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I wish to induce India’s millennial travellers to explore India’s heritage and historical sites | Rishabh Makhija, Director – TravelVoyages

Primary motivator to pursue your professional goals in the travel and tourism sector? A passion for travel and a family business in the same sector were my main motivators to pursue a career in the travel and tourism industry. I have been travelling since a young age and have always enjoyed the experience and exposure that comes with exploring the places and meeting new people. Travel as an idea excites me as it takes people to a completely different world with diverse languages, cultures, beliefs, etc. This passion and appreciation towards travelling even cajoled me to taking a course in International Tourism Management at the University of Exeter. An observation you have made about the industry,both as a challenge or an opportunity? Over the years, commissions received by the agents from the airlines have greatly reduced. This has led to profitability shrinking to a bare minimum. The introduction of the dot com companies and online portals has also posed a stiff challenge to us, though travel agent’s commitment and dedication towards a client is unmatched. In case there is a change, cancellation or delay in flights, I believe it is always easier for the client to communicate with an agent, rather than calling up an online portal’s call centre. Vision for the business? As the number of domestic and international travellers in India are increasing by leaps and bounds, my main vision for the company is to provide them with unmatched service and attention to detail. Rather than going by a standard itinerary that people find on online portals, the effort should be to provide personalised service. Some people prefer to be extremely active on trips, one which is filled with activities and excursions, whereas others prefer a relaxed trip. It is important to give the clients what they want as per their demand and accommodate their requests to the best of our capabilities. Apart from that, it is important to embrace the technological changes happening around us and use them to the best of our advantage. For example, social media has become a huge platform to market your company and it is essential to make full use of the platform provided. A lot of companies now have Instagram or Facebook pages, or a website of their own. We have taken a step in that direction as well, with the aim of reaching out to as many people as possible. Through my company, I would also like to initiate and promote India as a potential place to visit for foreign travellers. Apart from just foreign travellers though, the aim is to induce millennial travellers to explore the heritage, history, monuments and wildlife within India, rather than go abroad. I believe India has a lot more to offer than many other countries in terms of tourism, but somehow it is still an aspect that remains untapped. A vision can only be reached with the dedication and commitment of the entire workforce, hence it is important to enhance and motivate them to the best of your ability. Technology has been a substantial game changer. Comment. Undoubtedly recent technological changes have affected the travel and tourism industry. The competition between agents and online portals has increased, with each one trying to outdo the other in terms of offers and discounts. Someone sitting in Pune, can now book a ticket from Mumbai to Delhi at his fingertips. He does not need to go to a travel agency in order to do so. Certainly, online companies have made things simpler and easier. However, I do believe that nothing can replace the traditional tourism enterprises. The millennial traveller can see through the marketing gimmicks online that are usually inauthentic or short term. As mentioned earlier as well, a travel agent is just a call away to clear any doubts, questions or queries that a passenger might have about his trip. The process of changing or cancelling tickets online can be bothersome. It is important to adapt and change with the changing times and not shy away from it. Accepting changes and using them to our benefit is the only way forward. Gen Nxt thought? Travel and tourism is an industry that can promote India on a global scale and bring a lot of money into the economy. Campaigns like “Incredible India” are steps in the right direction. A fruitful partnership between the airlines, agents and associations involved is needed in order to move forward and upwards. There is stiff competition and the industry is service oriented but still, it provides great prospects to grow and it is up to us youngsters to differentiate and make the most of that opportunity.]]>