It’s not the end of the road. People love to travel. They love to travel with friends and family. They love to travel alone. They love to travel all the time. They love to travel from one destination to another by air, on a cruise, by train.
COVID has laid their plans fallow. While air travel has opened, enjoying a cruise or a train journey, is out of bounds. But travel you must.
Fortunately, exploring India on road journeys, or travelling to a destination close to home by road, is de rigueur, staying in hotels, resorts and inns along the way.
A few tourism departments have done a great job of branding road trips. An example is the state of Odisha, which launched a campaign, ‘Odisha by Road’ and positioned it as the discovery of secrets at every corner. The state has been marketing various trips and offerings—waterfalls, beaches, tiger reserves and temples. Destinations such as Bhubaneswar, Konark, Chilika Lake and Puri can be explored on road trips, which is the only saving grace for tourism in the state.
The state of Odisha is hard-selling itself as ‘India’s Best kept Secret.’ In difficult times, road travel has emerged as a wonderful option for the travel and tourism industries.
Apart from Odisha, travel and tourism operators and leading hotels are offering their own version of road travel. IHCL Hotels, which has brands like The Taj and Vivanta Hotels, is offering a 4D travel experience they have monikered, ‘Dream. Drive. Discover. Delight’. Guests go on a road trip with The Taj Group and stay at their luxury hotels along the way.
Marriott International, too, has launched road trips under the label, Marriott Bonvoy Traveller. The hospitality major has launched the ‘Marriott Bonvoy Traveler’ luxury road trips globally.
Self-driving trips have experienced a remarkable boom. As Marriott puts it, ‘Just as with most things, even the humble road trip can be transformed into an ultra-luxury experience, if done correctly.’ Chauffeur-driven road trips are popular with large groups travelling in a single large vehicle or a set of two or three wheels.
India is a land of beauty and splendour. It is home to 736 districts, 8,100 towns, 680,000 villages, and a network of roads, highways, expressways, bridges and tunnels. Road trips can be a delightful experience. They allow travellers to stay away from crowded airports, ports and stations and discover the Indian countryside.
(Jagdeep Kapoor is Founder-Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd. You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org )