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FUTURE SHOCK: 25 Travel & Tourism Trends Post COVID – 19

In 2019, India attracted 10.5 million foreign visitors; 5 million NRIs travelled back home to be with family and friends; 1.8 billion Indians travelled within the country for holidays, pleasure and leisure; 26 million Indians travelled overseas for tourism…. India has an estimated 53,000 travel agents, 115,000 tour operators, 15,000 adventure companies, 911,000 tourist transporters, 53,000 hospitality companies and five lakh restaurants … the industry employs an estimated 3.8 crore people. And these statistics do not include numbers for aviation and starred hotels which are not in the medium & small enterprises count.

Let us look at 25 possible trends in the near future, each important in its own way:

  1. Country borders may not be open to all for some time.
  2. Some geographies may become no-no for a while.
  3. Business travel will decrease significantly.
  4. MICE market will go into coma for a while.
  5. Mega events will become less attractive.
  6. Group travel will shrink.
  7. Leisure travel too will dwindle for some time.
  8. Lesser number of students may travel overseas to study.
  9. Religious tourism will drop.
  10. ‘Mature’ travelers, read retirees, will be most drastically impacted.
  11. Tourism may look inwards, be more domestic directed.
  12. Destination weddings may suffer a serious setback.
  13. School trips will dry up.
  14. Nature will triumph.
  15. Air travel will become more expensive.
  16. Airports will be less crowded.
  17. Luxury hotels may come cheaper.
  18. Cruises may be shunned for a while.
  19. Road-trips may find greater favour.
  20. ‘Hometown’ tripping will a big segment.
  21. Food & Beverage consumption will be impacted.
  22. ‘Adventure’ in food & travel may take a nosedive.
  23. Experiences will prevail over the physical.
  24. Shopping will suffer serious setback.
  25. Customer will have more choice, more flexibility.

The 5 key factors, however, in the overall travel scenario that will drive all of the above trends will be:

  1. Safety : both perception and reality will matter
  2. Health : government may introduce mandatory checks
  3. Hygiene : There will be no compromise on this
  4. Brands : Those that will stand for quality will win
  5. Value: Good value for good money will be the new mantra

The business may take anything between 9 to 24 months to start climbing back to previous peaks. Till then the headwinds will be strong and severe. Some will succeed, some will struggle, some will perish.

  • By Sandeep Goyal

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