In the previous article, I mentioned that globally, tourism will change in a big way. But what does that mean for the Indian hospitality industry? What measures will it take or has to opt for if they want to thrive in the current environment?
Hygiene & Sanitation
Thanks to Covid, a major area that will be focused on is the hygiene aspect, not just in hotels but also in the places of sightseeing. When we went to Rajasthan, famous sights like Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort were full of bats, bat poop and pungent odour. Plus, acts like spitting are so common which have finally been made punishable. This will all be taken on top priority to bring a positive change, considering Rajasthan and many other states see maximum inflow of foreign tourists.
To make the hygiene and sanitation part successful, technology intervention is the need of the hour. From hotel reservations to handling of luggage, room service, cleaning of the property, safe garbage disposal, issuing tickets for sightseeing etc will see a major revamp where there will be minimal to zero interaction with the other person or even in commonly used areas like bathrooms where you need to touch a tap to wash your hands. Sensor controlled products will be the future. Sanitized and technologically upgraded hotels will be a competitive industry and everyone has to rise to the occasion to keep their business alive.
Airports in India have started functioning and have adapted to new way of contactless travel. The Government of India has already started promoting the initiatives they have taken where the entire process from entry at the gate to the exit for boarding and inflight rules have been all automated. They have introduced microbial glasses, enhanced cabin cleaning, thermal scanning, dedicated terminals for staff, travel hygiene kits, social distancing measures in waiting areas, modifed inflight services etc. All this has led to low to no interaction with airport and flight staff. Almost similar steps will be taken in rail travel by reducing reservation to limited seats and shift to packaged food.
Boost in domestic tourism
Domestic tourism, that is travel within India will get a tremendous boost post Covid. Our Prime Minister urging us to visit 20 destinations in 2020 at the start of the year will start happening now, not exactly matching the same number and year though. There are various reasons contributing – the tightening of international travel regulations, covid fear, desire to stay safe within the home country, financial constraints, shortage of paid leaves and the constant eagerness to travel. Stay home, stay safe will be the new mantra with a new meaning.
Sustainable and responsible tourism
Like it or not, every individual will automatically become responsible while they travel as they will soon know the repercussions of being otherwise. From following rules at the airport or stations to maintaining hygiene and not littering at tourist spots, we are going to go a long way. A country like Bhutan is a great example for us which values quality of tourism more than quantity and believes in a clean environment. The planet has taught us a good lesson in a hard way.
The above measures ring the bell of a reviving tourism industry which will tremendously help boost the Indian economy and ready us to welcome visitors from all over the world.