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Technology will be the game-changer for travel start-up industry: Brar

Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India said that technology will be the game-changer for the travel start-up industry and the government is ready to support new ideas and collaborate with start-ups.

Addressing a webinar on ‘Travel Start-up Accelerator Series - Towards A Self-Reliant India’, organized by FICCI, Brar said that COVID-19 will accelerate the digital transformation in Indian travel and tourism industry that will lead us to be innovative, creative and out of the box thinking. “We cannot miss out on the software product opportunity that lies in front of India and this is the time for start-ups to Make in India and for the world,” she added.  

She stated that as travel restrictions are easing, both the government and industry are coming up with ideas to implement minimum or no-contact set up. “E-visa seems to be the way forward which can act as a supporting tool for the promotional campaigns run by the governments. This will also help in recognizing a tourist destination as a safe destination,” she said.

Highlighting the global competition in the tourism industry, Brar said, “Adopting digital technology provides the best opportunity for the tourism industry to cement their position in the Indian economy. There has never been a better time for the industry to use it and make themselves globally competitive.”

The slow easing of international travel restrictions in future will result in intense competition as countries will target the same markets. This calls for an aggressive strategy focusing on the intense use of technology, noted Brar.   

Roma Datta, Director – Travel, BFSI, Classifieds, Gaming, Telco & Payments, Google India, said digital adoption by consumers has increased in the past few months and travel start-ups must leverage the opportunities in digitization.

“Understanding the changing needs of the travellers, reinventing, reimagining and being relevant are key factors for travel start-ups. COVID-19 has taught India to be Atmanirbhar and several start-ups will emerge from this adversity by seeking inspiration from the global market,” said Ms Datta.

Ashish Kumar, Co-Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Thought Leader said that companies need to focus on innovation which is the key for a sustained growth. Travel companies and businesses must promote their safety protocols and encourage travellers to also keep sustainability in mind, he added.

Ankush Nijhawan, Co-Chairman, FICCI Travel Technology Committee & Co-Founder TBO Group, Managing Director, Nijhawan Group, said, that the new travel companies are extremely talented but require mentorship to take the next step. He also urged the government to support and boost the start-up sector in India. 

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that start-up as a concept challenges the existing business models, markets, thought process and brings in the disruption. During the pandemic, we must identify the start-ups and help them accelerate. This is a time to create a new experience which is safe, secure and generates a growth paradigm for the industry, he added.

Kartik Sharma, Board Member, Start-Up Mentor Board moderated the webinar.

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