Travel firms and tour operators are keen on the growth of local tourism as international travel continues to be restricted amid fears of the outbreak of new strains of COVID-19. As such MakeMyTrip recently launched the My India campaign encouraging travellers and adventure seekers to explore the lesser-known destinations across the country.
Sunil Suresh, group chief marketing officer at MakeMyTrip, said India as a travel wonderland has incredible experiences to offer. “When we travel within India, we don’t just return with memories but often with awe, pride and a sense of gratitude for the diverse and incredible travel experience that India as a travel wonderland has to offer,” he said. “That’s the emotion we hope to bring alive through #MyIndia, where we will create conversations on the best that India has to offer.” Moreover, the online travel agent has roped in celebrities to promote specific states, like Pankaj Tripathi (Bihar), Mary Kom (Manipur), Ajinkya Rahane (Maharashtra), Guru Randhawa (Punjab) and Sunil Chetri (Karnataka).
Thomas Cook, a renowned tour operator, is also running India Holiday Festival with discounts on local travel packages. According to Mint, it is promoting travel experience similar to popular international tourist spots like Alleppey in Kerala is likened to Venice. The tour operator is using digital video content across YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, in addition to print campaigns.
Rajeev Kale, president and country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, explained that the wanted to create curiosity and help showcase that some popular Indian destinations offer a similar, if not better experience as compared to the most sought-after international counterparts. “In the face of limited international border reopening, we wanted to showcase the spectacular beauty available in our own country, as great alternatives to choose from while highlighting its diversity.”
In December 2020, SOTC and Thomas Cook Ltd’s Second Holiday Readiness Report said that 52 per cent respondents are likely to take a domestic holiday, with preferred destinations being Goa (38%), Himachal Pradesh (29%), Ladakh/Kerala (20%), NorthEast (19%) and Kashmir/Andamans (15%). Daniel D’Souza, president and country head Leisure, SOTC Travel said there is an expected rise of local tourism, offbeat places, and wildlife tours. “Demand has similarly increased for “drivecations” and rural getaways to experience the local culture,” he explained. “Millennials wish to explore the unknown and are keen to escape the city life for more global experiences.”
The Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), in May 2020, had asked the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India to declare 2021 as “Year of Domestic Tourism in India” to give a direction and purpose to the whole travel industry.