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One big holiday a year was pre-pandemic thing, tourists now prefer multiple breaks: Fortune Hotels MD Samir MC By Manik Gupta
People now prefer "multiple breaks", including staycations, over the usual practice of one big holiday a year, said Fortune Hotels Managing Director Samir MC
New Delhi: People now prefer "multiple breaks", including staycations, over the usual practice of one big holiday a year, said Fortune Hotels Managing Director Samir MC, happy with the growing share of domestic tourism in India post-pandemic -- which clocked over 1.7 billion visits last year only. The wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Ltd, Fortune Hotels, whose "90 per cent" clientele comes from domestic tourism, is far from complaining about the change in tourists behavioural pattern.
In fact, according to Samir, this recent trend, where people want to spend more time with their family and friends -- even if it means checking-in for a day or two to a hotel in the same city -- is a big positive for the industry and comes with a plethora of opportunities. "I would link it to a change in attitude to life in general. So pre-pandemic most people were extremely focused on what they did in their careers or what they did in their businesses. However, pandemic was a grim reminder to everybody to say there is a lot more to your career or the business you are in... "So, what used to be typically one or two holidays a year has now transformed to multiple breaks during the year.
It could be short breaks, could be long weekends, could be just one weekend ... like a staycation," Samir told PTI in an exclusive interview. Speaking ahead of the 'World Tourism Day' on September 27, Samir here also talked about another trend that he has observed among domestic tourists of late: the urge to visit "off-beat destinations'. The hospitality firm, which has opened five hotels in the last few months across varied locations, including Kalimpong in West Bengal and Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, and plans to open another 8-10 in next few months, believes the country as diverse as India, is yet to be "fully explored" by tourists and the industry. "What we see is that tourists are wanting to experience locations which they have not visited in the past and that is sort of opening up the avenue for many new locations to come up. "Of course, that is also encouraged by the fact that travel is becoming easier with infrastructure improvements. For example, roads, so we are able to access locations much faster than the way we were able to do it before and that's definitely helping us," he said.
Happy with the current pace of growth of tourism, especially domestic tourism, which witnessed over "1.7 billion tourist visits" across the country last year, Samir said, he is hopeful that it will continue to grow at a "very good pace" over the next few years as well. The unprecedented showcasing of India and its diverse culture, history and cuisines on a global stage during the recently held G-20 or the upcoming events like Cricket World Cup and the Miss World competition are certainly among the reasons behind Samir's positive outlook towards India's tourism story. "The G-20 has given a good fillip to us as an industry. It has also given us a good standing as a destination in terms of tourism. Definitely, I would say that events like this will go a long way in helping us in becoming a destination of choice. "Of course, we do see a few more events coming up in our country over the next few months. The big one coming up soon is the World Cup Cricket tournaments and we can already see a lot of excitement going up into the next couple of weeks in terms of how tourism is going to be across the country," he added