The gaps around limited availability, lack of awareness, and cumbersome purchasing experiences are hurdles in front of regenerative travel’s big potential.
Using reusable water bottles or shopping bags, traveling outside of peak season and opting for walking, biking, or taking public transport are only some of the ways in which Indian travelers are integrating sustainability into their vacation planning, reveals Booking.com’s latest Sustainable Travel Report. In a bid to save water, 55 percent of travelers reuse their towels multiple times, up 21 percent from 2022. As more travelers are swearing by the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ mantra, 57 percent of them brought their own reusable water bottles, up by 12 percent since 2022; 52 percent of individuals are utilizing reusable bags; and 44 percent recycle garbage while traveling. When it comes to transportation, 51 percent of Indian travelers now plan their sightseeing which allows them to walk, use bicycles or take public transportation. Looking to further reduce their impact, 41 percent decide to go off-peak to avoid overcrowding, up 5 percent since 2022. Additionally, the ‘buy local’ ideology is gaining popularity amongst travelers on vacation with 52 percent respondents favoring small, independent stores. “To help travelers in their sustainability journey, Booking.com has taken measures to help not only travelers but also local communities and the environment. This includes awarding thousands of properties in India and globally with the Travel Sustainable Badge, the ability to compare the CO2 emissions for different flight options or being able to find and book greener taxi options,” said Santosh Kumar, country manager of India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at Booking.com.
Vistara — a joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines — will start a daily flight service between Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram in the south Indian state of Kerala from June 1, Thiruvananthapuram airport said in a release. Flight UK 551 will depart from Mumbai at 9.40 a.m. and reach Thiruvananthapuram at 12 p.m. The return flight UK 552 will start from Thiruvananthapuram at 12.35 p.m. and reach Mumbai at 2.55 p.m. The flight will have 164 seats, including business, premium economy and economy classes, the release said. This will be the fifth daily service in the Thiruvananthapuram-Mumbai sector. Tata-owned Air India and low-cost carrier IndiGo are operating two daily services each in this sector.
India’s budget hotel chain Oyo has recorded over 150 percent growth in travel agency enrollment in the financial year 2022-23. A total of over 5,300 travel agencies across India worked with the company in the financial year ended on March 31, 2023, compared to approximately 2,100 travel agencies in the financial year 2021-22. Oyo’s continuous efforts towards improving overall booking experience, competitive rates for its accommodation, transparent commission payout process and travel resurgence in India over the last few years have accelerated the growth, widening business opportunities for travel agents. Rating agency Moody’s Investors Service recently said it expected the company to generate between about $50 million and $55 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization this fiscal year.
Tata Group-owned Air India has upgraded the design of its website www.airindia.com and is also working on a major upgrade to its mobile app, expected to go live towards the year-end. The experience management, digital marketing, analytics and personalization technology upgrades rolled out on the airline’s website are expected to contribute significantly in customer experience, Air India said in a statement. This will also lead to an increase in the aggregate value and share of direct-channel revenues for the airline, while providing customers with efficient pre and post-flight support. “This website upgrade is just the first in a series of design, content and feature improvements we have planned for the coming months that will culminate in what we believe will be a clear global leadership position for Air India’s digital direct channels,” said Air India’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer Dr. Satya Ramaswamy.
Thomas Cook India’s hospitality arm, Sterling Holiday Resorts has launched a 26-room Sterling Legacy Shimla in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. “We are happy to be collaborating once again with The Ras Resorts to unveil Sterling Legacy Shimla, our 41st property located in this popular holiday destination of the country,” said Vikram Lalvani, managing director and CEO of Sterling Holiday Resorts. In March, the company also launched a 32-room Sterling Shivalik Chail, situated just 15 miles away from Shimla. Sterling recorded a total income of $12.6 million for the third quarter and nine months of the financial year ending December 31, 2023, which is the highest in the company’s history for any quarter.
Cash-strapped airline Go First is set to resume flights with a smaller operation on May 24 with 23 aircraft, according to Indian media reports. The carrier has access to 51 departure slots at Delhi’s main airport and 37 at Mumbai’s main airport, but its initial schedule will be reduced, reports said. Earlier, the airline said that it has canceled all its flights until May 19, prior to which the cancellations were till May 12. The airline said a full refund would be issued to the original mode of payment shortly. Meanwhile, Indian bankruptcy court National Company Law Tribunal has granted bankruptcy protection to the airline and a full moratorium on its assets and leases. The low-cost carrier has blamed “faulty” Pratt & Whitney engines for the grounding of about half its 54 Airbus A320neos.
India occupied the top spot for Dubai International Airport with 3 million passengers in the first quarter of the year. With more than 21.2 million passengers passing through the airport during the period, traffic almost returned to pre-pandemic levels. The emirate also hosted 612,000 visitors from India during the January-March quarter this year, a sharp uptick of 62.76 percent compared to the same period last year, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism said. Earlier this month, the department launched its latest summer campaign for the India market that captures the destination’s outdoor and indoor activities. Tata-owned Air India has recently bolstered operations to Dubai with more non-stop flights to and from Delhi and Mumbai.
The member nations of Shanghai Cooperation Organization — India, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — have adopted a draft action plan for 2023-25 for interaction among their respective railway administrations, India’s railway ministry said in a statement. The deliberation focused on improving regional rail connectivity, infrastructure development, multimodal transportation, use of the latest technology including digitization for facilitating trade and economic activities among the member states, the statement said. A meeting of the heads of railways administration of the member states was recently held under the chairmanship of India. In March, tourism ministers from the member countries met in Varanasi in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to adopt a joint action plan on the development of cooperation in tourism.