India aced the vaccination drive, and now the resumption of flights and introduction of e-visas have made India a hot destination for travellers, says Arshdeep Anand, Chairperson, ATOAI Women’s Collective. She expresss hope that the country will reach the pre-pandemic levels by 2024, if the emerging variants are kept under control.
There has been a surge in demand for travel after the resumption of flights, although the fares remain high. Holiday plans are already in motion for the upcoming summer season. Short to mid-haul destinations are being favoured, but people remain cautious while booking fully-refundable tickets.
“As a result of withdrawal of TCS on sales of overseas tour packages to foreign tourists, the Indian travel industry would have had to charge higher rates for the same package being offered by FTOs, which would have led to unnecessary competition and lost revenue,” said Arshdeep Anand, Chairperson, ATOAI Women’s Collective.
She further added, “India aced the vaccination drive, and now the resumption of flights and introduction of e-visas have made India a hot destination for travellers. Meeting family is the number one trend after improvement COVID situation. But the visit to family is supplemented with some experiential travel. Himalayas are beckoning again and foreigners are returning to trek and scale the peaks. The recent visit from the New Zealand Alpine Team for an expedition to Changabang in Uttarakhand is a sign of confidence for travellers as well as operators.”
Commenting on when will India Tourism reach the pre-pandemic levels, she said, “India is expected to reach the pre-pandemic levels by 2024, if we can keep the emerging variants under control. Indians are known for their resilience and enterprising nature.”
From an operator’s perspective, the most important thing an person can do is to stay updated with the changing dynamics of travel as COVID guidelines keep changing frequently. It is recommended to ensure every traveller is updated on COVID-19 vaccination and testing before departure, as every country/ airline has different requirements. All requirements and recommendations at each location during travel should be followed, including wearing a mask and following recommendations for protecting yourself and others as a norm will continue. The concept of vaccine passports has gained significant traction among policymakers. The EU Commission has already proposed a “digital green pass” for travel in Europe and the US government is eyeing a similar approach, Anand said.