How to make lean period pay

The tourism and hospitality industry of India believes that in order to beat the lean season of May-July and pitch the country as a year-round destination globally, the industry needs to join forces that would counter the existing challenges, consolidate the various tourism products and target newer source markets.

ANKITA SAXENA

Kapil Goswamy Managing Director Trans India Holidays
Promoting lean season in India has been a challenge for a while. We have been trying to promote summerbased tourism circuits, with itineraries covering Amritsar, Dharamshala, Srinagar, which are cooler places, but unfortunately, tourists visiting India are still stuck to the usual Delhi-AgraJaipur circuit, which does not perform well in summers. We need to market our alternative tourism products better to get more tourists during summers. Also, a good strategy would be to promote the fact that though it is hot in India for popular itineraries, the destination offers value for money

Vikas Abbott Managing Director Vasco Travel, India Travel Award winner
India has been perceived as a hot destination and the best we have are the mountains in the Himalayas that can be marketed as tourism products during the summer months in India. A large number of tourists visit Nepal for trekking and other activities while we do not get a fraction of that number as we have not marketed ourselves well. Also, it is a good idea to promote alternative tourism products during lean seasons like adventure tourism and even MICE which can generate revenue throughout the year. The government should lay emphasis on better promotion and also establish India as a safe destination. Any price benefit or incentive can be useful in getting more tourists during lean seasons.

Abhishek Jain Director Senkay Travel With Difference
May, June and July are considered as lean months for inbound travel to India but I feel this is defined only in the context of the countries from where we are targeting tourists. If we look at newer markets and understand that these are busy travelling months for travellers from various other countries, especially the SAARC nations, then we can target these tourists during our lean season. When the European and U.S. markets are not travelling during the above-mentioned months, then looking at other source markets is a good strategy to have year-round tourism.

Sanjeev Ticku Vice President-Inbound Tours, Yatra Exotic Routes
The summer trap has been debated over the years with no concrete action to address the lean season. We have been promoting SeptemberOctober through to April as the best time to travel to India and until we as an industry do not change the mindset that India is a 365-day destination, it will be difficult to increase footfalls. We have to open up newer source markets and move beyond the primary source markets like the UK, USA and Europe. So many European travellers undertake travel during summers and we have to focus on the high points of India, consolidate them and sell them even if it takes to go an extra mile. We also need to open up to international media so that India is known across the world as a year-round destination.

Ravinder Kumar Director Indian Legends Holidays
Unfortunately, negative publicity is rampant in our industry and we, the travel agents, hotels and DMCs, need to focus on qualitative additions to our offerings rather than marketing three months as lean season. Sightseeing can be done early morning or late in the evening, and during the day, various activities can be organised to keep the clients engaged. The major issue is that the industry is not united on this front and any marketing campaign needs 8-9 months to show results. We need to target travellers across the globe who travel during the summer season and can come to India. Also, all travel shows should be held during the lean period in India as this is the time we need business, unlike during the winter months when we have to refuse foreign business as we are already booked during that time.

Ashwani Goela *General Manager, Jaipur, Tonk Road, India Travel Award winner
I believe that as a country and as a tourist destination, we need to have several programmes in place which specifically target attracting foreign tourists who travel during the summer months. There is a need to understand what other global destinations offer and maybe create recreational zones like amusement parks, water parks and upscale infrastructure in order to diversify our tourism product portfolio. This I think is the only way we can counter the lean season in inbound tourism.

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