Recently, Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism addressed a session on ‘Future of Travel, Hospitality and Tourism Industry and The Way Forward’.
Organised by FICCI, Brar mentioned that while international tourism will take time to revive, the main focus is to boost domestic tourism.
Brar added that post COVID-19, there will be a demand shift in the kind of products that travellers will look for. To address the same, organised efforts from all stakeholders will be required.
“This is an opportunity to leverage a side of the business that was growing. People have been travelling out of India. But it is time for us to evaluate ourselves and put India first by promoting India as the unique destination for wellness, Ayurveda, yoga, pilgrimage as well as adventure. Apart from this, travellers would require reassurance about health and safety standards during travel and stay. This in turn would require a healthy combination of outreach and innovation as they adjust to the new normal,” said Brar.
“As a sector, we have witnessed massive developments at airports, road networks, hospitality units, boutique resorts, and homestays. We must look into the supply side of the options we have. This can tickle the demand of the domestic traveller,” Brar further added.
A comprehensive tourism recovery plan is needed for promoting domestic tourism at the local level. Also, there has to be a connect between what is offered to the guest and what they receive.
Furthermore, Brar mentioned that the slow easing of international travel restrictions in future will result in immense competition as countries will target the same markets. Hence, to tackle this, an aggressive strategy needs to be in place. This strategy has to focus on the intense use of technology, showcasing India as a safe destination.
Recovery of the tourism industry will happen by the end of next year or early 2022
Suman Billa, Director, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)Technical Cooperation & Silk Road Development said, “There is low consumer confidence. Banks are becoming extremely cautious in rolling out loans to the tourism sector. However, we are witnessing consolidation in businesses that will accelerate as we move forward.”
“Consumer preferences are changing rapidly. We need to look at domestic demands being the strong pillar for the recovery of the economic sector. We also need to take up policy decisions with the government to revive the tourism industry,” added Billa.
Innovation is key to recovery
“Innovation promises to be the biggest opportunity for the travel and tourism industry. New methods of innovation will help us sail out of this pandemic,” said Professor Chekitan S Dev, Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business School of Hotel Administration.
Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee and Managing Director, Sita, TCI & Distant Frontiers said, “Every company in the hospitality and travel sector is trying to reimagine how to draw in customers. At the same time, they’re working on innovative ways to bring in guests. Liquidity is an issue and consolidation will take place gradually with an interesting phase ahead of us.”
The webinar also featured an engaging session with FICCI Tourism Committee Members. These included Rakesh Bansal, CEO, Amadeus India, a Bird Group Company; Siddhartha Dasgupta, President, Corporate Affairs, OYO Rooms and Prateek Hira, President & CEO, Tornos Destinations (I) Pvt Ltd.
Also Read: The Rise of Rural Tourism with COVID-19