Home Agents/Operators/Trade People ‘Safety trumps all’

‘Safety trumps all’

As much as people want to be sustainable and responsible, they first want to be safe. This is fundamental to human behaviour and true to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. What people want, what they wish for will clash with the basics. In a tete-e-tete with TTJ, Rajeev Kohli, Joint Managing Director, Creative Travel & President, EUROMIC talks about the changing paradigms of travel and tourism industry in the ‘New Normal’.

Rachita Sehgal

CHANGE IN NATURE OF CONDUCTING BUSINESS POST COVID

“No one can be an oracle these days.  There are far too many reports on what may happen in the future that are all over the place in their predictions. What we can be sure of in the short term is that travel habits will be guided by new protocols in hygiene and safety across all elements of travel. This does not necessarily mean that things will be bad, just a lot cleaner and a bit weirder. But I expect people will come around and return to their older patterns of travel. That is inevitable. 12 months from now I expect the world to have forgotten a lot of the madness and move on.”

REDEFINITION OF SUSTAINABLE AND RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

“I don’t think that responsible travel and sustainable practices are the same. I do think that the pause in humanity has made many appreciate the environment and peace a lot more and that gives opportunities to responsible travel opportunities. Calmer, slower, and more meaningful trips and destinations would probably gain more interest. Travellers will enjoy going to destinations that have fewer footprints. This can be a boon for far-flung regions. On the other hand, sustainability will probably struggle a bit as those will conflict with the needs of safety and hypogene in a post virus era. But yes, these areas will be more relevant and those specialising in them will see greater opportunities to showcase their products. I think people will listen a lot better now.”

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PRACTICES

“Unfortunately, today in the middle of 2020, sustainability in tourism has in many ways been tossed aside and this will be a new normal for the time to come. The use of single-use protective equipment has grown exponentially, and this may not go down for some time. Chemical usage for cleaning has gone up and the use of plastic containers has boomed. Hotels, restaurants, and airlines will be using a lot more water and supplies for cleaning linen, kitchenware etc. Water usage will go through the roof. The availability for eco-friendly safety products is currently insignificant and although it will probably come, the short-term negative effects on the environment will be hard. All the chemicals, sanitisers, plastic, disposal gloves, face shields, etc will have to be thrown somewhere. The movement against single-use plastic has taken a severe beating. Sad, but this is the harsh truth of where we are today. Perhaps it will change in the next year or so. But for now, sustainability is damaged and has taken a backseat. The high-end luxury segment of travel will still do well as sustainably has been big in that segment and they will be able to afford to find ways. But the mass of the industry will flounder, and I fear a short-term environmental disaster in the making. People will care for sure. Awareness has gone up, but travellers will not know how to deal with the conflict between safety and sustainability.”

INITIATIVES TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL PRACTICES

Responsible travel and sustainable practices have always been a part of our actions. We have been working on policies over the past few years and are now fast tracking them. We are working on new packages that will take travellers to lesser known destinations. Also, we like to promote experiences that benefit local communities. A lot of ideas are in play and our team is working on them.”