With India opening up after the lockdown, the more intrepid travellers are beginning to venture out, while others are searching and booking. “People have started driving to hills, where Covid cases have been low, and to beaches with open spaces. As they are working from home, they don’t need to take leave and can continue to work while on vacation,” says Manmeet Ahluwalia, Head, Marketing, Expedia, India.
Till unfettered foreign travel returns, bringing with it large-scale exhibitions and conferences and group trips, it is domestic travel, particularly the leisure traveller, that the beleaguered tourism industry is pinning its hopes on.
Travellers are queuing up to book top-end hotels and homestays at drive-down destinations to ring in the New Year after quite a few states re-imposed night curfew in major cities in the wake of an expected spike in Covid-19 cases following the discovery of a highly infectious mutant strain of the virus.
Indonesia is the leading tourist destination of Southeast Asia and Bali is on the top of the list for most tourists visiting the country. While there are many attractions in Bali from adventure to leisure to spiritual, the traditional healers in Bali have also been silently but significantly contributing to the industry as they are a big draw among tourists.
To own a private vehicle of your own that can easily accommodate your entire family has been need-of-the-hour for many in the lockdown and post lockdown phase. Bigger the vehicle, better it has been in terms of comfort and privacy. This reality paved the way for 'Private Mobility' on road trip vacations. Many people could bypass quarantine guidelines by travelling from their homes directly to the destination in their own private vehicle. Travellers also feel safer in their own vehicles and as a result, drive-in or drive-to destinations by road gained popularity.
Although the black swan event shook the very foundation of this vibrant and bustling sector, the players are putting up a brave front, optimistic to regain the "lost vibrancy in the latter half of 2021" and are banking on 'revenge travel' once the health crisis is controlled to help the sector recover.
"We are planning to make a hill city, more attractive than Davos on the picturesque high-altitude 18 km terrain between Zojila tunnel and Z-Morh tunnel...The world-class project will change the dynamics of both Ladakh and J&K territories and create huge employment," Union Minister Gadkari said.
"Future of travel and tourism is definitely bright. It is an industry which is going to thrive, the question is how do we build the bridge between now and the next 18 to 24 months, which is the post-vaccine era," Indian Hotels Company MD and CEO Puneet Chhatwal saidsaid.
“Post Covid, we have an opportunity to promote Yoga, Ayurveda.. the board members have also recommended that we should have separate hubs for Ayurveda and Allopathy, so that tourists are clear about their choices," Prahlad Patel said.