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The B&B Traveller

The future of tourism will be experiential and sensory — travelling will be about “We do not want to see it — we want to live it

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The travel and tourism sector is in a constant state of transformation to keep up with the dynamic new traveller — delivering innovative ways to find a unique experience full of authenticity, sense of urbanity, immersion and, most importantly, contentment. With rapid globalisation and growing access to the Internet, the way people travel in the country has evolved significantly. Gone are the days of fixed itineraries being organised en masse to deliver a templated vacation. Travellers today have grown and are seeking more personal ways of discovering new places.

With growing accessibility, and a variety of options on offer, the travel sector has experienced prominent growth in recent years owing to various factors such as rising purchasing power, a growing airline industry leading to cheaper airfare and other ambitious government-led initiatives aiming to stimulate the sector.

Considering the rich cultural and historical heritage and, the breathtaking beauty of the country, the tourism sector has substantial potential to grow and generate employment and bring more foreign exchange in the country. Even outbound travel is no longer a distant dream, as it has become both convenient to plan, and more affordable in a rapidly globalising environment. Besides, with the world’s largest youth population, India is home to millions of urban millennials — who form a big part of the growing travel market in the country and this industry is optimistic to achieve greater heights in 2017!

Sharing Economy: The impact of sharing economy especially in the hospitality sector goes beyond countries and touches individual lives as well. For example, Airbnb has given an opportunity for people to turn micro entrepreneurs across the globe, thus, hospitality can be experienced in a more personal and authentic manner. Home sharing or ‘homestays’ have fast become a trend for travellers, due to the level of personalisation involved. There is a growing demand among travellers to explore the deep-rooted culture and to absorb the local essence of a new place and the community that thrives in it. With changing times, vacationers are determined to travel to a new place and not be considered as an outsider who is simply visiting. Instead, they want to engross themselves in the unique local experiences that a city, town or neighbourhood has to offer.

To meet this demand, the tourism industry too has been receptive to the concept, which is constructed on the concept of a ‘sharing economy’. As travellers are becoming smarter, they are actively seeking unique experiences, further reiterating that the future of tourism will rely on real, authentic and personal experiences. It is the community, which will be increasingly involved in the creation of new tourism models and offering various services and attractions, finding a common platform through technology. The tourism future will be experiential and sensory — travelling will be about “We do not want to see it — we want to live it!”

Tech Aids: In this digital age, we have become a generation of DIY travellers who decide, plan and travel by booking tickets online. With the government promoting initiatives like Digital India and the rapid increase in Internet penetration, it is becoming simpler for individuals to establish sharing businesses which rely on technology, and even simpler for their customers to access these services.

Amidst the power to choose and opt for a personal touch, the openness of communities to make travel inclusive, and the capability of technology to completely transform the way we discover the world, ‘experience’ continues to be the key ingredient. An empowered traveller no longer restricts his inspiration to visit new places based on his immediate social circle. Breakthroughs in digitalisation have given customers independence and choice in an unimaginable way.

At the end of the day, travel must continue to reinvent itself so as to offer a series of moments which create memorable experiences and as more people travel or existing people travel more, it is good news for everyone.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Amanpreet Bajaj

The author is Country Manager, India, Airbnb

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