Tourism Industry has been devastatingly hit by the pandemic. In India itself millions have lost their livelihood. Paraphernalia of Tourism and Hospitality industry are slowly trying to revive but in an altogether different way such that they are resilient and sustainable. These differences are insights which must be noted by both tourists and travellers and the players of tourism and hospitality industry. Have you thought of what these key changes will look like? Let’s quickly have a look at what and how these changes are being incorporated in India.
Safety and Hygiene
Safety and hygiene are on topmost priority and that is what must be harped upon while reaching out to tourists. For a covid-ready tourism, the first and foremost thing is to restore the traveller confidence and this is possible through perfect clarity in information about sanitisation and emergency health services at the destination of travel. For travelling visitors need to provide vaccination certificates and children within 12-18 years of age must have a negative RTPCR report, tested 72 hours before the visit. The traveller’s responsibility is no less. Before travelling, it’s our duty to be vaccinated and get tested. The hotels must focus on increasing contact less services and train their staffs that way.
New Approaches to Handling Public Space
New approaches to public space and more privatised solutions are what travellers are looking for. Big gatherings and overcrowding must be avoided. For example, recently I went to a luxury resort where the guests had to pre-register to visit the club and gym as time slots were allotted for a fixed number of guests to use these public spaces within the resort. Larger private solutions help. A large space with handful of guests is the perfect solution for smooth functioning. Mass tourism is not what we want now. For example, Uttarakhand Tourism Board has capped the number of visitors per day to the Kedarnath Temple.
Staycation, Today’s Most Used Word in Travel Genre
These days foreign travel and large-scale travel are not on the bucket list for most. I have myself lost hopes and money on a cancelled Euro trip last year and so I am making plans to travel to places that are not too far from home. ‘Live like a local’ and slow travel is the ‘in-thing’ of tourism today. Slow travel can do wonders for both the traveller and the locals. The rural India is in focus and is getting alternative livelihood but definitely we should be careful that it doesn’t happen at the cost of urban travellers contaminating these virgin places. Local vendors should see this as an opportunity. Slow travel teaches us our roots, the traditional way of life of a particular community, their culture and heritage. Quaint little homestays, with their delicious homely food and unmeasurable hospitality, are therapeutic. Talking about therapies, wellness packages and spiritual retreats are also places which are in demand. Yoga and meditation help people relieve their tension and anxiety caused by the pandemic and lock downs.
I am grateful to my friend Satyaki Saha for sharing her pictures of yoga on the go. They are beautiful and gracious pictures shot at Konarak Sun Temple and the beach. She is a professional trainer of Yoga, Pilates and Salsa. Anyone interested to learn can ping her in Facebook https://www.facebook.com/satyaki.saha.3
Era of Digital Nomads
Some privileged minorities have the luxury of enjoying work and pleasure simultaneously. The traditional business travel accommodations and corporate trip patterns are completely broken. People who are working from home, are often working from remote destinations. Since, the lesser-known spots are in focus now, they are tapping on the opportunity. A hygienic accommodation and Wi-Fi are doing wonders.
Road Trips Seem Safe
Drive destinations are gaining popularity. Most people find it safe to drive with their friends and families in their own vehicles. This is enabling lesser contact with people, unlike while traveling by flight, train or public bus. Travel by road, in one’s own car, is cool.
Changes in Packing Pattern
There are add-ons to what we used to previously pack for travelling. Masks, disposable gloves, head covers, face shields, disinfectant wipes and sprays and finally the hand sanitiser, top the new list. Well, new medicines are also part of the list, like the vitamin tablets and immunity boosters. Many prefer carrying their own food and water post covid. So, more (zip lock) pouches come in the travel scenes and space for them in larger bags need to be planned. Indian Railways have stopped supplying blankets and pillows for hygiene issues and so one may even have to carry these. In few flights, there has been a reduction in allotted baggage weight. It’s better to make a list beforehand and plan accordingly.
Is Travel Truly Reviving in India?
Travel is seeing an absolute reboot. Travel Industry alone contributes to 9% of India’s GDP with more than 10 million foreign tourists visiting India every year. Yet we are reviving. 20 million Indians travel to foreign destinations and now is their chance to go desi about travel. India has a vibrant travel supplier base and ecosystem with a higher percentage of young population. The youth want to travel and each state in India has unexpected wonders. India has no dearth of places to visit; from mountains, seas and oceans, lakes, back waters, rivers, waterfalls, forests, historical monuments, desert, forests and many more. This is the best time to go desi and buy local but at the same time we need to be socially responsible.
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