Domestic tourism is said to be the backbone of the tourism industry. However, stakeholders feel that challenges like demonetisation, GST, lack of infrastructure, connectivity and advent of OTAs have stalled growth.
SIMRANJEET S. ARORA
Deepak Khanna, Chief Operating Officer Travel Boutique Online
Challenges in domestic tourism are short-term like GST and demonetisation. The tourism and hospitality industry is gradually coming to terms with the changes and adapting them for the better. We are well aware that domestic tourism is very high, in a double digit growth but this growth has not translated into the growth of our GDP, which is still in single digits. I can see that in another two years’ time, domestic tourism will be able to contribute majorly to the growth of GDP and take it higher once the challenges wear off.
Debjit Dutta Chairman—West Bengal and North East Chapter, ADTO
Lack of innovation remains a major challenge for domestic tourism in India. It is more important to be an innovator than be a mere seller of a product. We, as an industry, need to identify the right market for our products else the tour operators may not be able to grow their business. Also, as travel agents, we are intermediaries in the trade who can bridge the information gap. The challenges can be overcome only if travel agents understand the imminent change in demand and adapt to it.
Nasir Shah Director, Culture & Nature Expeditions, Tours and travels
Post demonetisation, the spending capacity of individuals has gone down. Also, as far as tourism in Kashmir is concerned, we are trying hard to revive the industry. However, the media portrayal of Kashmir is a hindrance to the growth of tourism industry at the destination. Often, when a negative sentiment is created about the destination, it is important for the media to be more responsible regarding the effects of their content.
Vijay Mohan Member, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority, Government of Andhra Pradesh
The MICE industry has been posing a big challenge in terms of pricing. When the Indian MICE segment is compared with foreign countries, it is seen that abroad, the facilities are offered at a much cheaper price in terms of room rates and even the domestic air fares are less for a big group booking of say 100 pax. If we have to grow the industry, a workable system has to be created where hotels can look into their price patterns for MICE domestically.
Neetish Gupta, Director, Sparrow Wing Travels
The biggest challenge for domestic tourism is the advent of online bookings. Most of the online portals offering products on the internet buy the components of a package at a certain rate and then manage to sell the package at a cost below their purchase cost. This has impacted the travel agents negatively. To add, road connectivity is another issue where major highways connecting states still need to be maintained.
Hemal Solanki Bhagwat, Director, Weddings by Mercury
The main challenge for domestic destination wedding segment is to find sufficient local support so that wedding planners can deliver the promised to their clients. The most important element of local support is infrastructure for a destination wedding. Considering this, most of the domestic destination weddings are only possible at destinations like Goa, Kerala and Rajasthan. It is very important for the Tourism Ministry along with the state governments to develop adequate infrastructure and make way for other destinations like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
Raman Tulli, Managing Director, Parfait Hospitality
Currently, the tour operators are faced with the challenge of GST. This has posed a compacted format for operators of certain tourism segments. Also, the mushrooming of online travel agents has become a problem for the traditional ones. With the internet, the reach to the consumers has become easy and direct. The discount offers by OTAs pose a challenge to traditional agents’ business