Rebuilding travel in the “new normal”

Welcome to Day 1 of the first ever ITB India. The event, running in a virtual format from 7–9 April 2021, is set to become THE annual B2B trade show and conference building the bridge to the Indian and South Asian travel markets.

The show convenes top travel industry leaders and international exhibitors from MICE, corporate leisure and travel technology.

The conference series will be very rich in content, with thought leaders joining together to set the roadmap for a brighter future.

The overarching theme of the conference is “Rebuilding Travel”. With the industry on course for some major changes, experts are gravitating to the event to share their ideas on the future of the region’s travel markets.

Some highlights…

With too many to cover in one run-through, here is a selection of what’s on today.

This morning, at 10am, the absolutely not-to-be-missed session is the keynote: How Can We Reboot Tourism in India? Rohit Kapoor, CEO, India & South-East Asia (INSEA), OYO, will be putting the spotlight on opportunities for travel in the “new normal” and decoding the changing customer preferences that might well open up new possibilities.

Directly after the keynote, the first C-Suite Talk is entitled, “Goodbye, 9 to 5!”, with Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head – Global Business Travel, Thomas Cook India. Indeed, as workers are no longer confined to a 9-to-5 work-day, five days a week in an office, corporates are reassessing their approach to business travel. The session will explore how the pandemic has normalised remote work, and what that means for business travel. Will we go to the office again – and, if so, how often? What impact will a “hybrid” way of working have on how people travel, communicate and connect? What will business travel mean if our offices and day-to-day social interactions are virtual?

Another C-Suite Talk today, at 10:40am, sees Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel addressing the question of how travel benefits from the pandemic. The pandemic has given the opportunity to review the travel industry’s environmental footprint, reset our thinking and ultimately right some of the wrongs of the past. The question remains, what can the industry do to improve?

At 2:40pm, Rachit Uppal, Industry Head (South Asia), Twitter, hosts “Travel Trends 2021: Insights to Connect with the Consumers Longing to Travel”. Though the world stands still due to COVID-19, it doesn’t put a stop to people’s desire to seek out new destinations and memories across the globe. Participants in this session will gain interesting insights gathered through public conversations on Twitter to better understand motivations and dreams of future travellers who missed out on trips in 2020. Uppal will be looking for somewhere stunning to explore in 2021. But to begin, he will start with some trends that have emerged during the past year and know what’s in store.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

(Photo – by JK / Unsplash)