With the second wave of infections, tourism has seen several cancellations. Is the trade prepared? TRAVTALK finds out.
Himmat Anand, Founder, Tree of Life Resorts
It is my belief that opportunities do not come your way – they have to be created – and given the present re-emergence of COVID, we really have just two options. One is to go back to webinars, give discourses on the future which no one is sure about. The other is to have confidence in yourself and your organisation, and move ahead cautiously, exploring all possibilities.
Sanjar Imam, Founder Director, Panache World
We cannot let fear freeze the sector, not for a second time. Unlike last time, the dip in infection rate this time around would also coincide with vaccinations, which are underway. That makes the present situation not as grim as 2020. There are thousands of entrepreneurs and travel businesses that set shop in the last few years and focused only on outbound tourism. They did not know differently; outbound is what thrived over the past couple of decades. They now need to keenly look inwards and educate themselves on what India has to offer as a destination. This opportunity should not be relegated as a short-term solution but more a developing trend.
Harmandeep Singh Anand, Managing Director, Jagsons Travels
Certainly, the tourism industry will not come to a standstill like last year. Currently, there are no restrictions on aviation so domestic tourism is going to continue, but scheduled tours are getting cancelled. It has become essential for the trade to adapt to the situation and adopt technology. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of people who have not accepted the use of technology. This is a big drawback and tour operators are still not fully-equipped to work from home, which makes them underprepared to face another lockdown. Everyone in the trade should come forward and get vaccinated, and be prepared to face the worst.
Mahendra Vakharia, MD, Pathfinders Holidays
Honestly, things were looking positive in February and it was expected that the summer season will be good, but rise in cases has come as a roadblock. The experience of last one year will be very useful to face the times now; we had no idea then of what was happening and how long it was to last, but now we are wiser, more aware and better prepared to face the situation. For some time now, we might face this start-again, stop-again situation but it will be good if our industry is mindful of it and is prepared. My suggestion is, take care of your client, keep communication going, keep a close watch on the situation and focus on SMS –‘S’anitising, ‘M’asks and ‘S’ocial distancing.
Homa Mistry, CEO, Trail Blazer Tours India
Last one year or so, we utilised the time productively by doing things we had not done for a long time. We were able to enhance our skills on technology and data. All these measures will help us in the future when inbound tourism starts again in the country. I would say yes, we are prepared, absolutely! If we are not prepared now, I don’t know when we will be prepared. We are ready, whenever inbound business comes, we are prepared. My belief is, whatever ups and down we face due to the second wave of COVID infections, October 2021 is the time travellers will be ready to travel to India and the route to normalcy will commence.
Inputs by Manas Dwivedi