India has a huge potential to make her mark as a promising tourist destination. As a melting pot of different cultures, it is a huge draw for domestic as well as international tourists who are enthusiastic about experiencing a new culture and way of life. However, from airport modernization to buying travel insurance, especially when going abroad, there is a lot that needs to addressed in the new year, says Neelu Singh, COO, Ezeego1.com.
What are your major expectations for 2015 from the sector for you?
The domestic sector has been growing as short weekend trips are becoming a trend amongst Indian families. Today, each of the metro cities has at least 15 destinations that can be identified as popular weekend getaways. With more international hotel chains and airlines entering India, accommodation capacities have been expanding, thus increasing hotel and air bookings.
With the new Government’s thrust on religious tourism, we are bullish on our pilgrim tours which are a key segment for us. We are also tapping tier II and III markets through our franchise model which is receiving a good response from potential franchisors and customers. Lastly, we are marketing our international holiday packages aggressively to promote popular as well as offbeat foreign destinations.
What is the biggest change you would like to see next year?
Not purchasing an insurance cover, especially when the customer is travelling overseas, is a very big risk. Unfortunately many travellers are still willing to take that risk. A change we would like to see is a change in the traveller’s mindset that buying travel insurance is an unnecessary expense. It is essential for customers to understand that shelling out a small amount can help them counter unforeseen circumstances when they are away from home.
What are the 3 biggest challenges facing Indian travel and tourism. How can they be tackled?
Improving infrastructure facilities for air, rail, and road connectivity is critical. Also implementation of safety measures, especially for women, is need of the hour. Smaller towns lack proper air connectivity. Airport modernization, especially in these towns, is required for better management and operation, which will serve to boost the tourism sector as a whole.
What existing strengths in tourism can India leverage more immediately?
India has a huge potential to make her mark as a promising tourist destination. India is blessed with a plethora of natural attractions such as beaches and waterfalls. Water sports are gradually becoming popular across destinations such as Tarkarli, Andaman and Goa. Appropriate safety measures and a streamlined procedure to book water sports can help India garner a steady influx of adventure enthusiasts who indulge in water sport adventures regularly. Some flora and fauna can be found only in India. Adequate care of our nature and forest reserves can do wonders to wildlife tourism in India.
Most importantly, India is a melting pot of different cultures. This is a huge draw for domestic as well as international tourists who are enthusiastic about experiencing a new culture and way of life. India also has a great potential to create a position for itself as a MICE destination owing to its strategic location and connectivity with major countries. It is also rich in its recreational offerings to MICE travellers.
Musafir Namah Bureau