As they say “ we travel not to escape life but life not to escape us “, travellers across the world , as anticipated , started hitting the road as soon as the restrictions due to the COVID 19 pandemic are slowly easing out.
Like many other nations in India as well various travel destinations have started witnessing a steady increase of the travel enthusiasts pouring in from all parts of the country. This is also much to the delight of the travel as a sector and all the shareholders who have seen an unprecedented loss of revenue in the past more than six months.
Travel industry in India accounts for almost 10 % percentage of GDP. Specially the sates with a large proportion of revenue generation happened from the travel sectors have suffered the most. Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Assam, Kerala, MP are few to name out of the long list.
Right from the using mask and hand sanitizers in the hotel and home stays to frequent temperature check-ups at the popular destinations entries, contact tracing app the pandemic has indeed changed the way the travel used to be as early as six months back.
However, the industry that accounts for almost 10% of world GDP has turned around much sooner than anticipated by many experts and, is all set to embrace the challenges of travelling in the days of “New Normal”. In India, in the past few weeks with almost all the states slowly opening up the gates for the tourism, have seen a welcome rush of tourists turn out. Corbett National Park has seen a record number of booking for the month of October days after opening their online booking. Mountain tourist spots like Manali, Shimla, Nainital, Darjeeling etc are back in action with hotels and home stays getting busy welcoming their guests.
In a recent interview given to BBC Mr. James Liang, chairman of Trip.com Group, one of the world’s largest online travel agents, said “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges to the global travel industry, however, it is encouraging that by now, we have seen stabilisation or recovery of travel activities in many of the markets where we operate. In China, travel activities hit the bottom in February and have since been consistently on a recovery track.”
In India the situation is not much different. While a section of population have decided to stay back at home and avoid travel as much as possible, the others have decided to kick back into life with the new rules and regulations as set by the health regulatory and the government .
A few things that one should keep in mind while returning to travel:
Low Contact mode of transportation:
Keeping in mind the present scenario it is better to avoid crowded vehicles and instead opt for cars, bikes for short distance and self drive options while for long distance, airlines and railways are taking all necessary precautions to make your journey safe. This is advisable to get all the information possible on the new rules of the destination airport /rail station in advance to avoid discomfort during travel.
Home-Stay over Hotels
It is important to choose your place to stay very carefully. Home stays and resorts with separate cottages are proved to be preferred choices among travelers these days compared to hotels. Home stays are also loved due to its homely and healthy environment, organic, home-cooked food and limited possibilities of contacts.
There are several factors and perhaps the most crucial decision for a travel plan to select the destination. The days of ‘new normal’ have undoubtedly made this decision even more important. This is better to choose your next holiday destination to a place which is likely to be less crowded and away from markets and malls. Inspite of the maddening population growth and commercialization of natural resources our country have the unique advantage of abundance beauty and amazing locations still unspoiled and untouched by the industrial growth.
Mind your Habits
Whether you like it or not, the unfortunate health emergency have ensured a situation when we need to be careful about certain natural human habits. Avoid touching staffs as much as possible like lift surface, escalator railings, walls or surfaces of public places. We also need to be careful of not touching our mouth while outside, as much as possible. Regular (but not excessive) hand wash and use of soap and hand sanitizer are always important.
Known group Travel
It is also safer to travel these days with a known group or family members rather than complete strangers. The familiar companions with known health history will ensure a safer and confident travel experience.
Avoid junk and half-cooked food from outside
Although it is doubtful that the virus in question has anything to do with food surface as a threat but, it is safer to avoid open market semi-cooked food items while travelling.
Avoid catching cold
We must take all precautions possible to avoid catching a cold while travelling away from comfort of home. Whether in term of choice of food, wearing warm clothes, avoid allergic objects one must make sure to take additional measurements to beat the possibilities of catching a cold or fever
“Spread of COVID-19 can be prevented by simple measures which we all know now; wearing a proper mask, hand sanitization and avoiding crowded places. Following the above rules personally and ensuring everybody else around you follows them, will go a long way in winning the war against the pandemic. Face mask will prevent or severely affect our social interactions, but that is a small price to pay to keep the pandemic under control.” – Prof. Indranil Dasgupta, Vice President, Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Delhi South Campus.