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5 ways Indians will travel differently post COVID

By Varun Arora
June 01, 2020 15:05 IST
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The focus will definitely shift towards more meaningful trips than the kind of micro trips we were into before, says Varun Arora.

How Indians will travel differently in 2020

Road trips and domestic tourism will be on the rise. Photograph: Courtesy Pexels.com

The novel Coronavirus has not just brought the world to a standstill but it also seems like the era of peak travel is over.

While a third of the world’s population is still under lockdown and it could take years to return to normal, travel industry will rebound, as there are too many livelihoods and economies that rely on it.

The grave effects on travel right now are quite evident.

But what are the new practices we can see Indians likely to follow when they get set for their next trip post corona?

1. Road trips

Air and rail travel will be a big no-no for a while, unless absolutely necessary.

It is likely that the next vacation most Indians plan will be via road in their personal cars or through taxi aggregators.

Therefore, road trips are something we might see trending more than ever before.

Unexplored neighbourhood towns would finally get the much-deserved limelight. This will result in a thriving domestic travel market as it will be a less risky proposition and many travelers will be going local rather than global.

2. Purposeful travel 

Besides the shift from 'Global to Go-Local', travel may become more purposeful.

People might go on those domestic bucket list trips that they have been procrastinating for years.

The focus will definitely shift towards more meaningful trips than the kind of micro trips we were into before. Zooming off for a quick weekend getaway just for the sake of running away from the city’s humdrum won’t be a priority anymore.

Corporates are also likely to send their employees on work travel only if it’s absolutely necessary, as the pandemic has taught us how to #WFH efficiently and effectively.

3. Hygiene and safety 

One thing is for sure that post Corona, private hotels, homestays and airlines aren’t going to be bragging about the free meal or the snazzy bar but about how top notch their hygiene and sanitation is.

People are going to be extremely particular in selecting brands based on how well these companies reassure their customers of hygiene and safety standards being A-class.

Don’t be surprised if you’re offered a complimentary pair of masks and gloves instead of a meal or a drink!

4. Zero contact 

Travel involves a lot of contact, that too often between strangers. The exchange of room keys, boarding passes, touching door handles, the list can just go on, but in this new age of corona it’s soon going to shift to a 'zero contact/touch’ model.

People will prefer contactless payment options via their UPI payment apps rather than exchanging filthy currency notes with strangers.

Technology could soon be seen replacing humans at airports and railway stations partially. In the midst of this contagion, zero is hero. The best way to keep contact with customers is to reduce contact as much as possible.

5. Zonal travel

Destinations in the future will be picked not based on the weather forecast, but whether it is corona free or not.

States and cities that are declared green zones will definitely be a traveler’s first choice.

One may pick an orange zone destination too if it has a view worth dying for (no pun intended).

Goa being one of the first states to be declared a green zone is definitely going to see a resurgence in tourists who have been restlessly waiting to enjoy a vacation; and in which better place than the party capital of the country.

But the million dollar question is, should tourists from orange and red zones be allowed to enter a green zone?

Only time can tell what plans the government has in store for us avid travelers.

All of the above filters will likely be some of the new ways Indians could be seen travelling post Corona.

The new normal is something that could be challenging, but we will come back to a cleaner, better and certainly a brighter future.

 Varun Arora is CEO and co-founder of Ekostay, a homestay venture. He can be contacted on ga@rediff-inc.com

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