Travel Industry In India: Sentiments amidst COVID-19
To capture the sentiments of the tourism sector ‘Lastclues.com’, a marketplace for unique travel activities, conducted an online survey amongst the leading travel service providers. As per the survey 93% of the service providers believe that the current market scenario is hampering the travel industry.
The world as we know it has changed forever. A force much beyond our comprehension and control has changed us, and all around us in an unspeakable way. The novel coronavirus has restricted us all to the boundaries of our homes, it is redefining the social norms and our relationships. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented economies with unparalleled challenges. Every sector of economies over the world is bearing the brunt of this lethal challenge. Tourism is definitely one of the worst affected sectors so far.
As we all know tourism is based on social interaction and is all about exposing yourself to new people and new places. In the present scenario, all these factors are a complete “NO”, harsh but reality. The nature of the virus is such that social interaction, new places, and new people are things to be wary of. According to a recent report by Business Insider, a third of the world population is presently under lockdown indicating restricted movement under government surveillance. In such a scenario the plight of the Tourism Sector can easily be imagined. The changes that are predicted in the near future are again unfamiliar and unsettling.
To capture the sentiments of the tourism sector ‘Lastclues.com’, a marketplace for unique travel activities, conducted an online survey amongst the leading travel service providers. As per the survey, 93% of the service providers believe that the current market scenario is hampering the travel industry. This indicates the obvious. At a time when stepping out of the house is also given a deep thought, where “Do I really need to stay at home” has been replaced by “Do I really need to go out” travel and tourism is the obvious sufferer.
On being asked, by when do you think travellers will start booking Indian Tours without hesitation, 33% believed by June while 20% believed it will be possible by year-end. Even the experts are not able to find consensus as to when this pandemic will subside and similar emotions can be seen in the tourism industry too. There was no clear majority in the response but a hope that by June or maximum by year-end we will see revival.
Every cloud has a silver lining, in these trying times, there is a school of thought which says that India will be the “go-to” place once the pandemic is over. Our vegetarian cuisine will be appreciated, Ayurveda & Naturopathy will become popular and tourists from across the world would love to visit India for wellness & sunshine. The survey results show that a good 80% believe that in comparison to other countries exploring India will be seen as a safer bet by the travellers. There lies our ray of hope that we will see an improvement in India’s ranking as a preferred destination by tourists.
While battling with the current crisis the authorities have to keep working on the recovery plans as well. It will require a timely, sustained, and ambitious economic response to the challenges posed. As per the survey, 93% of the service providers are expecting some relaxation from the government to the travel industry as the pandemic is posing a major and evolving challenge for the sector. The sector can find some respite in the fact that the World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) has strengthened its collaboration with WHO and is calling for Tourism to be included as a priority in future recovery efforts. The Ministry of Tourism has already launched its webinar series “DekhoApnaDesh” to boost travel sentiments. We believe that the sector will be accorded priority while designing policy and plans for recovery.
The travel industry should use this time as an opportunity to adapt to the changing times, use technology to its advantage and stay positive about the good times knocking our doors. It is important that we stay updated as the situation evolves and keep promoting India as a Holistic Destination.
Speaking on this the founder of LastClues said, “The lockdown period can be best utilised by the travel industry by opening up innovative avenues utilising tech-driven initiatives”. Taking a cue from the Ministry of Tourism the travel industry can use this time to update and upgrade its web presence and try connecting with their customer base through the upload of images, videos and testimonials by previous clients. Aggressive investment and well-designed policy will bring the economy back on its track. We are all in this together and will come out of this together. Efficient and effective use of time and technology can ensure that we emerge as a better version of our previous self. So keep thinking and keep innovating.
About the author
Nidhi Bhatt Pant
The author is an Assistant Professor at Amity College of Commerce & Finance at Amity University, NOIDA.Visit the Author page >>
Around The World