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How the Indian Tourism Sector Can up its Growth Game? The Untold Mantra In a swiftly evolving travel industry landscape, it is imperative that the Indian travel sector adopts the latest technological innovations to tackle the growth challenges and be in sync with the changing travellers and trends

By Ankit Jindal

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When it comes to India's tourism sector, there have been some new advances but overall the industry still faces many growth challenges. In terms of revenues generated, the Indian tourism industry lags behind by miles when compared to countries like France, Turkey and even Thailand. Small Chinese administered region of Macau receives more foreign tourist than the whole of India.

Understanding and adopting the latest trends outlined below will allow travel companies to provide a better experience for customers and accelerate growth.

1. Invest in Technology

For the travel industry, technology plays a vital role especially when we talk about Tours and Activities segment, which has been a technology laggard for too long. Only when we invest in technology can the efficiency of operations and customer experience be improved. Due to the absence of tech tools, Tours and Activities sector have has stifled growth potential and predominantly remained offline. Easy discovery and smooth booking experience are a pre-requisite for any travel vertical, and it's precisely this had been missing in Tours & Activities.

Technologies like Augmented Reality, virtual reality and even voice-based, have an immense potential to redefine how travellers choose many aspects of a trip. Valuable information displayed in an intuitive manner can greatly enhance the customer experience. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are helping travel companies offer personalized suggestions. The better an experience can be tailored to a customer's needs and expectations, the more likely they will use the same service again.

2. Local Experiences

Of course, the new age travellers care about accommodation amenities and mode of their travel, but also how they spend time on holiday is more important than ever before. That is very evident in the current trend of splurging on experiences. They want to experience the local culture first hand, enjoy local cuisine and participate in local festivals. Travellers lookout for more than the usual itineraries available through travel agents.

3. Personalisation

Individual travellers are different and they are using travel to explore their personalities, One-size-fits-all travel packages are just not what they are looking for. Even in family trips, each member has personal preferences and they want to try different activities. Although personalization is relevant in every aspect of travel, it is In-destination activities where it's needed the most. It is for this reason, independent travellers are now booking own flights and accommodations and then going for the specific experiences they want to indulge in on their holiday.

4. Capitalize on the Growth of Experiential Holidays

Indian travellers are getting much more active in their holidays. Their trips are not just about visiting a hill-station or a beach destination anymore. Even whole families are open to adventure activities now and young travellers are leading that even for their parents. Wildlife holidays, water sports like scuba-diving and random activity is driven weekend breaks are becoming popular amongst the modern Indians.

5. Solo Tourism

Travel for Indians has always been a social affair, with trips about being with family, friends and even religious. While statement still stands true, many Indians (like westerners have done for decades) are striking out on their own. A solo trip is not "weird' or unusual any more for most people, more and more Indians have begun to reflect this trend. A solo traveller has specific needs. The emergence of hostels in many tourist destinations in India has made it easier to travel solo, but still, many travel bookings are not easy. When it comes to Tours & Activities, a solo traveller has limited options. Most operators and sellers of such travel experiences have minimum group size requirements for each booking. This problem is relatively easy to solve with technology and better distribution.

6. Acton Over-tourism Now

As the tourism industry grows by leaps and bounds in India, so is the menace of Over-tourism. It is when a destination takes more tourists than it can sustain the risk of Over-tourism can irreversibly impact on ecology, natural resources and local culture even. This has a negative impact of the same was already seen when the citizens of towns like Shimla stood-up against increasing tourists. This needs to be looked as an opportunity and solution need to be holistic and inclusive. We need to develop and promote offbeat places more so we can have a better distribution of tourist in peak seasons. Eco travel is a growing tourism trend among concerned new age traveller and they prefer sustainable tourism options.

7. Provide awesome Customer Experience

You would say this is nothing new, customers always prefer not just good but a great experience. With digital transformation and adoption of new technologies, today's travellers are spoilt for choices. Keeping customer experience at the top of the priority list has never been more imperative. As in other sectors driven by technology, the customer has begun to expect super convenient, hassle-free experience in every aspect of travel. Everything from the way they make their booking to the completion of the trip needs to be as pleasant as possible.

Ankit Jindal

CEO & Co-founder, Trodly

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