Covid-19 has completely disrupted the Travel and Tourism Industry at both the national and international levels. With the worldwide lockdown and the heavy travel restrictions, the industry has lost not only domestic and international tourists but also local visitors. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International tourism has witnessed a loss of $1.3 trillion in 2020 while the Indian tourism industry saw a revenue loss of ₹1.25 trillion, as per the CARE Rating study.
The pandemic has impacted all divisions of the tourism industry such as inbound, outbound, corporate, MICE, adventure, and leisure and will continue to underperform for the next two quarters. Tourism will account for 9.9% of the country's GDP by the end of this decade with the help of Government initiatives.
The losses to the Indian Tourism Industry in 2020 have been huge but 2021 shows the revival of travel with the rise in vaccination. Significant changes were observed in traveling like more emphasis given to safety, cleanliness, and hygiene. The states that are getting the maximum tourists are Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Goa, and Kerala.
Also Read: List of Top Travel Startups in India (2021)
Post-Covid scenario in the Travel Industry
Ever since the Covid-19 Pandemic had arrived, the tourism industry started evolving and changing ways in order to suit the needs of travelers. With the reduction in Covid cases in India, the Central and State Governments of the respective states have issued many standards and basic operating procedures in order to resume services. Major protocols are being taken as the security scan at the entrances of various locations like hotels and airlines involving thermal screening and sanitization and the staff is even extra cautious than before.
Many countries around the world are catching up with innovative solutions and activities to boost their country’s travel industry. Some of them include safe travel bubbles, SG Clean, Qatar Clean initiatives. Many travel agencies are now providing incentives, offers, and discounts to get people to travel. Understanding the solutions and practices being followed in different countries will help India in implementing the right strategies for the survival and revival of its tourism industry.
Many services have turned contactless and are following all major protocols of safety and social distancing. Simpler activities like live cooking, disposable cutlery, online food delivery services, and digital menus aids in the growth of the industry. The hotel, restaurants and resorts are following strict SOPs for Covid-19 to create a protective environment. The government is also providing relaxation against free loans, provident fund relief, and GST.
The Growth of Domestic Tourism
The relaxation in the lockdown along with the gradual lifting of travel restrictions shows constant opening and closing of travel make tourists feel uncomfortable to travel internationally. But 2021 saw an increase in domestic tourism, while foreign tourism is expected to remain low until the situation improves. One of the main reasons for the future boom in the domestic sector is that travelers in 2021 prefer to explore their own country and go on short weekend trips.
Hence, increases the sightseeing of remote destinations and helps the locals to get their livelihood back. This, in turn, boosts the local economy, creates more jobs, and helps the hotels and restaurants of the region, promotes local art handicrafts and culture. With more importance given to safety and social distancing, tourists think that it is safer to travel shorter distances than compared to the longer ones. This is why many people are opting for short road trips to unknown destinations with less crowd.
The domestic vacation is now on top of the traveler's bucket list for 2021. Just the first week of January 2021 saw 70% of users booking for future domestic trips on Tripadvisor. In the US, over 74% of travelers preferred to go on an overnight domestic leisure trip in 2021, and over 34% are planning domestic trips, which is quite high as compared to other countries like Australia (31%) and UK (24%).
So let's take a look at the 2021 travel industry's trends that are likely to show up in the future.
Travel Industry Trends in 2021
Workation Trips to Increase
Work plus vacation or business plus travel is not a new concept that has arrived in 2021. But the business travelers are said to be rising in 2021 because many companies are opting to work from anywhere culture. This is why they have come up with brilliant travel plans that will help employees work along with leisure. Employees also have the option to bring their family members. The concept of business travel is getting popular as people have started to realize that all people need is electricity and a good internet connection to work.
Road Trips are the New Trend
With many restrictions and travel bans, people have started opting for short road trips. Many tourists have started avoiding public transport like buses, trains or even airlines. Instead, they plan to go on road trips in their own vehicles or rent a car, as it is a safer option. Road trips are popular among tourists of all age groups and families. In addition to that, it reduces the travel expenses and vast options of destination to choose from.
Promotion of Sustainable/Eco-Friendly Tourism
The pandemic has made people realize the importance of implementing sustainable ways of traveling. The tourist now is looking out for eco-tourism to get in touch with nature. In 2021, tourist focuses on responsible travel to remote locations or natural areas in order to experience the local culture and contribute towards the sustainable growth of environment. Tourists have become more conscious nowadays and are accepting more eco-friendly methods to reduce their carbon footprint.
Research Before Travel
Travelers are keen on researching more before making any travel plans. With Covid-19, it’s no surprise that people are more conscious to travel. According to a survey, more than 74% of the global tourist population say that they will spend more time researching everything about their destination. People are spending more time in reading reviews or checking for better accommodations before planning any itinerary.
Post-vaccinations Impact on Travel
With the rise in vaccination drive, the travel industry has started blooming. People have started planning their trips as they're excited to finally be able to travel carefree. The new travel protocols, however, will include compliances for travelers including Immunity passports for tourists to provide proof that the tourists are vaccinated for the virus. More than 77% of global travelers likely to agree to travel internationally only after getting vaccinated.
Solo Travel is the Way
Solo travel or even backpacking has grown exponentially with the pandemic. Co-living is also another new trend related to solo traveling. It is when solo travelers are looking to save money and time by getting out of their comfort zone and meeting other solo travelers while traveling. Solo travelers involves themselves in activities that includes social distancing.
Safety and Cleanliness are the Priority
Safety and cleanliness have become priority for travelers across the globe since Covid. And the travel industry is already implementing major guidelines and protocols including PCR tests on arrival, mandatory masks, sanitation, and frequent cleaning in different sectors like hotels, airports, restaurants, etc. to provide a safe environment.
Recommendation to get Travel Industry on Track
Many experts in the field have given their recommendations on how to get the industry back on track. Some of them include:
- Airlines, hotels, restaurants, and other tourist operators can adopt greener and eco-friendly solutions in order to increase their business while being sustainable.
- The industry must encourage renewable energy and green project to help the environment.
- The government must try helping the industry with interest-free loans for up to 5 years which makes it sustainable.
- Implement compulsory masks everywhere and basic social distancing laws and regulations.
- Promote lesser-known tourist destinations of India.
- Make it easier for the tourist sectors to get licenses, permits, and renewal.
- Reduction of GST rates in the travel and hospitality sector.
FAQs on Travel & Tourism Industry
What are the top travel industry trends in 2021?
The top travel industry trends in 2021 are:
- Workation Trips to Increase
- Road Trips are the New Trend
- Promotion of Sustainable/Eco-Friendly Tourism
- Research Before Travel
- Post-vaccinations Impact on Travel
- Solo Travel is the Way
- Safety and Cleanliness are the Priority
Which one sector is going to see a rise in tourism in 2021?
2020 has completely disrupted the travel industry but 2021 is showing the revival of travel. The tourism sector will be very different than what it was before. The domestic sector is witnessing a surge as people are avoiding foreign travel and the situation is going to remain the same till the pandemic is over.
What are the SOPs followed by the tourism industry in India?
The SOPs followed by the tourism industry in India are security scans at the entrances of various locations like hotels and airlines involving thermal screening, wearing masks, sanitization, and social distancing.
What is the fastest-growing trend in the travel industry?
Eco-friendly/Sustainable tourism is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry.
Is the travel industry growing?
The travel industry will slowly and gradually see a surge in the traveler once the pandemic is over. Currently, domestic tourism is growing at a slower pace. The reason being, people are feeling bored to remain at one place and therefore planning short trips.