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Although winds of change have begun to blow for the travel and tourism sector after three long bumpy years, a concrete roadmap is needed to fully revive the industry.

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Federal policy think tank Niti Aayog has recommended a slew of measures to revive the Indian tourism industry from the financial woes arising out of the pandemic. Some of these include:

  • Launching a new ‘Incredible India 3.0’ campaign — with a focus on key source markets such as the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan for the next five years. 
  • Providing direct cash support to the aviation sector and waiver of parking and landing charges.
  • Creation of a separate tourism fund under the Ministry of Tourism accessible to the industry as a collateral-free, 10-year loan, with a moratorium of two years and minimal rate of interest to support businesses during times of crisis.
  • Targeting high-value travelers that leads to sustainable tourism practices.
  • Developing virtual tours with augmented reality/virtual reality facilities in museums and destinations to showcase the country’s architectural heritage. 
  • Framing a policy to use heritage monuments in a sustainable manner, to monetize and promote such spaces for big ticket events.

Launched in 2002, the “Incredible India” campaign was perhaps the most successful campaign by the government to promote tourism in India. While positioning India as a must-visit destination, the campaign aimed to attract more domestic and international tourists.

In 2017, the Indian government launched an “Incredible India 2.0” campaign. This updated version focused on leveraging digital platforms and social media to reach a wider audience and create a more engaging and immersive experience for travelers. The campaign also emphasized sustainable tourism practices encouraging tourists to explore offbeat destinations within India.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry have been calling for an “Incredible India 3.0” campaign to help rejuvenate and reposition the Indian tourism industry, especially after Covid. Himmat Anand, the founder of Tree of Life Resorts and Hotels, had last mentioned during an interaction with Skift that the “Incredible India” campaign is now gasping for breath and needs a fresh lease of life.

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts Opens Citadel Sarovar Portico in Bengaluru

India-based hotel chain Sarovar Hotels & Resorts has opened a 125-room Citadel Sarovar Portico in Bengaluru in the southern state of Karnataka. The group currently operates five hotels under the Sarovar Premiere and Sarovar Portico brands in the city.

“Our partnership with Somayaji Hotels reinstates our belief that Sarovar has made its mark in the city and will be welcomed and embraced by this metropolis yet again as in the past,” said Ajay K. Bakaya, managing director of Sarovar Hotels and Resorts.

Early in May, the company partnered with Singapore Airlines Group’s global rewards program KrisFlyer to bring a large network of its hotels into the fold of KrisFlyer’s exclusive benefits

Turkey to Welcome Record Number of Indian Travelers This Year

Turkey has registered a 88.03% rise in travelers from January to April, with Istanbul and Nevsehir emerging as the two most visited cities this year. Considered as a key wedding destination by many Indians, the country expects to host an even higher number of visitors from the country by year-end. Istanbul, Antalya, Bodrum and Cappadocia are among the most preferred cities among Indian couples to host their destination weddings. 

Turkey aims to surpass all the previous records by hosting a significantly higher number of travelers from across the globe this year. Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines is looking for cooperation with Tata Group-owned Air India as the carrier looks to expand in the Indian market. Currently, the airline partners with budget carrier IndiGo through a codeshare agreement

SpiceJet Tops List of Most Delayed Airlines in May

Only 61% flights of cash-strapped airline SpiceJet departed on time from the four biggest airports in India — Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad — in May, according to aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The carrier operates nearly 250 flights a day. Additionally, passengers of Tata Group-owned Air India faced significant delays, with only about 83% of its flights taking off on time. The airline had twice the number of flight delays in May when compared to a month earlier. 

Newcomer Akasa Air has topped the punctuality ranks with over 92% of its flights departing on time, followed by budget carrier IndiGo.

Travel surged during the school holidays in May and June, and carriers struggled to keep pace. Demand for some routes was higher than normal after the insolvent Go First stopped selling tickets in May, placing a greater burden on the country’s flight networks.

60% Indians Transact on Travel Apps in First Month of Signing Up

Around 60% of newly signed-up users in India make a transaction in the first month on travel apps as against 42% users globally, reveals a benchmark study by customer engagement platform CleverTap. Of all the users who sign up globally, 88% Indians do so within the first seven seconds of launching the app.

“With more than a billion travel app users today, brands must emphasize retention more than ever. Sometimes a slight nudge here, a small reminder there may be enough to get users to complete unfulfilled transactions or re-engage with the app. But to maximize customer lifetime value in the long term, marketers need to be agile and identify weak spots within the app’s metrics proactively,” said Jacob Joseph, vice president of data science at CleverTap. 

Indian users were found to launch their travel app around eight times a month, against a global user average of 12 times a month. While the average open rate of emails from travel companies among Indians was 31%, the corresponding figure globally is 35.17%.

Ananda in the Himalayas Launches Wellness Programs in Maldives and Switzerland

Eco-friendly wellness retreat, Ananda in the Himalayas has introduced two wellness experiences this year — one at Nira Alpina, St. Moritz in Switzerland from September 13-17 and another at The Nautilus, Maldives from December 1-7. Ananda’s team of ayurvedic physicians, healers and practitioners will be traveling all over the world to educate, heal and rejuvenate, it said in a statement. 

While the Nira Alpina program will offer individuals the opportunity to learn asanas, breathing techniques and relaxation exercises, the retreat at The Nautilus will focus on balancing the chakras, the seven points of energy within the human framework through yoga, breathwork, meditation, reflexology, massage and gourmet Ayurveda cuisine. 

Last month, Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company also launched its wellness brand, J Wellness Circle.

Generation Z and Millennials Lead the Way in Travel: Mintel Study 

Nearly 55% of Generation Z consumers prioritize traveling abroad, according to findings of a study by research firm Mintel. “Young consumers, particularly post-pandemic, are eager to travel affordably. Brands offering budget-friendly travel options stand to benefit,” said Saptarshi Banerjee, senior lifestyle research analyst at Mintel Reports India.

Earlier, Thomas Cook (India)-SOTC Travel’s India Holiday Report – May 2023 pointed to the rise of Generation Z and millennial travelers with a ‘you only live once’ mindset. Booking.com reported that India’s tourism recovery was fueled by the enthusiasm of this segment.

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Tags: covid recovery, gen z, india, Indian Hotels Company, millennials, sarovar hotels, skift india report, spicejet, tourism, travel apps, turkey, wellness travel

Photo credit: Tourists at the Buddha Park of Ravangla in Sikkim. Subhadeep Saha / Unsplash

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