#Voices of Travel: Rohith Gowda stresses on the importance of staying strong for the sake of future travellers

In this ongoing series, we explore how humans of travel are mitigating the ongoing COVID19 outbreak. Today Rohith Gowda from Expitours talks to us. 

We are sustainable and experiential travel company promoting sustainable guided tours in south India. We are an innovative sustainable tourism initiative with a great team of storytellers and experiential travel designers. We focus on experiences of culture, tradition, architecture, food, with local authentic experiences in different locations of South India. We operate in two states and 5 cities including Mysore, Madikeri, Virajpete, Hampi, Ooty and Goa. The company was started in November  2019 by pooling our personal savings. We wanted to show our guests that travelling is not all about just visiting places, instead its all about experiencing the places with the help of a perfect local guide. In our tours, guests experience the real essence of the city. Our services include electric bike tours, private city tours, open jeep tours and walking trails

We were working towards improving our service by providing better training to our staff.  We were trying to introduce and popularise sustainable tourism in South India. Even though it was a challenge, we were and are still dedicated to converting it to an opportunity. As an experiential travel company promoting sustainable tourism with unique services, we had also curated many marketing strategies and also operational strategies to make our brand to be the top one in South India.

Till now we had already hosted 400+ guests in just 5 months. We had planned for hosting more than 2000 guests by the end of 2020. We have taken the bookings for  May and June, so we will run our operations per usual. If the lockdown continues, we will inform the guests and postpone their dates of travel.

The major problem we’re facing is paying salaries to our employees, with no business coming our way.  The heavy number of cancellations has made it very hard to for us to pay all our operational costs like rent and other administrative expenses. We are already out of runway, if this situation continues, it’s going to be very hard to survive in the market for the upcoming three months. We have taken loans for paying salaries for employees and also to our suppliers.

But, I am an optimist. I believe success comes after hardships and struggle. This is not an end for our industry, everything will be normal and our industry will boom once again. As Oprah Winfrey said, “It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” We believe in that, we believe in adventures. Never lose confidence at any time. If we lose hope, how will our guests believe in us and continue travelling?

I request all my travel industry people to stay calm and please don’t ever quit this industry. Especially to startups like us, I’d say please face this struggle and hope for the good days to come.