#Voices of Travel: Make the most of online training to upgrade yourself, advises Swapnil from Sailani Tours N Travels


In this ongoing series, we explore how humans of travel are mitigating the ongoing COVID19 outbreak. Today Swapnil Gunjal,  Sailani Tours N Travels, General Manager – Europe & Africa Products, Contracting and Operations shares a very inspiring take on COVID19’s impact on the travel industry.

Sailani is a young, dynamic and energetic company with all activities are centred around client’s satisfaction in terms of budget, destination, pre and post sales dealing, experience during the course of the journey. Before the outbreak, Summer 2020 was looking very promising, Group Tours and FIT inquiries were at full swing.  We were expecting good numbers for our groups and FITs.

 For Summer 2020 departures, we had come up with a wide range of products at competitive prices. We had group tours for Europe, Asia, Australia New Zealand, Africa, the USA along with Inbound Tours. We were also ready to cater to the NRI market and had quite a good number of prospects.  We were also busy with product planning and launch for Durga Puja Special Tours to cater to the Kolkata market.

After the COVID outbreak, we had to cancel our tours of Japanese Cherry Blossom, China and other Asian countries followed by tours to European countries. Our focus was on promoting Indian and African Holidays, as there were no such cases found there. But as the situation worsened globally, we had to call off all the departures.

Currently, we had called off all the Tours for Summer season (until September 2020). We will take the necessary action depending on future situations.

The outbreak of Corona Virus has brought the world on its knees. Virtually everything is closed. It has huge financial ramifications for all. While COVID-19 is impacting all industries, the tourism & hospitality sector has experienced the most impact to date given increasing travel restrictions, major event cancellations and overall risk aversion to travel internationally and domestically.

Tours and Travel segment has perhaps taken the biggest hit. Refund policies of Airlines have changed or been modified. Most of the service provider offices are closed. Either refunds are not processed or else credit notes are issued. No suppliers including airlines are giving instant refunds.

The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of everything. I have accumulated 19 years of travel industry experience in various segments of Inbound and Outbound travel, with specialization in Tour Operations and Tour Management. I have successfully conducted Sales and Tour Managers training for various travel companies and conducted lectures for students from various travel institute. Yet, I  have not seen anything like this before.

Even whilst fire-fighting through the immediate impact, it’s also time to think to the future and recovery planning. Currently, we are supporting the society through social awareness. Following the guideline of World Tourism Organisation. “Staying at home today means travelling tomorrow.

On the work front, we are upgrading the destination knowledge through various webinars and online trainings conducted by our travel partners.

Every business goes through ups and downs, as it’s said ‘the tough all comes back’. At this moment we take this situation as the tough phase for our organisation. We faced this tough phase in our beginning stage, that has made us strong. It’s all about understanding what are you willing to stand for. No one can predict how long it will take to overcome this situation. But we definitely need to guard the business cycle. We need to make the maximum utilisation of the webinars and online trainings for our future business.

Employees are performing their duties from home. They are advised to upgrade their knowledge through various webinars and online trainings. Our sales team is asked to be in touch with our clients.  Our business associates are assured about complete support from our end for future business. We are looking forward to government aid for the industry to support all of us.

It always comes back. Definitely things will be back to normal but will look different. Travel Industry is the only industry that caters every individual need. Travel is about telling stories and transformation. Travel professionals will have to work differently, they will have to gain the confidence of their clients.

It will be a challenging task for the travel experts to build in positive attitude in their team. It’s all about doing their job differently. As we have experienced in past too, it will take time but definitely people will travel.

All we need to do is follow the safety precautions to overcome the pandemic. Going forward once overcome the pandemic our government will have to support the Tourism Industry by organising ‘Safe to Travel’ campaign.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. All the places of attraction are there at their place, they are not going away. Everything will be there, just we have to wait for the right time to start again.