Vehicles caught in gridlock in Shimla on the first day of the unlocking process following the relaxation of restrictions there. As the unlocking procedure of Covid-19 lockdown began in Mathura, devotees formed queues to enter Krishna Janambhoomi Temple. And now, the streets of famous vacation spots are packed with every person there flouting COVID-19 protocols.
What is revenge travel?
Several folks have grown tired of the routine after more than a year under lockdown and are looking for a change of scenery. Despite the fact that not everyone has received the vaccination, many individuals are excited about traveling now that the vaccine has arrived. The desire to travel after being confined for over a year, despite the dangers, is known as revenge travel.
The increase in the number of vacationers is also due to the sweltering heat in some places like Delhi. People feel the need to escape from the hot weather and want to find solace in nearby hill stations. Summer vacations in the hilly areas of Himachal and Jammu are very common on a normal day, but in the middle of a full-blown pandemic, it seems to be a threat.
When was the term Revenge Travel first used?
People are walking around without masks, flouting social distancing regulations. The images were described as "frightening" by Dr. Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary of the Health Ministry, described the behaviour as "revenge travel" in response to the images and added, "People are indulging in revenge travel. Some photos coming in from Manali, Mussoorie, Sadar Bazar Delhi, Shimla, Laxmi Nagar Delhi, Dadar Market show a huge crowd with no mask roaming around. This is dangerous. People need to understand this is a continuous fight. The virus is not exhausted it is still there. Only Covid-appropriate behavior can control the virus."
Similar incidents were seen in markets in Delhi, prompting the government to order the closure of businesses in Lajpat Nagar's Central Market and Sadar Bazar's Rui Mandi, citing "severe violations" of Covid-19 rules.
Those who engage in "revenge" travel appear to have lost all sense of self-preservation and common sense. Even for persons who are fully vaccinated, covid-appropriate behaviour in public settings is required.
It is difficult for me to understand who this revenge is supposed to be against? We are the ones who are going to end up facing the brunt of a third wave. We'll have to be cooped up at home, yet again. We're the ones who will have to run around looking for medical supplies. And if a third wave strikes we will be the ones who will have wasted another year of our lives.
Is there an increased need for travel amongst people?
According to a poll performed by Booking.com, 72 percent of consumers believe that travel is more important to them this year than it was before the pandemic.
It was also discovered that 68 percent of those who were unable to travel in 2020 wish for the possibility to do so this year. Since the limitations were eased, the travel website MakeMyTrip has seen a nearly 200 percent increase in hotel bookings.
A boon for Travel Industry?
The increase in travel in the past few weeks is extremely dangerous for India as a whole. However, it has proven to be a fresh ray of hope for the hospitality sector. The entire industry was close to death for the last year. Now that travel is on the rise, the industry has the opportunity to revive.
In Uttarakhand, a lot of the hotels had to shut down due to lack of income, but now even homes are turning into homestays in order to cater to a large number of travelers. Even large hotel chains and boutique hotels I relieved due to the revenge travelers
Danish Din, the director, The Grand Dragon Ladakh, said, "Having seen a bleak season last year, this is definitely a welcome sign." According to the Managing Director, Southwest Asia, IHG hotels and resorts, Sudeep Jain, there has been a significant increase in inquiries and bookings for weekend staycations and getaways.
Airbnb has seen overall gross bookings in India in the first quarter of 2021 surpass 2019 estimates, owing to significant pent-up demand.
Decline in cases
According to Lav Agarwal, the weekly average of 3 lakh new Covid cases reported from throughout the country has decreased by 13%.
Agarwal informed reporters that 91 districts continue to report more than 100 new verified cases every day. He went on to say that these 91 districts account for 80% of all new cases reported.
The Union Health Ministry also cited an online study during the press conference on Tuesday, claiming that the majority of Indians have failed to follow Covid-appropriate behavior.
An inevitable third wave?
If the current situation keeps up, with overwhelming crowds in holiday destinations, the third wave of coronavirus is almost inevitable. The second wave was majorly sparked by large gatherings, like the ones at the Kumbh Mela and political rallies. According to a recent survey, 83 percent of respondents have failed to follow COVID-19-recommended behaviors, and 63 percent have not maintained correct social distance.
Covid claimed the life of Aditya Gupta, a resident doctor at India's premier hospital, AIIMS. After the photographs of visitors went viral, he slammed maskless people in a heated Twitter thread, claiming he feels "so f***ing numb." It is outrageous to see that we still have close to no respect and empathy for those who have suffered the post during the pandemic. The need for a holiday and leisure travel is definitely understandable, but this cannot be done by putting the lives and livelihood of others at risk.
As Agarwal said, even though we might be exhausted, the coronavirus is not, it's still around. Hence, we must continue to be as vigilant and responsible as possible.