As India celebrates National Tourism Day on 25th January, I would like to highlight the importance of a sustainable travel future and the pledge of this country to work towards it. nothing more extra ordinary than a huge country taking steps towards global futurism and setting an example to the world.
Post the COVID pandemic, many questions and uncertainty looms over our head. Commentators, travel company owners, airline bosses are frequently asked one question? - What is the future of tourism? Nobody thinks of asking this to the local residents.
The future of Travel and Tourism
Building Back Bigger and Better
As the travel industry is still stuck to the pandemic's wheel, the global tourism is still affected. The recovery from this crisis is not going to be equal. There are poor countries that still need to take a break from the exploits of the pandemic.
The countries in the North are still confused about the norms, who to let in and whom to not. Rarely visited countries like Tuvalu and a few others need to be in the PR. They need a voice and support. Relaying on travel influencers is not going to solve the orthodox travel mindset.
Travel companies should try to shine some light about the African farmers who contributed (have contributed from decades) are still so poor. The reality has stuck in a loop. COVID has changed it a little but knowing and understanding the harsh realities on this planet is crucial to create a healthy track for the future of travel and tourism.
Asking the opinions of the local community and the people who are basically born and bought up in that place is going to change the whole perspective on travel.
Fair Support to All
Tourism will only benefit the countries and companies that invest the highest. The rich will keep getting rich, the middle class will settle for a picnic and the poor will never know. The companies that invest a lot in health insurance will gain a lot of profit. This is a post COVID development and an important one by the way. The destinations , I mean the fancy ones, the trending ones will lead the whole travel and tourism industry just like it has done in these past few years.
There is nothing wrong in it. But, the self driven and the natural scope of the destination will forever be kept aside for only a certain type of travelers. The ones who like to keep it real and private. More awareness for individual travel goals and free will should be encouraged. Especially for the hard working class who need a break so bad.
Tourism companies should push for customized travel packages. Bring some changes in a few destinations and their access. This world belongs to all. I know, but the west and the north take most of the things this world has to offer.
Some tourism giants have thrust themselves to the front of government bailout queues even though the vast majority of tourism workers (one in 12 worldwide) work in small and micro businesses.
You know where I am going with this, don't you? Travel industry is hit hardest due to the pandemic. Especially the countries that depend solely on tourism for their economy. I completely understand that.
But many of those places and the rest of it (this whole thing we call our planet) is heating up. They are all feeling it. It is only a few years time until every single person will feel the sucker punch by mother nature for being stupid and irresponsible.
Take airlines. Aviation fuel is untaxed and the global organization is charged with managing aviation's carbon emissions (ICAO). Who do you think it is funded by? The aviation industry. Strict regulations are to be taken for a fixing what has been ripped.
Regulations towards climate by keeping in mind the climate change is to be taken. Renewable aviation fuels and investments in the more sustainable materials relevant to tourism have to be made. That is how change is possible.
Conservation and Tourism
Habitats are destroyed to build hotels and resorts. Clearing out mangroves to create beaches. Illegal poaching of animals that too the ones in the verge of extinction. Know what are the consequences of these acts? I'll tell you there is no food on the place of the local people who depended on it. Ecotourism has dried up. I would have said, it is drying up but it has already. There is no benefit of hope.
Tourism is plays a main part in conservation. But it is also plays a part in protection and awareness. There are places where tourism is strict and regulated after noticing substandard acts towards nature. The need to develop sustainable economic opportunities, in additional to tourism and in partnership with local people is crucial. The right awareness given to tourists about the particular destination and allotting punishment is also very important.
Nature will continue to flourish in the quieted world but the realization of how tiny we are compared to her must be considered.
About Travel and Tourism Development Index 2021
The travel and tourism development index (TTD) is a biennial publication of World Economic Forum (WEF). As the tourism industry is the largest foreign exchange, this platform evaluates the travel and tourism (T&T) competitiveness of economies and
measures the set of factors that enable the sustainable development of the T&T sector of a country. As per the released ranking, India has been ranked as 54th in TTDI, 2021 out of 117 countries.
Are we in this together?
Out with the old, amid the crisis people have sensed a renewed sense of community. Just like we survived an epidemic, we should fare smoothly with the same mindset. Let us be more mindful of the local residents and retain the value of a tourist.
Let us choose the companies that collaborate with the locals and work towards a better future. Let us reward those who genuinely care not just tokenistic care and respect for local residents, their culture and the environment. Done right, tourism is a wonderful industry. It will become a force for good. A future-fit tourism industry should have a greater sense of responsibility and duty of care towards people and planet. So, are we in this together?
Some Facts about India Tourism?
The number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals in India during 2021 was 1.52 million, whereas in 2020 it was 2.74 million.
The top 10 countries from where most of the tourists come to India are- France, Italy, Mexico, United States, Spain, Turkey, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, and Poland.
In 2021, 677.63 million domestic tourists visited different places. In 2020 the number was 610.22 million.
Most of the tourists visited Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, with 140.65 million and 86.12 million, respectively in 2021.
Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have the highest numbers of foreign tourist visits, with 1.26 million and 1.23 million, respectively.
87.5 % of the Foreign tourists entered India via air routes, 11.8 % via land routes, and 0.7 percent via sea routes.
In 2021, foreign exchange earnings (FEE) from tourism was US $ 8.797 billion. In 2020 it was US$ 6.958 billion.