Travel and Tourism was a booming industry in the pre-Covid years and there were several factors which encouraged people to travel. But when the pandemic hit, the Travel and Tourism Industry was probably the hardest hit and even after 22 months the industry has not been able to recover.
Vaccination drives have started in many countries which is definitely a positive sign, but the battle is not yet won. The trend so far is that the virus has mutated over time and many new variants have been detected around the world. With the ease in travel restrictions from time to time these variants have also spread alarmingly. India was worst hit during the second wave and the battle was definitely not an easy one.
India has since been in the red list of many countries banning flights to and from. Generally also, many international borders are still sealed and many with limited flight operations. However, as of September around 50 International destinations have opened up for Indian travel bugs according to Outlook India, which again is subjected to change depending on the pandemic situation and emergency. But the good news is that India has officially administered over 74 crore Covid vaccine till date with an 80% of positive response.
The desire to travel was always there and with the fresh ease in travel restrictions many have already started visiting some beautiful travel locations abroad and within the country as well. And based on the current scene regarding hotel booking and destination choice by travelers, it is the need of the hour to adopt new advanced strategies by the concerned agencies, hotels and the likes to adapt to the ever-changing travel trends.
1. Health and Hygiene is the prime concern for everyone who is longing to travel after the restrictions have been eased. Travel enthusiasts doesn’t believe in shutting themselves away from all the thrill and fun, and therefore is extra careful in making travel plans with every minute detail taken into consideration. Keeping this in mind all related industries and agencies are giving weightage to consumer safety, health and hygiene. Many Airports have already introduced self check-in booths for travelers to ensure social distancing which should be continued in the long run too. Airlines also are following their own protocols to secure safe travel for passengers. Even resorts and hotels are adopting strenuous measures to offer clients the best of health and hygiene by proper sanitization and re-sanitization.
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2. Free cancelation and refund option should be made available for customers based on the sudden travel restrictions in this pandemic situation. There already are airlines, resorts and hotels with this facility and those who are too rigid should consider the need to change their policies soon.
3. High value is something people are willing to pay for the best of services. When travel has been limited with a lot of risk factors to it, consumers are expecting the very best, be it hospitality, food, or other services. Travel itself is rare with partial lockdown and flight restrictions, so whenever there is the chance people are not hesitant to book one even if it means staying isolated in an island enjoying all the luxury.
4. Health, Wellness and Spiritual tourism might be on demand. The current travel trend is more directed towards taking a healthy break with family in some place isolated, and soak in all the positivity to dispel the gloom that prevailed during the last two years. Of course there are the business and work related travelers, but the leisure travelers are looking for something that is healing and close to nature. So the hospitality sector should prioritize this aspect and curate their itinerary accordingly. Meditation clubs, Yoga classes, Spa and Aroma therapy, Nature trails, Book reading sessions, Fishing, Cycling, Kayaking and other outdoor activities are a few services that might attract travel enthusiasts.
5. Domestic tourism is gradually becoming more popular because of the travel bans. And moreover people are still being extra cautious in choosing their destination and planning their travel. Leh, Ladakh is the current trending destination in India and with so many other beautiful locations in the country this is the time to actively highlight the beauty of these destinations and boost domestic tourism.
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Assam and its advantages:
Taking into account all the above travel trends Assam is, undoubtedly, in a good position to attract tourists at this stage. This, of course, depends a lot on the tourism policies adopted by the State Govt. Location wise Assam is not lacking as we have a lot to boast about – Tea tourism, Wildlife tourism, River tourism, Culinary tourism and our culturally rich and ethnically diverse heritage. The promotion and advertisement as to how we should reach out to attract tourists is all that counts now. We have to identify our strengths and present it with the best marketing strategy, curate travel itinerary which is healing. Dima Hasao is definitely our strength with locations like Umrangso, Jatinga, Panimur, Haflong etc. People will definitely opt for curated travel given the situation now, and private agencies, hotel brands should come up with a wholesome but cleverly curated itinerary to please their customers. This is the best time to promote Assam Tourism and thereby overcome all pre-conceived notions people have regarding our State.