Experts are suggesting domestic tourism promotion and development in India for survival and growth in future, if possible. Surprisingly, a large excursion market and associated avenues of business are ignored or missed out. Along with the domestic tourism, marketing and associated development policy issues for this large excursion market need to be encouraged.
COVID 19 attack has changed the basic orientation of human civilization. Now, the global community has understood how easy and congenial our lives were in terms of mobility, livelihood and interpersonal relationship. The learnt practice, human beings were habituated with, is not going now. Again, the consequent abrupt change in human behaviour is a very big challenge for all. Entire human civilization has to practice a new behaviour for visiting, meeting and greeting people. They are learning this set of new behaviour, may be from one nation to another, one social class with another and so on. Even with the risk of COVID 19, people are coming back to the track of economic growth and development so that other socio-economic and political crises can be tackled. India is not exception to that. Industrial, commercial activities are about to take off, may be in selected places and subject to the due permission.
COVID 19 attack has more adverse impacts on this economic and social set up. Drastic reduction in physical accessibility and actual mobility is seemed to be a gray area for the travel industry, if the situation remains unchanged. Loss of employment, lowering of income and more life-risk associated with travelling and overnight accommodation Indians are expected to spend less on tourism as a noticeable trend as never before. Travel and tourism practices are seemed to be directed towards the unorganised or un-institutional unprofitable market segments from VFR to alternative and responsible tourism, if not planned and redirected at this point of time.
The origin of travel and tourism, on behavioural aspect, dates back to the primitive era when human civilization divided each day of their life by time for work and rest. How did they start utilizing their leisure time was important for the next generation. Societies are varying from utilizing this time and scope associated therein. It is evident that more a society has progressed, more new ways and means of leisure and recreation are in vogue. Identifying indigenous scope for leisure is seemed to help this time of pandemic. It is empirically proved that local people started visiting nearby destinations and/or availing of other means of leisure once the pandemic is being controlled. Now, Indians are interested in their same-day visit or excursion program as never before.
Experts are suggesting domestic tourism promotion and development in India for survival and growth in future, if possible. Surprisingly, a large excursion market and associated avenues of business are ignored or missed out. Along with the domestic tourism, marketing and associated development policy issues for this large excursion market need to be encouraged. All niche tourism, special interest tourism alternative and responsible tourism planning and policy issues need a new orientation in the interest of the entrepreneurs, and young tourists. Safe tourism in institutionalised segments and all types of alternative tourism among millennial tourists can be good options. New and alternative profit centres in these areas are to be found. We must understand that choice for travel is subject to a new accessibility with safety and legal acceptability now at this point of time. Therefore, scope for promoting lesser known and excursion destinations are more than never before. Mushrooming up of accommodation units will also be halted till the social distancing continues. Alternative and moderate accommodations, irrespective of location, can be encouraged. There will be a significant change in tourist group dynamics. To start with, a mapping for tourism along the all three hundred nineteen green zone districts1 can be a good option to incorporate recognized, lesser known and excursion destinations. A tentative plan for orange zone districts will also be helpful along with another plan for managing crisis. Geopolitical conditions, possibility of quick adverse changes, support of local government need to be assessed along with the critical issues of operation and niche marketing for destinations or excursion centres.
1. Ministry of Health, Government of India, has divided all 739 districts into three zones and found 130 districts are as red zone, 284 as orange zone and 319 as green zone respectively.
Dr. Debasish Batabyal has been teaching Travel and Tourism Management at the Department of Travel and Tourism, Amity University, Kolkata, West Bengal. A Post-graduate in Business Management with specialization in tourism, Dr. Batabyal received Doctorate degree from the same University in the year 2013. His areas of research interest include eTourism, Sustainable Tourism and Social Solidarity Economy, and Destination development and planning. He has written two books and edited two more with reputed international publishing house. He has published a number of research articles in internationally reputed journals of Social Science viz., Indian Journal of Marketing, South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage, IJARBEST, Journal of Emerging Technologies and Research, and also in various edited volumes published by CRC press, (Canada), Cambridge Scholars Publishing (UK), IGI Global (USA). He has also co-authored chapter in District Human Development Report (UNDP and Govt. of West Bengal) and District Gazetteer Report (Govt. of West Bengal). In recent times, he has been awarded ILO‟s South-South Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) scholarship to participate in the 11 th Social and Solidarity Economy Academy in Madrid, Spain.