Revival of the travel and tourism sector in the post-pandemic world

In a recent panel discussion conducted by YourStory’s Daily Dispatch, powered by HSBC, Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder and Group CEO, ixigo, and Himank Tripathi, President - External Affairs, EaseMyTrip, come together for a discussion on the industry’s challenges and prospects for 2022.
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Following the pandemic, the travel industry experienced an exceptional rise in the number of bookings. The sector that suffered massive losses during the lockdown is likely to grow significantly as COVID-19  restrictions have been relaxed and people have been vaccinated.

To discuss this phenomenon, Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder, and Group CEO, Ixigo, and Himank Tripathi, President - External Affairs, EaseMyTrip, came together for an insightful discussion on a panel hosted by YourStory’s Daily Dispatch.

According to a World Travel and Tourism Council report, the travel industry contributed $9.2 trillion to the global economy before the pandemic. However, by 2020, there was a significant decline of 49.1 percent, amounting to over $4.5 trillion in lost revenue. The research suggests this year's contribution could reach $8.6 trillion, which is only 6.4 percent less than that during the pre-pandemic period. 

“The other factor which started playing out in parallel was this Russia-Ukraine situation which led to an increase in oil prices… if that hadn’t happened and oil was where it was two months back, the industry would be witnessing unprecedented highs on all fronts,” says Aloke.

After the pandemic, the hike in oil prices is the biggest concern for the airline industry. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have reached 14-year highs. As a result, airlines have had to raise their fares. 

Himank, on the other hand, believes that demand for bookings is extremely high and that all they need to do now is focus on maintaining a steady supply. Due to the high rates, people are rescheduling rather than cancelling their tickets. People's desires have switched from discounts and lower ticket prices to sanitisation and safety. 

According to Aloke, railway ticket bookings have surpassed pre-COVID levels, with almost 2.7 million people buying reserved tickets every day. 

He says that despite the higher airfares, EaseMyTrip is seeing a month-on-month increase in bookings, particularly on domestic flights. With things becoming less unpredictable than they were previously, the booking window is decreasing from zero to three days to roughly thirty days.

“For domestic, Goa, Kashmir, Himachal and Jaipur, continue to dominate the entire sentiments and interests coming from the domestic travellers,” says Himank. 

Domestic travel bookings have climbed by 40 percent, according to Himank. He says that international travel to places like Dubai, Maldives, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia is up 30 percent month-on-month compared to last year. 

According to Himank, the resumption of international flights, assurance of getting a full refund on cancellations, assurance of safety and sanitisation, will act as a boom for the industry. 

Both Aloke and Himank closed the discussion by emphasising that all travel and tourism companies should focus on creating value for customers and making travel hassle-free for them rather than worrying about the uncertainties in the space.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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