As 2020 comes to an end, TMR invited a number of travel advisors and suppliers from all over the world to pen their own letter to the industry, reflecting on the year that was and looking to 2021. This one comes from Homa Mistry of Trail Blazer Tours, an international tour operator with offices across India.
The year 2020 will be remembered by one and all as one that has created and continues to create history. Everybody in the world is battling with this virus and, here in India and around the globe, the overall business atmosphere all over the world is gloomy.
In a situation like this, the travel industry is maybe the most adversely affected industry and to survive is definitely an achievement.
I have been in this industry for over 25 years and have seen plagues, tsunamis, SARS, terrorist attacks, and, now, COVID-19, with this latest crisis truly being a global one.
Fortunately, it’s always best to remember that “tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Our business, Trail Blazer Tours India Private, is a family run business with great ethical values. Our overall positive attitude towards every situation has helped us to adapt and fight this situation.
When COVID-19 first started, we immediately started handling repatriation charters for bringing back clients from different parts of Middle East. (This incidentally was labour traffic which segment we have never handled before but we planned and operated large numbers of over 28 charter flights all over India).
Our next target was to promote medical tourism as India has great infrastructure and top class doctors, which would be needed more than ever. We have now motivated our colleagues to look at the promotion of domestic tourism as we have offices all over India.
Our company is one of the first to implement safety standards and have received a Safe Travel Certificate from World Travel and Tourism Council.
Time is precious and we are very fortunate to have all the time in the world now to take a longer look at our internal systems and are pleased with the changes we’ve made, including implementing new programs and protocols in our information and technology space.
From each adversity there comes out something good and we now feel India will become popular for the independent tourist, the solo traveller, and the wellness consumer, mainly because of its yoga and wellness offerings for mind, body, and soul.
On a personal front, COVID-19 has also had an impact. I have been married for over 30 years and just learnt to do house hold chores and found true value of what my wife does on a daily basis (in India there is no shortage of servants/help at a very reasonable rate so all of us are spoilt and have become very dependent, so COVID-19 did teach us a few important things).
There is a saying even this shall pass away and we will bounce back smarter and sharper. I am more than thankful for our industry and I look forward to a better 2021, and better times, ahead.