When will we resume after COVID-19?
We are sure many of you will have this question on your head.
Well as of now we are looking at January.
That’s the earliest we think travel can resume.
But are you ready to book?
Let’s find out.
I want you to follow me on this logic for some time. The resumption of travel is dependent on two factors, which unfortunately, are not totally in our hands.
- For travel to resume, air travel needs to return to as normal as possible. It does not have to be exactly pre-March times, but near enough. I’ll explain this in detail below.
- COVID cases in our country need to come down to less than 250 a day (for the whole country). Or least 15 a day (or less) for each of the ten metros in our country.
Why air travel?
Because 90% of our tours are linked to air travel.
Naturally, anything that affects air travel directly affects our tours.
To restart travel, we’ll need regular availability of flights, at the same costs as earlier, without too many baggage and quarantine restrictions. But most importantly people must get on an aircraft without fear of contracting the virus.
We are not talking of emergency air travel or air travel for business. We are talking about air travel where people are free to fly without any restrictions. You go to a website, buy a ticket and get on a plane. Air travel for holiday!
For the fear to subside, this is where the number of COVID infections in a day matters so much.
Which brings me to the number of COVID cases in our country.
Going by the rise of COVID cases in our country, we expect it to take at least until December to reduce to a level where travelling can resume, in all normal circumstances.
From March to this day, COVID cases have been on the rise. We have already hit the grim mark of 10,00,000 cases as of July 20, 2020. It has taken us almost four months to get to this figure. We believe it will take a similar amount of time for it to reduce to the figure I mentioned earlier (250 a day for the entire country, or 15 or less for the major metros). It could even take a bit longer.
Assuming our two conditions are met, normal travelling could see a resumption around mid-December. But it will not be the same – which I have explained a bit later.
Should you register for travels from
The answer is a straightforward yes.
We have opened up our programs for most of our travels.
You’ll find dates available between December onwards spilling onto next year, so please go ahead and start planning.
We’ve specifically opened up only the best tours in the first few months based on these parameters:
- The number of cases the particular destination had
- The medical infrastructure to tackle in case of any emergency
- The connectivity of flights, stay arrangements, local transportation and sightseeing options.
- The group size will never exceed 8 to 12 persons
How will travels be different from January onwards?
What are the precautions we will take for travels from January onwards?
This is something everyone wants to hear about – how will travels be in future? Are we going to be in medium or large size groups? Are we going to be maintaining social distance as we travel? How are we going to ensure safety from COVID on our tours? How we will be doing sightseeing?
I’ll be frank with you. Travel is a social activity. It’s much like watching a movie in a cinema hall, where social distancing is not a practical possibility. You cannot have one person in one row and another in the next. Either cinemas start as they were or they don’t.
Travellers are going to travel together in shared vehicles, sightseeing will be held together. Travellers will eat together and share rooms as well (in case of solo travellers staying on twin sharing basis). The moment we try to isolate travellers, not only will the joys of travelling disappear, the cost of traveling will shoot up exponentially.
On another note, getting every traveller to test for COVID before they leave or after they arrive is not a possibility either. A COVID test is extremely cumbersome and expensive.
Here are some of the things that you can expect on our future travels (don’t take these as final yet, but are our initial thoughts).
- BYO (Bring Your Own) could become a reality.
- Travellers could be asked to bring their own items on any tour including towels, napkins, toiletries like toothpaste, soaps, tissue papers, slippers, etc.
- Use & Throw – On many of our tours we will introduce the concept of Use and Throw – especially if there is a homestay we are using in the tour, then you need to bring your own bed-sheets & pillow covers or we will provide you cotton bed-sheets and pillow covers which you can use and throw. There is a possibility that you will be asked to buy fresh liners from us (but not anything else).
- There are chances of delays at hotels check-in due to thorough sanitisation after every guest/group leaves and the next guest/group enters. The staff will need to prepare as well as sanitize the room thoroughly.
- Likewise thorough sanitation is required at restaurants before each group starts their meal.
- Travellers will be required to carry their own sanitizers and take care of their wellbeing by themselves.
- Travellers will now have to bring in medical certificates from doctors before they come on any tour.
- Any traveller whose temperature is above normal / or is symptomatic at the start of the tour, will not be allowed to carry on the rest of the travel and will be asked to return home, at their own cost.
Having said this, our decisions depend entirely on the situation closer to December. Our COVID safety policies will depend on the number of COVID cases and government regulations for the travel industry at that point in time.
We will have to wait and watch to make further regulations, but this is where we stand at the moment.
What will travel look like, from December onwards?
Even if travel resumes in December, we expect it to be a small trickle.
The whole country is not likely to begin travelling at the same time. Places with fewer cases will begin sooner. Mumbai and Delhi may start travelling only much later.
Almost 85% of our travellers come from the metro cities of our country. These have been the worst affected by Coronavirus. As and when we start travel, the least affected cities are likely to start travelling first.
Here’s something that travellers don’t want to hear.
While I am bombarded with questions about when we are likely to start our travels, most of this interest will not translate into action. Here’s why.
Our country will take some time to come out of the grip of the Coronavirus crisis. Businesses have been hit drastically. It is the deepest crisis we have seen in our lifetimes. Businesses will want to recover. For this all productive hands must be on the decks. They must be spending their energies in rebuilding their organisation. Getting 10 days leave from work for a travel will be laughable for most companies.
Professionals & Parents with students who comprise a sizable chunk of our travellers will now resume regular studies. It may still take some time for them to get back to their institutes. Taking time off once classes start will be extremely difficult.
Knowing this, at MeWe Holidays, we have launched only a total of 8 to 10 tours from December until March 2021. This covers all our travels spread over these months. These groups are already open on our website.
Sabina Chopra the co-founder of Yatra, predicted that the travel industry could see around 35% of its normal user base travelling in Q2, and it could increase to 55% in Q3.
Which means even if travel starts in December it will not resume the whole hog. It will start slowly, as a trickle, building itself up towards the year-end. At the end of the year, we expect travel to return to 50% of our previous capacity.
What if in January, the tour does not happen?
If for any reason, the tours booked for December / January onwards (or later on) does not happen due to any new government regulations for the travel industry at that point in time, there is absolutely no need to worry.
As a policy you have TWO options:
- We refund 100% of your booking amount – No Questions Asked.
- Alternately, we adjust the booking amount paid by you, for any other tour of your choice, of a later date – Again No Questions Asked.
It’s safe to plan your travel from December onwards.
We are noticing a global trend that is returning towards normalcy. Spain, Italy, Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries and even the US are slowly turning the corner. The world is limping back to normal, India too will follow suit.
We started later than other countries so our infections will also ebb later.
I hope this section answered a lot of your nagging questions. I hope to see you on the road, soon.
Till then, take care – stay home, stay safe.