Tourism industry has been adversely affected due to C-19 and homestays are no exception. After ages of struggle, it was now only that the homestay concept had started to get recognition and taking an active part in responsible tourism. In a huge country like India where 70% population lives in villages, it became a strong support to people who were dependent on agriculture and lived tough lives. It brought them an alternate income and lots of hope to fulfill their dreams. But unfortunately C-19 brought their life to a grinding halt.
Nevertheless we sense a strong ray of hope for homestays in future. In addition to our own analysis, we tried to get insight from the experts of the travel and tourism industry as well. Here’s the gist of what things look like for the sustainable tourism in general and Homestays in particular.
Domestic tourism will bounce back strongly
Since people are locked inside their homes for so long, as soon as the situation gets better and lockdown is lifted, they would want to hit the road. But of course, with a conscious mind. International travel will take a back seat for a year at least. So the 2 million tourists who travel abroad, will remain India bound. Since the Homestay Industry holds 13% share in domestic tourism, it will get additional 2,60,000 well paying customers.
Offbeat and quick getaways destinations will be hit by the first wave of roadies
People will avoid traveling by local transportation. Instead they will prefer their own car to travel in the safety of their own family and friends. Getaway destinations with less crowd within 6-8 driving distance will see a surge soon after the lockdown. And in the offbeat locations homestays are the natural option most of the time.
Homestays and other alternate accommodations will become the first choice
Homestays will play a major role in coming times as they are remotely located, away from the crowded places and close to nature. Also, they mostly have small inventory to cater only a few people at a time, which means less exposure to other travelers. Last but not least, these are family run places, where there is hardly any outside staff. Clearly homestays will get the major share of the pie.
Budget travel will become a trend
With the economic slowdown, people would want more value for their hard earned money. They will opt for experiential budget travel instead of looking for luxuries. At a homestay one always gets freshly cooked home food, family atmosphere, a clean and no-frills accommodation at an affordable cost. Though homestays are not always budget friendly, there are many to cater business class travelers as well. But it’s a separate topic of discussion.
Low impact sustainable travel will unload over-tourism
This pandemic has made us all think about the choices we make and how it impacts our environment. In the post C-19 era, hopefully we will see a more responsible travel society. People will choose to travel to quaint places, respect the environment and stay with locals to support local economies. It will unload the mainstream, highly touristic places also.
Challenge will not be to get business but to retain it
No doubt travel will soon come back with a boom especially for homestays but providing safety to the guests can be the game-changer. The homestays will need to be extra cautious and maintain strict hygiene rules, for host family, staff and guests. Those who will be able to make their place safe and win the trust of the guests will come out as a winner.
There is a lot of uncertainty and the future is unpredictable for the whole world. But we strongly believe that tourism will be ‘reinvented’ post C-19 and will go in the right direction. It is time we prioritize well being and sustainability over profit and ambition.6 comments