India may be gradually unlocking, but the recovery of travel, and the future of millions of people associated with the tourism industry, is still uncertain. As social distancing turns out to be the way to go for many years to come, travel businesses must adapt now for tomorrow.
A recent survey by Nasscom indicated the impact of COVID-19 on India's start-up ecosystem and found out that nearly 70 per cent of the start-ups will only be able to last for around three months. Looking at how badly the travel industry has been impacted, many of these start-ups are likely to be travel start-ups.
"Stepping ahead into an uncertain future, the travel start-up ecosystem is preparing for the new era of travel where everything will be changed and brand-new. Businesses will need to be prepared today for tomorrow's travellers, and innovation is truly the need of the hour in order to meet the standard needs of quality travel. We cannot say for sure when it will all re-start but we need to be prepared for the future of travelling. Many travel start-ups are trying to bring changes into their business models and rethinking the way they used to function," Pritesh Khare, CEO, India Voyage, a travel start-up told IANSlife.
He added that these changes are permanent only until the vaccine arrives. "We might also see a hike in the prices of accommodation, food, transportation because of the market gap and the COVID security innovations and precautions. Also, the hygiene factor that used to be on the least priority would be on the topmost priority be it international or domestic travelling."
Here is how he thinks the industry will change post the containment of the virus:
Local travel over international travel
In future people might only want to travel local keeping in mind its shorter distance hence making it a safer choice for them. In fact, even the aviation industry would consider offering a different kind of seat choices which might be limited than what it used to be pre-COVID. International travel will be more expensive, hence people will choose to travel locally.
Rural tourism over cities
In the Corona-affected world, travel is going to take a very unusual turn. Businesses that are into local stays, eco-stays, village tours, skill-based tours and educational tours might see a good rise in future as people will be travelling with a desire to live sustainably and simple.
Road trips over local transport
Road trips across the nation will be a safer option to take-up. Private taxis and mechanics' businesses will see a rise as public transport is going to be very challenging in the future and people might want to avoid it for a healthy living. As in future social distancing is going to be a way of living. Any form of physical touch will be avoided by travellers.
Travelling industry as a whole needs to navigate through its possibilities, restoring the economy of the travel industry into place.