Travel is a huge industry these days thanks to the enormous wanderlust of people. With increasing numbers of people, or millions of people travelling, the boom brings with it a unique set of problems. Identifying problems, suggesting bang-on solutions and fixing business problems is what astro-strategist Hirav Shah is all about

Travel is big on everyone’s agenda these days. Unlike a decade ago, when holidays meant arduous planning and managing work before taking off, these days, most holidays happen on the spur of the moment. Of course, there are planned vacays, but the new-age traveller does not like to plan way too ahead like everything else in life.

The industry too has become inclusive of the discerning traveller who wants customised holidays at an affordable price. Then of course, there are the big spenders, who holiday in style and instagram their travel stories.

Another major development in the travel industry is that no place is a no-no for a traveller. People are curious to visit almost any place, unless it is strife-prone and enjoy the local culture and local flavours. In fact, travelling to strife-prone or disaster zones has also caught up these days leaving nothing to chance.

The world has indeed become a global village with people craving for new experiences. They want to explore, experience and share their memories with the world, thanks to various social media platforms. The whole idea is to have the most instagrammable pictures, to capture moments of a lifetime and to make others go green with envy.

Well, like binge-eating, today, there is binge-travelling. People are cooped up with computers all day long and with various ads and deals popping up on their computer screens, it becomes extremely easy to travel to any place of their choice. If budget is a constraint, then there is your next door hike or a road trip or a cycle trip. And for those who have the moolah to splurge, sky’s the limit. They can customise everything to the T and enjoy the best of the best.

And that’s how the travel industry is thriving of late. With millions of travellers wanting to explore, be part of another culture, soak in the memories and make loads of keepsake pictures and videos.

How much is the travel industry worth?

For the uninitiated, travel and tourism is one of the largest industries in India. Its total contribution was $247 billion to the country’s GDP in 2018. What is fascinating is that it is expected to reach over $500 billion by 2029. In fact India is one of the fastest emerging tourist destinations in the world.

Globally, travel and tourism’s direct contribution to GDP was approximately $ 2.9 trillion in 2019. However if one looks at countries that directly contributed the most to global GDP, the United States’ travel and tourism contributed the largest sum at $580.7 billion US dollars.

With a contribution of $8.8 trillion, tourism establishes itself as one of the fastest growing industries in the world, surpassed only by the manufacturing sector. And what comes as a surprise is the fact that it is far ahead of important sectors such as financial services, health or technology.

What is the direct impact of the tourism industry?

1) Tourism industry involves everyone and is vital to the state and local economy. Tourism is not just about hotels, golf courses and restaurants. Tourism boosts the economy of countries, employs thousands of people, enriches the businesses and pays for important public services, such as education and law enforcement. In countries that survive on tourism, it works for all, each day.

2) In some countries, tourism aids public education and infrastructure in the local public education system. Sales taxes paid by tourists help in funding capital expenditures for local community colleges and universities.

3) Money procured from tourism is also used to fund important infrastructure projects and helps to develop a city and its people.

4) Tourism employs millions of people throughout the world. There are countries and places that solely depend on tourism for the livelihood of their population.

5) Tourism also helps in real estate development, thanks to visitors investing in local properties. Usually tourists return to buy property or second homes in places. There are times when they relocate or retire at some destinations.

6) Tourism directly impacts the arts and culture of a region. The money made in tourism is used to aid various projects to attract more visitors and it becomes an important part of entertainment provided for those visiting.

7) The industry helps to support sports and recreation programmes, including facilities that are used by local residents and tourists.

8) Tourism rakes in money and this leads to overall economic development of a place and its people. Take for example places like Kerala and Goa, where the entire ecosystem is built to cater to tourists and it is the tourist money that keeps them going.

Need for financial forecasting or estimated income for tourism industry

■ Preparedness: Each season requires the people of the nation or locality to prepare for the tourist season. This means pre-investment to keep all facilities going, so that the tourist does not have a reason to complain.
■ Customising: One need not go for hi-end travelling, even those who travel on a shoe-string budget want the very best money can offer and are into customised travel plans. This requires sound financial planning for those in the industry.
■ Niche travelling: Of late, travellers are rather discerning. They have varied reasons to travel and pick on a place based on certain markers that attract them to a place. The said location may not be the most popular, may be tucked away in some remote corner of the world, but niche travellers are particular about what they and how they want it. This means being in a state of preparedness for those in the industry.
■ Binge travelling: For millions of people, travelling is a favourite past-time. They don’t plan much, take off on an impulse and travel from one place to the other. However, that doesn’t mean they settle for less. Wherever they are, they need personalised care. This is a huge burden for the industry as it has to be forever on its toes and keep the customer happy.
■ Instagram travelling: There are a whole lot of people who travel to accrue instagramable pictures, much to the envy of others. This means each and every place must look prim and propah and have that added ‘something’ to make it ‘special’.
■ Neighbourhood travelling: This sounds rather simple. But hikes, treks and a simple night out under the stars means upmarket equipment and popular books that provide food and other important facilities even in remote parts.
■ Luxury travelling: The word luxury explains it all. These travellers want nothing but the best. They opt for highly customised packages and want to be treated like demi-gods. Keeping up with their demands means extra pressure on the industry and it also increases the carbon footprint in many cases.
■ Supply chain issues: Travel industry is large with partners in various corners. But supply chain glitches are inevitable and being prepared without offending the customers is an art and science in itself.
■ Logistics issues: Travel industry works seamlessly. Still, increasing the number of tourists and wandering lust on an all time high, things are bound to go out of control, due to weather, socio-political conditions, etc. These need to be dealt with without the tourist having an inkling of back-end operations.
■ Tourism chains and travel agencies: Hotel chains that provide services at various locations have to maintain consistency as tourists expect the same kind of service when they check in at different properties of the same group. Similarly, travel agencies, though not relevant in today’s online packages, have to deal with slump period and peak period with equal dexterity. Management of all this, means knowing where one is headed and how the industry is doing on the whole.
■ People management: It takes years to groom and train the personnel in the industry. Even a road-side coconut stall has to have the right amount of expertise to be mentioned in one’s travelogue. So, in today’s social media days, one little mistake can be blown out of proportions into a huge issue. Ratings make or mar an establishment. So, keeping customers happy and to top it all, keeping bloggers happy is a huge task of tourism businesses. In the process, care has to be taken that the staff remains with them for years.

Financial forecasting with market pro Hirav Shah

Financial forecasting is done for various reasons. But the primary reason is to make sure that the business functions properly without facing any financial problems. But businesses are bound to have problems. That is inevitable. No business progresses without its share of issues and dilemmas.

All industries are money suckers. Tourism industry, despite being people intensive, needs a lot of money to cater to the needs of its clients. Of course, they are rewarded with good returns.

But no industry is without its ups and downs and tourism business is no exception. Due to highly demanding customers, the tourism industry these days is putting in double the efforts to make the customers happy.

A happy customer and a solid instagram profile is what all tourism businesses look for these days. Sometimes, despite all good intentions and best efforts, businesses may not do as well as expected. They might get outside support, but still things may not look up. In a highly competitive market, a lull period could mean doom for the business. The travellers may forget the establishment and opt for other viable options.

Given all these hiccups, astro-strategist Hirav Shah comes to the aid of businesses that are doing good and that are not doing as good as expected. In both cases, Hirav Shah mixes astrology insights and business insights to give customisable solutions that will work wonders on one’s business. For example, due to the slack period, if a business owner wants to wind up his business, a consultation with Hirav Shah might not only reverse his decision, but also help rake in profits.

However, Hirav Shah’s solutions are unique and no two clients will get similar advice as astro charts of two individuals cannot be the same. He also looks into details like when the business was established, the dates associated with it and gives precise solutions.
However, rest assured, Hirav Shah is not about mere astro mumbo jumbo. To him a person’s personal chart is a pointer and he uses it along with strong business cognizance.