India on the path of recovery

Tourism in India is going to be different post-pandemic. People are scared to travel and their demands are different from before, say inbound operators and experts. On a positive note, they seek vaccination overdrive for the travelling public & chart out new itineraries and destination.

Janice Alyosius

Tourists coming to India are now looking for something different. Arjun Sharma, Chairman, Select Group, believes that starting January 1, tourism in India should recover and inbound tourism should also start slowly. However, he says, “It’s not going to be easy because we only have around 4-5 months of the season left, and it will be a slow start. The industry needs it and even a slow start is good, rather than a no start. It’s becoming more of an endemic than a pandemic and everyone is hoping that there is no third wave and things settle down. The numbers are decreasing. Hence, it’s a matter of time when things get better. Let’s hope this happens fast.”

Sanjeev Chopra, CEO, Aayan Journeys, also shared that early this year in March, they got some queries and even received bookings. “Due to the pandemic, the situation has worsened and most of the bookings got cancelled/ postponed. Now, we have started getting feelers from our agents that they want to operate and start the business. They’re looking for offbeat locations, which are less crowded and itineraries beyond regular tours,” he adds.

Besides, Navneet Arora, Director, Vinstring Holidays, requests that the Government has to guarantee and confirm that at least 70- 80% people have been double vaccinated, and only then we should talk about tourism to India. “Otherwise it’s a futile exercise, people are scared and will not come. We need to increase the pace of vaccination in India. Also, 31st March deadline for free visas is too soon. We haven’t started tourist visas yet. We are under 10-day or a 14-day quarantine system with UK, which is one of the major tourism generators for India. India has responded back by similar 10-day quarantine for them. Tourists used to come for 28 days around 20 years ago. However, now it’s almost three weeks, in which if they are going to be in quarantine for 10 days then it’s not worth it,” he claims.

Amit Chadha, Independent Tour Escort cum Guide, says that the new tourism is going to be different. “Tourism in India before COVID was about exploring popular places. Now, tourists are going to be scared in visiting such places. We used to load buses to full capacity, but now social distancing is mandatory. It’s going to be a different scenario and we have to prepare ourselves. India should be 70% vaccinated and prepared to follow proper protocols. Only then will tourists have the confidence,” he asserts.

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