Startups have been changing the ecosystem of many industries. The tourism industry is also one among them.
After globalisation, the way technology takes over the world changes the viewpoint of the tourism industry; globalisation increases a company’s adaptability to uncertain environments and its willingness to change. The evolution of digitisation brings easiness, and its application alters the thoughts of people towards the tourism industry in different demography; it has created competition in recent times. Whether it is e-commerce or digital marketing, the way it takes over the industry attracts more tourist than before, connectivity across the border is gradually increased, and easiness in financial transaction enhance innovation and productivity in the tourism industry.
With the help of data analytics, cloud computing and much digital software, many brands get opportunities to provide service to travellers. From affiliate marketing to brand promotion, companies like go Ibibio, make my trip.com, and many different websites got a steep rise in terms of their promotion and revenue generation. In 2020 make, my trip alone generated over 500 million dollars in revenue; it sells over 12000 flight tickets, more than 100-holiday packages and 1000 hotel room nights every day. People usually hunt in such kinds of sites or may compare with cheaper ones in order to plan their trip. Digital technologies bring more opportunities in terms of products, services, and the demand for tourists in the tourism industry.
In 2016, soon after the launch of Reliance Jio, the trend of the digital world is been changed. According to research, internet traffic was boosted by 68% after the launching of Jio; this just not attracted new internet users but also provided the opportunity to create content of their own. Many people across the country started their careers as full-time vloggers and bloggers on different social media, becoming full-time travellers, sharing their stories across the world and how to start their journey for any particular destination provide them opportunities in many aspects.
YouTube data shows that travellers spend more time watching online videos than ever before, and India has the most YouTube users in 2022, estimated at 467 million. Adaptation of digital technologies provides convergence of different media and mediums. It just not boosts innovation but also creates competition among travellers. In 2017, according to government data, the annual growth rate of domestic travellers in India stood at 17.2%, contributing about $247 billion to the country’s GDP in 2018.
Start-ups like Clear Trip, Ithaka, ScoutMyTrip, Guiddoo, Pickyourtrail, OYO Rooms, MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Thrillophilia, and Travel Triangle has seen a sharp rise in the last decade. OYO alone raised $1.5 billion dollar in 2019. Such start-ups drain the opportunities of middlemen and generate direct revenues by providing online services.
Whether it is domestic travelling or international travelling, the tourism industry has seen a major revolution with the help of e-commerce and e-marketing. Many start-ups have started using cookie of people account in order to understand the demand of people and provide them accordingly. It just not provides the visuals but alters the psyche of humans towards travelling as well. Digitally derived data inform about tourists’ choices, products and services that are evolving toward hyper-personalisation and customisation.
In 2019, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) stood at $10.89 million in India, accomplishing a growth rate of 3.2% year-on-year. In early 2020, Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) were 21,33,782. In 2019, with a total number of 29,28,303 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa, registering a growth of 23.6%. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism & hospitality industry of the country emerged as one of the key drivers of growth.
In 2019, Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) were $29.96 billion registering a growth of 4.8% year-on-year and reaching $5.4 billion during January-February 2020. From deciding destinations to connecting with domestic spots and customizing the holiday, the travel start-up business in India is moving towards different dimensions to the ever-evolving travelling story.
Many private start-ups like FEEINSTA CONSULTING & SERVICES PRIVATE LIMITED, SAFFRON STUDIOS PRIVATE LIMITED, NORDIC CRUISE LINE PRIVATE LIMITED and many more by adopting the digital technology providing facilities in different cities of the country and helping tourists to move across the world.
Indeed, in this modern world, digital ads and promotion are acting as a catalyst for fresh start-ups in the tourism industry, but the challenges like attaining customers, again and again is the biggest task for tourist start-up; diversity centred is also one of the biggest challenges facing by fresh start-ups nowadays. With the relying more on social media and one-click policies or on demand services by tourists, travel agencies business is growing rapidly. With the help of applications, the tourists are getting more convenient methods to reach their destination and get best & cheap policies.
Travelling is becoming more like a life style for upcoming generation, the perception towards travelling is very different now, there’s no doubt about it that convergence of multimedia and digital media attracts more people than before, it just not allowing them to plan accordingly but also help to make cheap budgeting. In such a way it is more challenging for fresh start-ups to compete with the market.
The policies and the budgeting should be moderate and it must follow the altered mood of market. Trends are already showing that virtual-reality and artificial-reality soon take over many small and big start-ups and will hold the good command in market. Being a convenient and more realistic, it just not save money but also save time of people and moreover into the digital world which already has good command on human psyche. The subdued demand and a lack of funding already creating loss for companies putting them in a difficult position.
Growth is no longer determined by profits or losses but is determined by how much revenue a start-up can raise from its investors and in this crucial time when the economy is already at the edge of recovery, start-ups of tourism industry specially the fresh one need to keep a bird eye in order to compete in the market.
Indian start-ups that went public on exchanges in 2021, have had a mixed bag of quarterly results. While some have reduced their losses, others have reported a drop in profits for the fiscal quarter ending March 2022. India ranked 54th in the travel and tourism development index in 2021, but such challenges are going to affect the market and travel industry as well. it will be interesting to see how the start-ups will be more change in the coming days.
(Shadman Alam is a student of Journalism and Mass Communication from Adamas University.)
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