Let’s travel together.

A cautiously buoyant 2018

By design or default, it’s the human tendency to look into the crystal ball at the start of the Gregorian calendar to see what the future has in store and the travel industry is no exception to the rule. Industry thought leaders, stakeholders and associates fix their binoculars with focus to read into the future. The results are well, some predictable, some out-of-the-box and few contradictory that have emerged from the various conversations I have had over the past two months. The good news is, most segments, be it cruise, hospitality or aviation have revealed a rather buoyant 2018, with trends revealing a greater momentum in the travel space.

Cruise players feel the markets are certainly showing a trend in their favour, while the airline segment, especially on the domestic front, is also witnessing growth. Few tour operators feel it is the year of consolidations. Others feel though the year may be better than the past, they are still not ready to fly high. Domestic tourism and MICE travel is predicted to be on an upswing. The general feedback has also been that the tribe needs to increase of those tour operators who would invest in destination research with on field product knowledge, rather than promoting copy pasted and regular tour itineraries and packages. Group travel will never go out of fashion but that genre of travellers too are looking for something special to boast about. Here the relationship between tourism boards and the tour operators gets all the more vital. Knowledge workshops, training programmes, engaging dialogues and more is the need of the hour.

The role of the government too is critical to give the tourism sector a dose of optimism. The Union Budget 2018-19 is also something that this fraternity is aiming to watch closely. State tourism boards need to shift from their bureaucratic shackles and connect more with the industry to sell India right, both nationally and internationally.

However, it’s the gen next of the travel trade that is looking at the future in an optimistic but realistic format. The gen next is clear that the effective use and application of technology is critical for growth. The power of the social media is a given. However, for those of our readers who truly need to understand the difference between being social on social media and using the social media to gain business mileage should certainly stop by an article on Page 32 of this issue. It will set the pace for a lot of thinking for 2018 with respect to social media and more… Happy New Year, readers and here’s wishing you all a super successful year as we are all in it together.

Reema Lokesh
[email protected]