Travel after lockdown in India will change drastically and dramatically
By September 2020, I had started to hear about domestic tourism opening its operation. The government had loosened a lot of restrictions and people were back on the road, moving out on their own. When I was in Gurgaon during lockdown initial days of lockdown, the roads were empty and everything looked post-apocalyptic movie scene. Domestic travel after lockdown in India took a new shape. People were tired of staying at home and the small business owners, who were dependent on local tourism, were also jobless. It’s two-way support. Post lockdown travel came with several other restrictions.
I made 12 trips in 12 months last year. And this year? Only two. Yes, since I planned that I would be traveling at least once every month, I was only able to travel twice this year (2020). We experienced lockdown in the third month i.e. March. So travel plans collapsed and there was no other way to travel. This wasn’t just with me. It was with everyone. Everyone had to face it and we all were helpless and hopeless. There was nothing we could do, other than just following what the government ordered. Traveling restrictions are imposed and we are no longer free to move in certain parts of the country. However, several parts of the country are now open to traveling and people are going there to spend some good time after getting frustrated in lockdown. That is a relief to many of us. Still, the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the travel industry has left it handicapped.
To my mind, domestic travel post lockdown may increase if things remain under control, and once the COVID vaccine is invented. Still, there will be a fear of this pandemic in mind and that psychological condition will take a lot of time to go. This lockdown brought people closer and even separated many from each other, in any way. By the mid of 2020, the whole world was infected and life had come to a halt. The biggest global powers too couldn’t do much to stop it and everyone was just eagerly waiting for the antidote. And that is a long run, still.
I remember a friend of mine had planned a trip to Bali, Indonesia, and had booked his flight tickets. When the lockdown was announced, he had to cancel the trip. Moreover, there was a monetary loss too since only a small part of the amount was recovered. So many people had to experience this situation who had pre-booked hotels online and all other things.
People in India will take a lot of time to think about doing international travel post lockdown. When the government gave the slogan ‘Go Vocal for Local’, I don’t think that people are ready to move out of the country for travel/leisure purposes that much. Moreover, the local, domestic tourism is likely to rise up post lockdown. Be it trekking or safari, Indian domestic tourism may experience a change.
When I was tired of sitting at home, I joined my cousin to take a short bike trip in the outskirts of the city. I have traveled between Mahendergarh, Gurgaon, and Delhi post lockdown and didn’t face any restrictions. The movement was easy and smooth. Nowhere I was stopped and asked for any COVID report. When I used to board the bus from the Mahendergarh bus stand, I was often concerned and scared a little bit since there was no social distancing, no safety measurements were taken. The buses used to have the same number of passengers they had before lockdown. However, in that fear, I have used this service a lot of time.
I used to travel unplanned but post lockdown, traveling will surely require planning since things aren’t the same they used to be. I traveled freely till February when I was in Agra for 2 days and there was no fear of COVID at that time. Yes, we were getting news about the world getting infected but we didn’t take it that seriously. And that’s perhaps was a big mistake. We invited foreign delegates, presidents from other countries, and whatnot.
When I started to get reports about travel after lockdown in India and saw people traveling to Himachal Pradesh, and other states, I would think of just staying at home and let it pass by. I had even seen people traveling out of the country amid lockdown. The last time I traveled to Himachal Pradesh was in January 2020 was my weekend trip to Kotgarh.
Air travel in India after lockdown will take a considerable amount of time to be back at a good pace. Air tickets may experience price fluctuations and one has to follow strict restrictions at the airports. While everyone in the world is looking for safety at first, the situation of COVID infection in India has taken a serious shape and has put the country ahead of several others. That way, international travel in India is not likely to rise until and unless the vaccine isn’t out in the market.
Overall, lockdown and COVID impact on travel and tourism industries has disturbed life a lot. People have lost their jobs and in many cases, hopes to live. India where the tourism sector contributes around 10% to the GDP is now reduced to nothing. The first priority remains personal safety so that others can be safe. When you step out of home, your primary concern remains only one thing, safety!
Though by October 2020, several businesses had started their operations, opened offices, and called their employees back to the offices, yet there is always a concern. May, June, July, etc. were the most crucial period of lockdown and the cities which never used to sleep were sleeping day and night. Now, the cafes, restaurants, hotels, etc. have resumed their businesses. You visit any restaurant and you will find a hand sanitizer. Sanitize yourself and then take a seat. The same is for hotels or any other business. The sanitizer has become the new defense mechanism system.
Though we have learned to live this new normal lifestyle, we have experienced and taught ourselves to stay minimal, if life turns back to the same what it used to be before, will we embrace the same again or will we be happy continuing ourselves with the new normal? Will we be able to go through this transition phase or there is no going back? If there is no going back, how will travel in India shape after lockdown once the vaccine is made available? What are your opinions regarding life after lockdown?