India has significant tourism potential with a rich cultural and historical heritage, diversity in ecology and terrain, and areas of natural beauty spread across the country. In addition to creating employment, tourism contributes significantly to the country’s economy in the form of foreign exchange.
In both the domestic and international travel and tourism industries, Covid-19 has disrupted the industry completely.
The tours and travel industry has suffered a loss of domestic and international, as well as local visitors due to the worldwide lockdown and heavy travel restrictions. Tourism around the world suffered a $1.3 trillion loss in revenue in 2020, while India lost $1.25 trillion in revenue.
Government initiatives will contribute to tourism contributing 9.9% to the GDP by the end of this decade. Travel is expected to revive in 2021 with the rise in vaccinations following huge losses in 2020. While traveling, several changes have been observed, including greater emphasis placed on safety, cleanliness, and hygiene. Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Goa, and Kerala are the states with the most tourists.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the industry has naturally begun to adapt to travelers’ needs. In response to the reduction in cases of Covid in India, the Central and State Governments of the respective states have issued many standards and operating procedures to help resume services. At the entrances of various locations, such as hotels and airlines, the security check requires thermal scanning and sanitization, and the staff is observant than before.
The travel industry in many countries around the world is catching up with innovative solutions and activities. In addition, there are safe travel bubbles, SG Cleans, and Qatar Cleans. Several travel agencies offer incentives, discounts, and offers to encourage travelers. A better understanding of the solutions and practices which are being followed in other countries can help India implement the right strategies to sustain and revive its tourism industry.
Government & State Government Initiatives
Contactless payments have made many services safe and convenient. All protocols are followed. Food delivery services, digital menus, and live cooking, among others, contribute to the growth of the industry. India plans on boosting the travel industry by taking advantage of lighthouses in the country. Tourist spots can be developed at 71 lighthouses. An all-India tourist vehicle operator can submit an application online for All India Tourist Authorisation/Permit under a new scheme launched by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The Government of India’s Regional Office (East) in Kolkata organized in February 2021 an Incredible India Mega Homestay Development & Training Workshop in collaboration with the Eastern Himalayas Travel & Tour Operator Association (resource partner) and IIAS School of Management (knowledge partner). Over 725 homestay owners have been trained in marketing, sales, and behavioral skills during the last two years. On January 25, 2021, the Minister of Tourism and Culture announced plans to develop world-class infrastructure for adventure tourism in Kargil (Ladakh).
Bharat Darshan trains are operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to take pilgrims to various pilgrimage sites across the country. In November 2020, Mr. Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister of State (IC) for Tourism and Culture, inaugurated the “Tourist Facilitation Centre” facility (as part of the PRASHAD scheme of the Ministry of Tourism). The Department of Tourism will likely promote India as an adventure tourism destination through the upcoming DekhoApnaDesh webinar series on November 28, 2020.
Mr. Uddhav Thackeray, the Maharashtra Chief Minister, inaugurated Balasaheb Thackeray Gorewada International Zoo in Nagpur on January 26, 2021. Over its 564 hectares, it is India’s largest zoological park and is expected to attract 2 million visitors annually. With the launch of the Dekho Apna Desh webinar series, the Ministry of Tourism provides information on many destinations as well as the depth and breadth of culture and heritage in India.
The “Statue of Unity” dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was unveiled in October 2018. With a height of 182 meters, it is the world’s highest-standing statue. This will boost the country’s tourism sector as it is certain to attract visitors worldwide.
A mega tourism plan for Tamil Nadu will be implemented in July 2021, including lighting arrangements for the Thiruvalluvar Statue at Kanyakumari, renovations at Poompuhar tourist spot, and improved roads leading to tourist spots, spiritual places, and adventure tourism destinations.
The plan also includes announcing a new tourism policy, building more hotels, resorts, and convention centers, and increasing the contribution of the private and public sectors to the tourism industry. According to the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Trade Registration and Facilitation Guidelines 2020, the state’s tourism sector stakeholders are encouraged to register with Andhra Pradesh Tourism. The state government of Odisha announced in June 2021 that it would provide a financial package to help the state’s tourism industry recover from COVID.
Travel Industry Trends In 2021
- Promotion of Sustainable/Eco-Friendly Tourism: To gain a closer connection to nature, tourists are opting for eco-tourism. To experience the local culture and help preserve the environment, tourists will focus on responsible travel in 2021 in remote locations and natural areas.
- Solo Travel is the Way: The number of solo travelers and backpackers has grown exponentially since the pandemic began. Co-living is also a new trend in solo travel. Individuals who travel alone engage in socially distancing activities.
- Research Before Travel: Covid-19 has made people more aware of traveling. An international survey found that 74% of tourists plan to spend more time researching their destination.
- Post-vaccinations Impact: Global travelers are more likely to agree to travel abroad only after getting vaccinated than 77% of all travelers.
- Road Trips: Among tourists of all ages and family groups, road trips are popular. This option also saves travelers money and gives them a huge variety of options for destinations.
- Workation Trips to Increase: In 2021, business travel and vacation haven’t become a new concept. Many companies are making the shift to work from anywhere, which is said to raise the number of business travelers in 2021. More and more people are realizing they only need electricity and high-speed internet to get things done.