Keynote highlight: Domestic travel key to India’s tourism recovery

In his keynote session at ITB India, Rohit Kapoor, CEO for India & South-East Asia (INSEA) business across Hotels, Homes, LIFE & Workspaces at OYO, said he expects that tourism recovery in India will be redefined by the domestic market.

According to Mr Kapoor, in his Keynote on Day 1 of ITB India, “Domestic tourism will be the key to India’s tourism recovery”, adding, “The pandemic is an extraordinary event in the sense that we never experienced this before, and hopefully, will never see it again in our lives. It taught us to be prepared for a global pandemic, but it also accelerated the emergence of major new trends.”

Kappor travelled extensively following the first lockdown in India and the partial relaxation of travel rules for domestic tourists. “In a first move, I took my car and travelled as far as I could from Delhi, to the discovery of the north in particular,” he said, stressing that he actually followed what he now sees as a big trend.

“Domestic tourism has suddenly become the focus of all in the travel business to a point never seen before. This is a major change in trends, as in the past we used to talk about domestic travel without giving the right consideration to it,” he said.

For Kapoor, choice of consumers will be for smaller sized destinations located withing driving reach from large urban clusters. “Small” seems to be the word that best describes the next holidays in India. The OYO CEO evoked small fragmented multiple holidays replacing one or two long vacations. He also spoke of small hotels or vacation homes where consumers feel more comfortable and where hygiene and health protocols are easier to implement.

“I believe also that holidays with people visiting five to six different destinations on a same trip are passé. Instead, I predict the emerge of travellers visiting one place and experiencing it in different ways,” he said.

According to Kapoor, new travel habits will be supported by the irresistible rise of digital services and the empowerment of local communities to offer travellers the best experience possible.