The industry seems to have evolved and rather matured in all respects in the last one year.That was the feeling I got when I spoke to a cross-section of the industry for their inputs for my routine year-end story. They sounded more composed and refused to be carried away by any cult factor any more. Although sentiments are largely positive still, expressions were by and large muted than what was last year. While a large section of the industry is still hopeful of a windfall in inbound travel as ETV makes its imprint as the year progresses, another section is unsure about it considering the geo-political uncertainties and slow economic recovery in most of the source markets. As new dimensions are added to ongoing conflicts in West Asia and Middle East, and war clouds simmering in the Korean Peninsula in the wake of North Korea’s Hydrogen Bomb test, there are enough reasons to believe that international relations would continue to draw a veil over people’s travel aspirations in the coming year.
Interestingly, the industry stakeholders are no more putting all their eggs in the ‘international’ basket. Especially, the hotel industry in the country has more or less learnt to live with the domestic business, with international being just a sweetener.
Ironically, when the travel and tourism industry is gasping for fresh ideas to keep the sails moving for Indian tourism, the political leadership at Transport Bhawan is busy looking out for an ‘appropriate’ brand ambassador replacement for actor Aamir Khan to lead its non-consequential brand campaigns. Rumour mills were active about this impending change, while it is a foregone fact that such superficial acts would not change the fortunes of Indian tourism in any manner.
As far as policies and actions at the highest levels are concerned, there is a growing restlessness in every quarter of this industry. And this frustration has slowly started surfacing in many ways. In one of the industry conferences attended by the crème-de-crème of this industry recently, a respected Corporate honcho expressed it in no uncertain way. The travel industry cannot continue trusting the government alone to do marketing and promotions to bring in tourists to India. Industry has to get together, pool resources and take the lead so that Incredible India gets its rightful share of the international pie! P Krishna Kumar
Bureau Chief, New Delhikrishna.firstname.lastname@example.org