The Travel and Tourism Industry was one of the most affected sectors internationally and in our country due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. With the lockdown around the world and the heavy travel restrictions being applied, the industry has lost not only International and domestic tourists but also local visitors. According to UNTWO’s study the International tourism is said to have lost $1.1 trillion in 2020. Whereas India’s tourism sector has also lost INR. 1.25 Crore, as per CARE study.
The consumption expenditure of Indian travelers was supposed to be $65 Billion in 2021. 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 to 9.9% of the country GDP by the end of this decade and with the help of Government initiatives there will be a growth to the tourism industry in India.
The losses to the Indian Tourism Industry in 2020 has been huge but with the relaxation of religious, cultural and social gatherings in December 2020, the sector has started to increase its pace and is said to be getting better with the help of domestic tourism. The first month of January now looks promising as many people from the third tier have started travelling domestically. One of the biggest change seen in traveling in the post Covid era is the importance given to safety, cleanliness and hygiene. The states that are getting the most tourists up till January 2021 are Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Goa and Kerala.
Post Covid scenario of the Tourism Industry
Ever since the Covid 19 Pandemic the tourism industry in our country has started evolving and changing ways in order to suit the needs to the travelers. With reduction of Covid cases in India, the Central and State Government of the respective states have already issued many standard and basic operating procedures in order to resume services. One of most important rules being followed is the security scan at the entrances of various locations like Hotels and airlines involving thermal screening and sanitization and the staff are even extra cautious than before.
Many countries around the world are coming up with innovative solutions and activities to help 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 and taking points from the solutions and practices being followed in different countries will help India in implementing right strategies in the survival and revival of our country's tourism industry.
Many services are now turning contactless and following all protocols of safety and social distancing as visitors be it local or international will expect that for assurance. Simpler activities like live cooking, disposable cutlery, online food delivery services and digital menus will only help grow the industry. The Hotel, Restaurants and resort will have to follow strict SOPs for Covid 19 to create a protective environment. The government should also help the industry by providing free loans, provident fund relief and GST exemption.
The Growth of Domestic Tourism
With the travel and airline restrictions, lockdowns and bans are being implemented resulting in constant opening and closing of travel which makes the tourist not feel comfortable in travelling internationally yet. Which is why the year 2021, will see the increase of domestic tourism, while foreign tourist are likely to remain less for a few months. 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.
This will increase the visibility of remote destinations and help the locals of the destinations in getting their livelihood back. This will in return boost the local economy, create more jobs, and help the hotels and restaurants of the region, promote local art handicrafts and culture. With more importance given to safety and social distancing, tourist think that it is safer to travel shorter distances than compared to the longer ones. Which is why many people are opting for short road trips and unknown destinations with less crowd.
The Domestic vacation are now top of the travelers bucket list for 2021, as 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 compared to other countries like Australia (31%) and UK (24%) is quite high.
The top travel trends in 2021
Workation Trips to Increase
The work plus vacation or business plus travel is not a new concept that has come about in 2021. But the business travelers are said to be rising in 2021 because many companies are opting to mix business with travelling when it comes to conferences and meetings. Which is why they have come up with brilliant travel plans that will help employees work along with leisure. They are also given options to bring along 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 still don't trust public transport like buses, trains or even airlines. Instead, they plan to go on road trips in their own vehicles or even rent cars as it is a safer option. Road trips are also popular among tourist of all age groups and families as it promotes social distancing. Plus there is an added advantage of reducing the travel expenses and vast option of destination to choose from.
Promotion of Sustainable or Eco-Friendly Tourism
The pandemic has made many people realize the importance of implementing sustainable ways of travelling. The tourist now are looking out for eco-tourism to get in touch with nature. In 2021, tourist will want to travel to remote and unknown destinations or locations, experience the local culture and be responsible while travelling. Tourist of all ages are more conscious of the impact that they have while travelling and are accepting more eco-friendly methods to reduce their carbon footprint.
Importance given to Researching before Travelling
Travelers are keen on researching more before planning their trips. With Covid 19 Pandemic it’s no surprise that people are more conscious before travelling to places. According to a survey done more than 74% of the global tourist population say that they will spend more time researching everything about their destination. People are now prone to reading more reviews, checking for better accommodations for safety reasons.
Vaccinations to bring about a Change in the Industry
With the start of distribution of vaccines, the tourist are said to be getting more confident in travelling. The vaccination will be a huge relief for the industry as more people will start planning their trips after they are vaccinated. Many people are excited as they will finally be able to travel carefree. The new travel protocols however, will include compliances for travelers including Immunity passport for tourist to provide a proof that the tourists are vaccinated for the virus. More than 77% of global travelers will likely agree to travelling internationally only after getting vaccinated.
Solo Travelling is the Way
Solo travelling or even backpacking is not a new trend but has grown exponentially with the pandemic. Solo travelling allows people to be responsible and is makes it easier to maintain social distance. Co- living is another new trend related to solo travelling. 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 travelling.
Safety and Cleanliness are the Priority
Because of the pandemic tourist expect every aspect of the industry to provide basic measures of safety and cleanliness. The industry is already implementing PCR tests on arrival, mandatory masks, sanitation and frequent cleaning in different sectors like hotels, airports, restaurants, etc to provide a safe environment.
Many experts of the field have given their suggestions on how to get the industry back on track. Some of them include:
- The Airlines, Hotel, Restaurants, and other tourist operators can adopt greener and Eco-friendly solutions in order to increase their business while being sustainable.
- The industry must also encourage renewable energy and green project to help environment.
- The government must try helping the industry with interest free loans for up to 5 years which make it sustainable.
- Implement compulsory masks everywhere and basic social distancing laws and regulation.
- Promote lesser known tourist destination of India
- Make it easier for the tourist sectors to get licenses, permits and renewal.
- Reduction of GST rates on the travel and hospitality sector.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
What are the travel trend of 2021?
- Solo travelling
- Road trips
- Safety and cleanliness are the priority
- Vaccinations to help industry
- Importance given to researching
- sustainable or eco-friendly tourism
What is one sector that will see a rise in tourism in 2021?
The Domestic travel sector will see a rise in 2021.
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.