Post-Covid travel industry urged to cater to ethical tourism

Travel sector called upon to address the ‘anxious traveller’

The Covid-19 pandemic had dealt a body blow on the tourism sector in the country. Kerala, which has tourism as among its major revenue earners, had been pinned down as restrictions on travel and air connectivity had been brought out as measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. With the pandemic scare on the wane, it has been noted that ethical tourism would define post-Covid travel, necessitating all stakeholders to provide customised visitor services that sustain nature and supports local communities.

Tour operators are on a path to revival, but they need to focus more on hygiene and healthcare to address the concerns of tourists after two years of lull in business owing to the pandemic, speakers at Kerala Travel Mart (KTM-2022) have opined. Long-haul travel will not be the norm in the next three years, when most tourists will be keen on domestic trips in an unprecedented scale, it was pointed out.

Travel seen increasingly becoming personalised

Travel operators were urged to equip themselves to address the “anxious traveller”, who needs reassurance as life is limping back to normalcy after the worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus. According to Dr Venu V., Additional Chief Secretary, Kerala, trips will become increasingly personalised; people will travel in small groups to relatively smaller destinations. The information provided to them should be authentic. Responsible tourism, which strives for sustainable nature and stronger role of local communities, will gain vitality,” he added.

Speaking at a session Berlin-based social anthropologist Rika Jean Francois said tourism should no longer be measured by gross revenues, but its impact on local people. “We must stop cultural erosion. Communities should be involved in much stronger ways. Destination management is far more important than destination marketing,” she said. For these, administrations should go for a no-tolerance policy that guarantees ethical tourism, said the speaker, who is ITB’s Commissioner for CSR.

Favoured destination for global tourists yet again

Meanwhile, with the pandemic situation improving, Kerala is back as a favoured destination for global tourists. Travellers from across continents find the southern Indian state rich and alluring as a cultural experience, according to foreign travel agents who have arrived to participate in the ongoing Kerala Travel Mart (KTM).

Enquiries about Kerala topped all the destinations since the pandemic started tapering off, revealed foreign travel agency delegates. With stage set for 55,000 business meets, the foreign delegates said Kerala is invariably the most sought-after destination for those visiting India.

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