Domestic and regional tourism in a major country like India offers plenty of alternatives to the globetrotters as they wait for full-scale normalcy of international travel.
The travel industry has seen its lows in the recent times, and is now recovering from the depths with a strong outlook. The great Indian festive season is on and travelers as well as service providers are fully geared up to make the most of the scenario. One of the biggest learnings from last year has been that the demand for travel has only grown among vacationers and non-business travellers.
In India, majority of the adult population has already received at least one dose (over 960 million doses) and the thrust is now on administering the second dose. COVID-19 restrictions have been eased in most states and even internationally, most countries are now open again to fully vaccinated travellers.
The positive outlook is being driven by the success of vaccination drives on the global scale and also a lot of collaboration by governments all over the world to ease the resumption of people movement across the local, regional and international boundaries. When we look at a short-term perspective of the next 6 months (October 2021 to March 2022), travel and tourism businesses are going to be mainly sustained by domestic tourism, and the international movement will gradually increase to reach near normalcy later in 2022. Domestic and regional tourism in a major country like India offers plenty of alternatives to the globetrotters as they wait for full-scale normalcy of international travel. As of now, the majority of the international leisure travel from India is likely to be concentrated to destinations such as Dubai, Maldives and South East Asia.
Apart from the vaccination which has been the single biggest influence towards resumption of global travel movement, a number of other factors will also boost the demand in the next six months and even beyond. For instance:
The rise of offbeat travel – A lot of focus still remains on safety, affordability and availability during the short-term. The major destinations like London, Paris and the Northern Lights in Norway or the domestic hotspots like Goa and Manali will pull travelers by the hordes. However, this will also most likely lead to saturation of capacity and demand for offbeat options such as rural tourism, long-stays and workations wherein the fully vaccinated people are likely to choose specific destinations which are less touristy, but highly experiential. There is going to be a greater demand for places that can offer a perfect mix of adventure, visual delight, comfort and peace.
Technology in travel – Vaccination and sightseeing options aside, the other major influence is going to be the integration of technology in travel. Contactless digital transactions, bookings and real-time support by agents and travel platforms are some of the things that will facilitate a seamless and smooth travel experience for the people. While providing support and services, it has to be kept in mind that there will be a lot of emotions and apprehensions which people-centric and personalized approach will help overcome.
Growth of travel agent ecosystem – Travel agents have been a crucial support system since years before. They are reputed as trip organizers well-versed with the terrain, cultures and climatic variations of different regions and the caterers of a customized travel experience for all. In the technology-driven new normal, they are going to play a greater role than ever due to this advantage of personal rapport and operational expertise. Personalization and quality responses have become crucial now With a growing emphasis on customized, safe and high-quality experiential travel, the travel agents are now set to grow bigger and faster than even the leading travel marketplaces.
As an overview, the next 6 months are extremely crucial for the global travel and tourism sector. This is when we will transition from the pandemic travel phase to the new normal, and a base is built for accelerated growth from summer 2022 onwards.
Source: Business World