Some of the world’s most popular destinations that usually bustle with chatters of tourists, lie eerily empty. Thanks to the global Covid-19 outbreak. But all these for how long? Once the situation normalizes, what is there on the other side of the tunnel for the Indian travel industry?
Movement is critically restricted, thanks to the staggering spread of the virus. But experts are reportedly optimistic that the travel industry will rebound, as it has from the past crises, like the 9/11 disaster and other epidemics.
A survey conducted by Luggage Hero revealed 57% of their respondents remain hopeful to resume their travel plans starting from May 2020, if their destination is not under quarantine. On the contrary, a meager 7% has already canceled their travel plans for the May-September season.
Twenty-nine percent reported they’ll avoid using public transportation in big cities as a safety bait. Another 18 percent reported plans to travel within the country, as an observational measure for the risks.
“(Travellers) they’ll need to see actual physical changes”
Cruise ships quarantined, thanks to Covid-19 outbreaks inside them. Airlines struggling to park planes owing to an international travel ban. Public panic for lack of hygiene, since the disease spread via contamination. And there are other areas of traveling that are affected and stand obscure as of how it’ll resume.
One of the highlights, analysts feel, is the need for actual improvements in the travel industry that will act as a launcher for tourists into the game. A steep drop in prices is what they reportedly feel will need to get things moving.
“People haven’t changed in that they still want to go places,” says research head in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality and professor of economics at the Bournemouth University, UK- Adam Blake. “But they’re going to necessarily be a lot more cautious about what they do.”
Experts have also chalked out some possible outcomes of the resurfacing travel industry after public health improves. They include:
– The drop in airline, cruise and hotel rates; lesser passenger concentration
Experts predict a drop in reservation prices will lead to bookings in cruise and airlines. Emptier planes, in the case of airlines, will make passengers more comfortable.
Some airlines have already reported in doing away with middle seat assignment and beverage onboard to reduce chances of contamination. Cruises too will attract more passengers with cheaper tickets alongside ensuring lesser passenger concentration.
Hotel rates will drop. Senior vice president of Lodging Insights for hospitality analysis firm STR, Jan Freitag told CNN there has been a decline of 30% in hotel rates in the week ending March 21st in the US.
– Obsession With Cleanliness in the travel industry
Experts predict tourist receiving outlets like hotels, cruises, and so on will need to show stringent cleanliness protocols to comfort tourists.
Reputation for standard cleaning measures is believed to give hotels edge over vacation rentals like Airbnb for a short run.
– Airlines will continue to keep bookings flexible for the time being
According to experts, airlines will continue to sustain their relaxed booking and cancellation policies for some time, like the waivers and flexible rebookings that we’re extended after he outbreaks spread. But with 2021 approaching, things will start to get normal.
– Business travel needs will fuel-air travel
Furthermore, the need to communicate in-person for business needs, after a prolonged gap will fuel the air travel industry. Although the virtual meetings did the job just fine, nothing can beat the comfort of in-person conversation.
The World Travel and Tourism Council managing director Virginia Messina predicts that it would need 10 months for the pandemic-stuck travel industry to return to it’s “normal levels,” World Economic Forum reports.
India’s Travel Industry Post Pandemic
Like the whole world, India’s travel industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors in the country. Billions of rupees of losses have been predicted thanks to constraints of cash flow.
According to a KMPG report, the Indian Association of Travel Operators (IATO) predicts the country’s travel, hotel, and the aviation sector can bear a potential loss of INR85 billion from travel restrictions on foreign tourists.
Similarly, on account of COVID-19, the Indian travel and hospitality industry is looking at a potential job loss of 70 percent of the total workforce, amounting to INR38 million.
Nonetheless, with the support of the Government, stakeholders of the industry remain optimistic. Travel industry natives, including the Ministry of Tourism, are speculating short-haul domestic and international tours (especially domestic) will be the first preferred by tourists after the situation starts to become normal.
Reports suggest the Indian travel industry in lockdown is ramping up to meet the demand of the post-pandemic situations, by attending travel-related webinars, envisioning future travel patterns, apart from bracing each other in this time of crisis.
What is your take on traveling after the Pandemic’s effect starts to loosen? Where will you consider traveling first, if you have to? Let us know in the comments.