourism.

- Pradeep Shetty, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI)

Tourism is a rapidly growing industry, and hoteliers are optimistic about the revenge travel trend in both business and leisure segments. The pandemic has caused a significant shift in how people view travel and there is a change in their expectations. The pace of adoption of sustainable tourism has picked up, and travellers are now talking about responsibilities towards nature, which were less common earlier. Many are promoting responsible tourism. There is an increase in demand for experiential and ecotourism, and hotels and travel brands are trying to offer such authentic experiences to guests. The new tourism policy by the government is also designed to drive growth and make India one of the top five tourism destinations in the world by 2030, and hospitality is one of the five key aspects being aggressively driven.

- JB Singh, President and CEO, InterGlobe Hotels


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