India’s aviation, travel and hospitality industries expect a rapid recovery in travel by the second quarter of fiscal 23 for domestic travel, although they are cautious about the impact of the third wave of coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.
After rebounding for two months in the first week of 2022, domestic passenger air traffic fell below 3,000,000 for the first time since November last year. According to the HVS Anarock report, the hotel industry’s occupancy rate increased only slightly year-over-year in November 2021. Rating agency ICRA also maintained a negative outlook on the industry. It had experienced around 27 downgrades in the hospitality industry since the start of the pandemic.
However, industry players continue to remain cautiously positive.
Vinod Kannan, Managing Director of Vistara, believes that confidence in air transport has grown steadily over the past six months, resulting in a steady return of demand, especially in the domestic market.
Ronojoy Dutta, CEO of IndiGo, said families in India are scattered across the country and around the world and Indian companies do business all over the world, boosting domestic travel and interest in them. inbound trips for medical tourism or educational tourism as well. seems to be on the cards.
But the new Omicron variant brought some uncertainty back. Indian airlines saw a slight drop in bookings, including cancellations.
According to Prashant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, the decline is currently only marginal. “Regardless of the feelings, the numbers are the ultimate truth and from a data perspective we only see a slight 10-15% drop from the last wave. So people are scared but not as scared as wave one or two, ”he explained.
He further added that provided the Omicron virus does not break out for a long time, he expects decent growth in gross revenue from reservations. In 2021, EaseMyTrip’s total gross booking revenue (GBR) was 2,100 crore. “Without the Omicron, we were looking to cross a GBR of ₹ 3,500 crore.”
ClearTrip has also seen a recovery in the last few months of 2021. “The pandemic has resulted in strong pent-up demand for travel. We expect this travel upturn to continue through 2022 and expect bookings to peak in the second and fourth quarters of next year. International travel could recover in the second half of the year depending on the evolution of the pandemic, ”said Prahlad Krishnamurti, Commercial Director of Cleartrip.
Other players echoed Krishnamurti’s thoughts on recovery.
However, industry bodies like the Hotel and Restaurant Association of West India (HRAWI) and the Hotel Association of India said the actors were in a waiting situation.
HRAWI has high hopes in the Union budget for the reliefs, while the Hotel Association of India is banking on streamlined SOPs linked to Covid-19.
On the bright side, hospitality industry experts are eyeing consolidation. As the aviation industry eagerly awaits Akasa, Jet Airways 2.0 and the privatization of Air India.
Existing players like Vistara and IndiGo are looking to seize opportunities while keeping costs lower. SpiceJet is considering a respite from Boeing compensation and GoFirst is considering its IPO.
OTAs like ClearTrip are looking to acquire more customers, while players like EaseMyTrip are eager to acquire companies to gain market share.