The travel and tourism industry is constantly metamorphosing to accommodate the needs of its consumer base. Travel trends have consistently evolved with the times and the definition of ‘travelling’ today is vastly different from what it was a decade ago. In an exclusive interview with TE, the chairman of the Karnataka chapter of TAAI (Travel Agents Association of India), Mr Amish Desai, opens up about the various facets of the travel industry, its challenges and how it continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
During his journey with TAAI, Mr Amish Desai has donned many hats. Once the treasurer, then the secretary, and now the chairman, Amish has been an intimate part of the workings of the association. Travel agents are undoubtedly one of the key players in the travel industry, which is why an organisation like TAAI (founded in 1951) has managed to stay relevant.
How TAAI is keeping up with the times
The digital platform has become an important avenue where organisations can make themselves more prominent. “TAAI is working towards digitally empowering its members. We want to make a digital shift,” said Mr Desai. TAAI’s annual conventions have become sought after events that welcome international speakers and prominent faces from the industry. The last TAAI convention took place in China and witnessed over 500 people that were a part of multiple events and themed dinners at the convention.
In the future, TAAI hopes to expand its circle with more members joining in and continuing to move towards digital empowerment.
How travel and tourism has changed in the last 10 years
According to Amish, tourism has seen a major shift in the last decade. “The attitude of people towards travel has changed. They no longer want to check things off a bucket list, there is a growing need for immersive travel experiences.” He continues to elaborate on the fact that people are open to more cultural experiences in new destinations. “There’s also been a major spike in cruise tourism, adventure tourism and sports tourism,” adds Amish.
The impact of millennials on travel and tourism
The world is aware of how important millennials are to the travel industry. With an increasing spending power, alongside their curiosity for travel aided by social media, they are an important target market to look out for. However, travel agents and millennials don’t always get along too well. Amish says, “Millennials rely heavily on bookings online which often end up being more expensive. When you go through a travel agent, nearly all your costs are covered, right from your stay to the food you eat. Their dependence on online bookings, often causes them to shell out more money than expected when they travel abroad.”