Industry Hopes 2018 to be a Fruitful Year

Post the completion of an eventful year, India’s Travel & Tourism fraternity hopes that the New Year 2018 would be a great year for the industry.

An eventful year has come to an end, wherein the industry saw many ups and downs. The last year witnessed a series of changes of enormous impact like the introduction of GST, the launch of Incredible India 2.0 campaign and decision to constitute new special tourism zones, etc. TnH talked to some of the industry veterans to get their expectations from 2018, and what they are planning to do in the new year.

With the consistent surge in domestic tourism, 2017 started on a positive note for the civil aviation, travel and hospitality industry. Lauding growth of India’s Civil aviation market in 2017, Dr. Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group said, “India became the third largest aviation market [in 2017] as domestic air traffic showed consistent growth. The hospitality industry, however, faced several roadblocks but made an encouraging recovery in the last quarter.” Expressing his expectations from the year 2018, he said that the travel and hospitality industry in 2018 looks promising one as domestic travel and MICE are expected to pick up resulting in business growth.

With other segments of tourism industry, the hospitality sector will surely see a boom in the upcoming year. On an upbeat note, Ajay K. Bakaya, Managing Director, Sarovar Hotels & Resorts said, “We are likely to open hotels in Raipur, Jaisalmer and Mahipalpur in New Delhi in 2018. We expect the growth to be somewhere in the vicinity of 10 per cent across our hotels, both in occupancy and in harder ARRs.” Also, the demand is expected to strengthen over 2018 and in the next five years. Sarovar Hotels & Resorts is all set to launch Sarovar Premiere in Lusaka, Zambia. Indian travel and tourism industry has a huge growth potential. Talking about the plans for new year, Piyush Tiwari, Director-Commercial & Marketing, ITDC mentioned that corporation has been a pioneer in hospitality and tourism industry since the time of its inception. “Corporation would continue to aggressively promote and reposition ITDC as ‘One Stop Solution for all hospitality, travel & tourism related needs’ by being more visible in different kind of media including social media to connect with younger generation.” he added.

Technology has emerged as a leading factor, while some say the game-changer in the growth and development of travel and tourism sector. Last year saw many technological developments in travel and tourism industry and beyond. Many apps and tech-based companies were launched. The growth and developments in the new year will also continue to be largely driven by technology. Application of AI will further grow in the new year. In both front end technology (website, mobile interface, online company profile etc.) and back end technology (GDS, API connections, Hardware support etc.), it has become essential for modern day businessmen to access and understand the resources at hand.

Recognizing the need of innovation, well-established technology players like GDS is redefining itself to cater to its customers better and offer new opportunities. Today, GDS provides an advanced technology solution for travel agents as well as for OTAs to perform their bookings and offer more choices for great customer experience. Anil Parashar, President and CEO, InterGlobe Technology Quotient (ITQ) said, “With the rapid progress of the era that is termed as the 4th industrial revolution, we are looking forward to the integrating fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. In terms of product as well as capability, Travelport and ITQ will continue to harvest the full potential of technology.”

The year 2017 has been a roller-coaster ride for the tourism industry and there is no doubt that it has affected the economy as well. But all, the industry is now wishing is that the coming year should be fruitful. Subhash Goyal, Chairman – STIC Travel Group & Hony. Secretary – FAITH expressed hope that 2018 would be a very good year both for Inbound and Outbound Tourism as the dark clouds of 2017 which had affected Tourism because of demonetization and sudden imposition of GST seems to be over. “We hope that whatever snags still remain in the GST law will be ironed out in 2018 and the Industry will adjust to the new scenario and bounce back.” he added.

Agreeing with Goyal, Nishant Pitti, CEO and Cofounder, EaseMyTrip.com said, “We are expecting year 2018 to be more beneficial and productive for Indian travel industry due to the gradually reforming relationships of our country with world. Next year will also see growth in number of travelers and holidaymakers as vacationing has become a trend now.” As per the World Travel Market London 2017 Industry Report, three fourth of the travel delegates are expecting the industry to grow significantly. Most of the travel companies have planned to increase their targets to achieve in 2018. Both the leisure and business travel will see a boom as demands of traveling are increasing.

Praveen Chugh, President, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) said, “India’s travel and tourism industry is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of about 7% from the year 2018 onwards. Tourism is potentially a large employment generator besides being a significant source of foreign exchange earnings. The tourism industry is looking forward to expansion of E-Visa Scheme which is expected to double the tourist inflow to India.”

PP Khanna, President, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) said, “We hope the New Year will bring a new dawn for the domestic market. We expecting Government to announce tourism friendly budget to boost tourism in the country.” ADTOI shall continue to work with State Tourism Boards to showcase the destinations for the domestic tourists to experience Incredible India. We are also looking forward to promote Northeast sector with the support of DONER and MOT, he added.

Considering its rich and historical heritage, variety in ecology and terrains and places of natural beauty spread across the country, the significance of tourism in India cannot be underestimated. India is emerging as the world’s fastest growing outbound market. It is predicted that India will account for nearly 30 million outbound tourists by 2018.

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