Sustainability to be a key factor in the travel and tourism sector, will play a large role in the destination selection process and in choosing the travel company providing the services
1. Inbound travel boom has emerged in a big way, is the tourism industry ready to the pre covid era?
The industry is getting back on its feet after a long gap of over two years. There are bound to be challenges in the supply line– transport systems, tour guides, special venues, etc. However with business slowly picking up these things will surely fall back in place and the industry will be back at pre-covid levels of business in due course of time.
In this gap of two years, we have witnessed immense development of infrastructure in the form of roads, airports, and new hotels, all driven by domestic tourism. This certainly acts as a huge impetus for a quicker recovery in tourism.
2. Known for providing experiential travel experiences, how has the Eastbound group been so successful in providing luxury travel experiences to travelers?
Right from its inception sixteen years ago our focus has been on curating exceptionally immersive travel experiences for our luxury clients. That is our prime USP. Our dedicated staff travels extensively to put these experiences together after thorough research and quality assessment. Our clients (foreign agents) are also a great help in guiding us from their global experience and act as custodians of our brand.
3. Travellers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainable travel and are making environment-friendly choices when traveling, how far this is true?
There is a lot of awareness with respect to sustainability amongst certain segments of travellers. As a socially responsible company committed to environmental protection, we try and take necessary steps within the limitations that are there in India. Cost is a major factor in that pursuit. Going forward, however, sustainability will become a key factor in the travel and tourism sector and will play a large role in the destination selection process and in choosing the travel company providing the services.
4. Holiday patterns have changed tremendously post-pandemic. How will the travel trends change in 2022-23, or what would the travel trajectory be like in 2022-2023?
Trends indicate two key things- the booking period will reduce and, second, cancellation terms will need to be revisited as clients are still wary of borders closing down if there is a third wave of Covid.
The percentage of younger and luxury travellers will be larger compared to the earlier years. Educational travel (executive MBA programs) will also see exponential growth. Individual travel will grow and group travel is likely to decline.
5. Revenge Tourism has been a new term that has come into existence after the outbreak of the pandemic, do you foresee any more outbursts from tourists in the domestic or international tourism market?
Since last year an ascending pattern in revenge tourism can be seen in domestic tourism and with outbound market restrictions opening up, there is a noticeable growth in this segment as well. Travellers have had enough of sitting and waiting in fear; revenge tourism will definitely be one of the key trends to emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic.
6. The Indian government had last year announced a slew of measures to boost the tourism sector in the country, including free visas for tourists and loans to government-registered tour operators, how do you think the government’s steps have helped revive the sector?
Sadly, as always, tourism has not received its due share in support from the government. Few steps were taken but they were negligible and have not helped in reviving the sector. I think the government needs to walk the talk and step up with impactful measures or we are set for a domino effect of cascading problems. Lots of businesses have near folded at the hands of the pandemic, workers have been laid off and a shortage of staff is in plain view across businesses, the time to act is now in order to ensure timely recovery.
7. Lastly, What have been the biggest trends in domestic and international tourism that have emerged post-pandemic?
Travel to remote locations, nature and adventure travel, surface transportation as compared to air travel, consideration of safety and hygiene standards, flexibility in booking, and cancellation terms and conditions are some of the trends that have emerged post-pandemic.