Domestic tourism continues to be the driving factor for the travel industry’s recovery

Domestic tourism continues to be the driving factor for travel industry’s recovery

Just as the second wave of Covid-19 subdued a bit, people started to throng hill stations and other tourist destinations in large numbers. One of their primary requirements was to get a safe and comfy place to stay. In these times community-led, experience-driven ecosystems carrying a variety of service offerings were the most sought-after places.

These include providing social and private accommodation, conducting outdoor activities, and curating original entertainment events, among others. Zostel was offering all these services. Originally conceived as a hostel chain for backpackers, the company claims that it mobilized local communities across India and established a robust, accessible, and trustworthy travel ecosystem.

In an exclusive conversation with Financial Express Online Aviral Gupta, Chief Strategy Officer, Zostel talked about how it is working to leverage a strategic blend of technology, capital, and regional resources, the impact of Covid-19 on tourism, and more.

How has been the travel industry scenario post the second wave of the pandemic?

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a seismic shift in shaping the travel industry’s future. Just as the industry was recovering from the losses of the first wave, the second wave hit, and it now appears that travel will reach just about 45%-55% of the pre-pandemic levels by year-end, subject to how well we control the third wave.

However, the desire to travel has only soared and demand skyrockets as soon as restrictions are lifted, especially in locations that are 4-6 hours from the metro cities, as was evidenced by the recent boom of tourists flocking to hill-stations and beaches. That being said, the industry remains cautious as to its complete recovery which will take at least another year to stabilize, with corporate travel expecting the most delayed recovery.

Domestic tourism continues to be the driving factor for the industry’s recovery and can accelerate the pace if Covid is managed efficiently across each region. It is further aided and is dependent on an improvement in vaccination rates, opening up of international borders for Indian travelers, and how corporate travel actually takes shape in the post-pandemic world.

How has been the business of Zostel in the pandemic?

We had to navigate a particularly tough road, especially at the outset, with pretty much zero revenues during the first lockdown period. We did, however, make a quicker recovery, compared to the broader industry, post the first wave, largely due to the strong community of Zostelers across India who drove the business to almost 75% pre-Covid levels before the second wave hit. Emerging from the second wave, we are almost at 80% of the pre-Covid business, with the demand percentage for future bookings already surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

We do expect a brief slowdown on account of plateauing of this initial demand, as well as the uncertainty of the third wave, looming but we are hopeful of getting back to pre-COVID business by the end of the year. From a supply perspective, our business has continued to function seamlessly, and we are looking to launch around 10 additional properties by year-end.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *